Getting Married Young: Advice from someone who did it
I know that I have my regular column entitled Married in College, but I thought it may be refreshing to write an actual article on being married young. After all, many of you may be nearing an age where you feel ready to be with that person whom you love.
My husband and I knew each other all through high school. Though we were friends and we were there to support each other through rough times, we were not romantically involved until our senior year of high school. In the first month of our freshman year of college, we eloped.
While this may seem extreme and not well thought out to many of you readers, we are still going strong and still feel like we did when we first started dating.
It’s not easy. Being married young is NOT easy. No matter how easy people may make it look on the television or through articles or books, it is not easy.
I think it’s and for people who got married young to admit the trials and tribulations they faced. Why? Because when you marry young you are automatically put into a category of concern. People do not understand why you couldn’t wait; if it’s so meant to be, why can’t the couple wait a few more years?
Everyone has their reasons, but being in a category that is so questioned these days makes it hard for younger couples to admit they’re struggling. Getting married young is typically viewed as a mistake to the outside world, so for those who got married young they have to stay strong and appear as though nothing is ever wrong.
OK, you may think that’s a little over the top. There are the few who look at young married couples with admiration and wish that they could do the exact same thing. Perhaps others have patience, perhaps others aren’t sure, or perhaps others wait because they don’t want to be seen as other young married couples.
I cannot speak for everyone. I can simply give you some pointers.
One: If you feel as though you are ready to be married, make sure you talk it through. Don’t just get up and get married because others are telling you not to, or because you want to prove people wrong. Those are NOT good reasons. Get married because you know it’s right, because you know you don’t want to wait another day to start your forever together. Don’t get married for sex. Talk everything through and make sure you are getting married for the right reasons.
Two: Look at your financial situation. One thing I do look back on and laugh at is that Clark and I were not ready financially. We were both college students and the only reason we had money is because I had quite a bit saved from babysitting the year before. Neither of us had “real” jobs, and we were trying to make it in school. If you’re going to get married, you need a support system—friends, family, finances. Clark and I didn’t have any of those, possibly because we didn’t tell anyone we were getting married. Make sure you have enough money to stabilize yourselves in the beginning—especially if you are both in college.
Three: Talk to others about it. Clark and I were concerned that no one else would understand. We told my roommate, a few close friends, and hoped for the best. The day we got married, we e-mailed both of our parents a long letter explaining why. While I know that their advice would have been full of questions of, “How are you going to,” “Don’t you think you should,” “You are far too young,” I think we could have handled it. I think we would have seen things we didn’t think about, and things we needed to wait on, but I know we still would have done it. Premarital counseling, I think, is important; though we didn’t go through it, I think it’s a good suggestion—especially if you’re young. You need to have someone else talk you through situations, point out the importance of communication, and so on. We didn’t get all of that until after we were married, and I think the first few months would have been a lot easier had we talked to our closest friends and family.
The times that we live in do not support young marriages. Women and men are supposed to go out and establish themselves on their own. However, I think that if you are ready—you’re ready. If you know, you know. No one else can make the decision for you, but I think it’s a decision that is not to be made lightly and should only be carried out if you are completely positive.
While my three pointers left out the most important in my opinion, I thought it would be best to end with.
The Most Important thing to Remember: Always put God first. In the relationship, you must remember that there is Someone who needs to come before your spouse. It should be God, each other, and then everybody and everything else. God is always first, and if He is not first in your relationship, then you need to rethink your decision. Clark and I struggled with God in the beginning because we were so enamored with each other that we seemed to forget Him. Talk to Him about it, pray about it… because only He can give you the right answer.
Marriage is one of the most important decisions you will make in your entire life. It doesn’t matter if you decide when you’re 18 or when you’re 65 as long as you’re sure it’s the right decision, the right person, and God is not going to be pushed aside for it.
I married at age 18. Now, at age 21, I look back and know that I would still make the same decision, with the same man, but I would tweak it just a bit. I would make sure we had the support systems, would make sure we talked to someone, and would enforce the most important thing to remember: that God was first in the decision.