Marriage: How Young Is Too Young?
Recently, my 19 year-old best friend and her boyfriend of 3 years revealed to our close-knit friendship group that they’d decided to take the plunge. No, not the plunge into the local swimming pool, or even the Pacific Ocean for that matter. Rather, they’d decided to take the plunge into marriage. Yes, you heard me correctly. Marriage.
All the research seems to point towards the fact that getting married young carries more hindrances than it does helps. Marriages beginning when a woman is 18 are twice as likely to end in divorce as those beginning when she is 22. According to Stephanie Coontz, the Director of Research and Public Education at the Council on Contemporary Families, “every year that you delay marriage, right up into your early 30’s, decreases your risk of divorce.” And the divorce rate amongst 25-29 year olds is twice the average across all age groups.
So why are so many young couples still deciding to tie the knot early? I took the opportunity to ask my best friend a few questions about the whole thing, and here’s what she had to say:
What made you decide to make the life-long commitment to get married at such a young age?
For me the entire concept of marriage is committing to someone for life and it’s something you do once you know you’ve found the person you want to be with forever. I realised I found someone that makes me happy and is someone I am committed to and I don’t want to wait until I’m 25 just to get other people’s approval.
What challenges have you had to face whilst trying to plan a wedding at the same time as doing well in your education?
I haven’t faced all that many challenges because together we decided to wait until I have finished my degree to actually have the wedding. I think that’s important to anyone thinking about getting married that is in full time education. You don’t ever want to regret not spending enough time on your education and not getting the most out of it. Especially when you’re paying £9000 a year for it!
Have your family and friends been supportive of your decision to get married so soon?
My friends have been very supportive. As long as you are happy with the decision you’re making and your friends and family are happy for you, it doesn’t really matter what anyone else has to say about it. It’s your wedding and your life, you get to choose how or when or even if you get married.
What advice would you give to other young couples who are considering tying the knot?
I would say think it through and make sure you’re entirely happy with the decision you’re making. It’s a massive step and it’s not anything to rush into or something to do for any other reason than your desire to commit to this person.
So, there you have it. First-hand experience of young love.
Do you think young couples deciding to tie the knot are too stigmatised? Moreover, do you think there ever is a “right” age at which to get married?