Earlier today I came across this article by parenting blogger Samantha Kemp-Jackson, asking a very interesting question: Young Love – How Young is Too Young to Get Married?
I love this question because as parents, is there really a right or wrong to this question when it comes to what we tell our children? I think it’s interesting that we seem to push getting married later – finding yourself and truly growing up before marriage, making it somewhat taboo or a mistake to marry before you have decided on a career or have had the opportunity for certain experiences. However in the same breath we offer an 18 year old the title of “adult” without offering the same respect that they can make that decision for themselves.
I get both sides. The history of my family is made up of successful couples who were married young and were together until death / still married today. My parents were married at age 20, their parents were also early 20’s. Pretty sure my great-grandmother was 16 when she was married to her first husband (who died shortly after the war). I had always firmly said I would wait until at least my 30’s, but when I was proposed to at age 19 it felt right, even thought it was completely out of character for me. We didn’t actually get married until 10 years later but we lived as a common-law couple, creating our own family and life along the way. We’ve had our share of ups and downs but I can confidently say we are truly happy and have no regrets for how early we chose to commit to each other.
However, we’ve obviously both changed tremendously over the last 15 years, and while we were lucky enough to grow in the same direction together, I know that it’s a huge gamble as it can go the opposite way for others.
There’s really no way of knowing if waiting is better – you could wait and still never have a successful marriage just as an early marriage could be a dud as well. Heck, we’re only 15 years in… who knows what could happen to our marriage down the road.
What I do know is that we were both adults when we made the decision. Sure, we still had a lot of things to learn and some growing up to do. There’s no doubt about that. We didn’t have money, or careers. We weren’t even sure what we wanted to do 5 years down the road, let alone 10 or 20. The one thing that we were sure of was each other. And if we were wrong, we were going to have to learn that ourselves. I’m forever grateful that our parents showed us respect and support for our decision, even if they didn’t exactly approve. They let go of the strings and trusted us to figure things out, ready to catch us if we fell and cheer us on if we soared.