Young Marriage – This topic comes up a whole bunch. No matter which side you are on, I’m sure you have strong feelings about it. It could be based on what you were taught, or the damning statistics floated before your eyes, or the scary lectures given you by parents/peers/counselors, or on the plus side grandparents who were married at of before 20, parents who married young and made it, and the examples set by other couples you know who have made it work and are deliriously happy.
One thing to keep in mind is that if the person you plan on marrying is NOT the one, then no amount of waiting will make it so. If they ARE the one, then you risk losing them forever and always wondering the rest of your days what would have happened if you had just held that one when you had them. Let’s be honest – there is more to a potential spouse being the ONE than good looks, great pre-marital sex, being pretty, being pregnant, or even wanting to get married. What makes her the one is when you cannot imagine life without her, you are best friends, have no secrets, and the rose colored glasses have been sewn into your head. By that last bit about the glasses, it does not mean that she is without faults or that you cannot see them or are blind to them – but that you are able to effortlessly ignore them as inconsequential – nothing that gives you serious pause and nothing that you would expect to change later in life. In short – you love her exactly as she is, and are accepting of the fact that both of you will do a tremendous amount of growing and changing, over the next few years especially. You must understand that this is a lifetime commitment that cannot be abandoned or broken, that you are choosing your partner for life.
When we think of love, how do you know with all those hormones and so little life experience. I remember the words of my grandmother who raised me, who was also 14 or 16 when she married her soulmate – depending of which of her birth certificates you trusted more. When she asked me what I would do if they (my grandparents) disapproved of us getting married, I told her I would miss them terribly and I would hope for them to come around. She said to me that there were thousands more fish in the sea, was I so certain about his one that I was willing to give up fishing forever – and be always happy with my catch? Was I really that sure? When I looked her in the eye and said YES. She paused for a moment, then with a tear running down her left cheek hugged me and said I had their blessing. I was 19. I would turn 20 before we married, my wife a year younger within a few days! For those that are wondering no she was not pregnant, though it always came up as the first question from people who assumed it would be the reason we married young.
In truth we both KNEW that we had found the ONE and we wanted to be together forever. While it may not be right for everyone, it was right for us – and it has been right for a number of very long married couples I know, in fact the vast majority of them married well before 24. Those horrifying statistics on marriage failure, are reflective of people failing to keep their vows and work to stay in love. Was it rocky at times – VERY. Did both of us have to make unplanned sacrifices – YES. Did either of our lives turn out the way we had originally planned – NO. Hindsight being 20/20 – would we do it all over again if given a chance – WITHOUT HESITATION.
I cannot in good conscience discourage anyone from marrying young if they both have found the right person in each other, fully comprehend sacramental marriage, and at least think they are prepared and willing to face the challenges involved. The amazing bonds which can be formed in those formative years can be a bedrock for your marriage, the shared experiences in learning and growing can bring you closer together than you ever imagined, and as you grow and change you can fall in love with each other over and over again on an endless succession of mornings.
However, if one who wants to marry is selfish, narcissistic, and self-centered then no matter what else is there I suspect you will fail no matter what your age. If there is not a deep and abiding friendship and cooperation between you then you will likely fail – no matter how old you are. If you are not willing to adapt and embrace the changes life throws at you – then you will fail at any age. Most importantly, if either of you is unwilling to submit your will and your life to the service of the other before yourselves in all things then you will likely fail. Being older is going to take away many opportunities to grow together and make adaptation harder as you will both be different people with already set complex expectations – rather than having simple expectations including that you will have to adapt. Most importantly – you must both know in your hearts that you are their ONE and they are yours, marriage is not a place to settle for the “next best thing”.
If you have any doubts, a simple examination of conscious may be of assistance. If you were faced with a grave threat to your future spouse, but any intervention was not assured of success, would you hesitate (even a moment) to place yourself in the path of grave bodily injury or even death to protect her? If you answered yes, then you may have the ONE – since you feel sure that you value her life and well being above your own. If you answered no, you may want to stop and think about why you did not say yes – and whether it is that she is not the one – or whether you are just not ready yet to make such a commitment. Marriage is about readiness and willingness to commit ones life to the service of another and then keep that commitment, not about how old one is.
Please Give it Some thought –