On Getting Married Young

jenny erickson
My wedding day
Next month I’ll celebrate my tenth wedding anniversary. I’m 29. Yup, I was a teenage bride, and before you ask, no, I was not knocked up. It’s a cultural anomaly to get married so young these days, forgoing the wild ‘discover yourself at the end of a beer bong while wearing a wet T-shirt to show off your still perky breasts’ years, but it’s a decision I’ve never regretted. 


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There’s an article out in the Huffington Post by Jennifer Nagy highlighting her failed marriage and the failed marriages of her friends as the basis for raising the legal age for entering matrimony to 25. She writes:

People under the age of 25 are still discovering themselves; they are figuring out what is most important in their lives. They are discovering the joys (and heartache) of being in a relationship, and then the partying that often characterizes life between relationships.

24-year-old Steven Crowder (who’s marrying his lovely-on-the-inside-and-out fiancée in August, by the way) hit the nail on the head with his response to Nagy’s narcissistic ramblings:

Let me see. Today I am somebody who seeks to be the best believer, husband, father, businessman and man of integrity that I can be. Looking back, when I was fourteen, I aspired to… be the best believer, husband, father, businessman and man of integrity that I can be.

What is this obsession with discovering yourself and finding out what is important in life? Where are the core values of integrity, honesty, responsibility, and kindness? Ms. Nagy thinks it’s impossible to know at 21 what you’ll want when you’re 29, and in part, she’s right. When I was 21, I didn’t know how many kids I’d eventually want, where I’d be living, or exactly what I’d be doing professionally. But those are all peripheral circumstances, not who I am.

Probability of divorce has less to do with what age a person gets married than their reasons for getting married in the first place. Ms. Nagy says that she got married after dating her boyfriend for five years because it was just the thing to do. When the excitement of the wedding was over, she and her new husband had no idea where to go from there.

Getting married because it’s the thing to do is not a good reason to tie the knot. A wedding is a day; a marriage should be a lifetime. It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 85, understanding that marriage is ultimately about sharing your life with another person through all the highs and the lows is a much better place to start than because your relationship has reached a plateau and it seems like the next logical step.

Ms. Nagy doubts that people that get married young can make it long-term because puppy love doesn’t last forever. Of course it doesn’t. Over the years the butterflies melt into something different, something better, something more. When I think back to my wedding day almost ten years ago, I realize I barely knew my husband. But I knew what marriage was, and he and I made a commitment to love, honor, and cherish one another until death parts us.

I have grown up this past decade. I’ve done it with my best friend and life partner right by my side. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, let alone for a decade of self-discovery through partying.

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