Growing up, I was never into things like planning my dream wedding, or thinking up the “perfect guy.” I just didn’t find much interest in spending so much energy on something that was years and years away. As I entered high school, my views on marriage started to change. I started to become more interested in my future and what that entailed. However, I never planned on getting married before I even started college! I knew people who did that, and I thought “well, good for them, but I don’t want to get married for a LONG time.”
But, it didn’t quite play out that way.
I started dating that soon-to-be husband towards the beginning of my senior year in high school. I was engaged the following May and married three months later on August 6th. I know, we don’t waste time. I knew when I accepted that proposal that there was going to be negative comments, friends lost, and rumors spread, but with that I also knew there would be an overflow of love and support from those close to me. I know getting married at 18, or even 21, isn’t for everyone. But with that being said, I would like to address some common misconceptions associated with young marriages.
“They are too young, they barely know themselves, let alone each other”
While I admit I am very young, I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing. Of course I didn’t have myself figured out by age 18, but who does? Every year we change, and we grow. Whether I am 18 or 35 I hope I still don’t have myself or my partner figured out, because that means we are not growing and advancing. My husband and I were only together for about a year before getting married, there is a lot I am still learning about him. But that is the best thing about being married at 18. We not only get to grow and achieve individually, but we are growing together. We can develop similar interest and passions while still perusing our own dreams.
“You are going to miss out on the college experience”
For me, this wasn’t that big of deal. “College experience” is key for, you won’t get the freedom to go out and mingle, party, and drink. I was never into partying, so I didn’t mind giving up that freedom and neither did my husband. As far as making friends, I still attend class like everyone else, and I still see friends in my free time. So for us, this wasn’t so bad.
“Being married is too expensive, you are going to be broke”
I heard this a lot when I got engaged, and I used to think it was true. Marriage isn’t what costs money, college, groceries, and bills cost money. For me, my parents weren’t going to pay my college expenses or bills anyway, so being married didn’t add to my expense. Yes, now there are two people. Which means twice as much food and water, but there are also two incomes, so it’s not too bad. We aren’t rich by any means, but you spend what you make, and you adjust. Even with going to college, renting an apartment, groceries, and bills, I am still saving more money than I ever did in high school. And I only work about 25 hours a week – not too bad.
“She is only marrying him for his money”
This one surprised me, and was said to us more often then you would think (this was directed at me, but could be seen from either point of view). I think the response to this is fairly obvious, almost nobody gets married at 18 for money. We were both broke. We both had a little saved from working, but that was quickly used up paying for the rings and deposit on our apartment. Finances are personal to talk about, but if you are in the same position I ask to just brush it off. My husband and I share an account, there is no “my money” and “your money.” When we heard this he always joked and said “if only they knew I am marrying you for your money,” which was fairly accurate. No, but really, nobody knows about something as personal as finances until they are in your position, so ignore it.
“They are just getting married so that they can have sex”
I was going to leave this one out because again, it is personal, but I know that so many others have been accused of this. Remaining pure until your wedding is very difficult to do, and I can see how some people could use that as an incentive to get married sooner rather than later, but for that to be the foundation on which you are getting married is just ridiculous, and I am aware of that.
“They are only getting married so they can have sex.”
We heard this from friends, classmates, family, teachers, and church members, which was probably the saddest thing throughout this whole experience. Although it was not always said to us, it was definitely said about us in many conversations. My response: almost all people getting married aren’t getting married for sex. If someone wanted to have sex that badly, then they would do it, with or without being married. I just ask that if you are reading this, try to refrain from saying this about the next young couple getting hitched.
These 5 misconceptions were thought and said about me in my relationship with my husband, but have also been said to many other young couples that want to take that next step and get married. Being married at a young age is not for everyone, but it is for some people. I hope that those wishing to start a marriage at a young age are not disheartened by the negative comments that they will receive. Even more so, I hope that those with strong opinions keep more to themselves and spread more love. Being married can be difficult, but being negative only makes it harder. During that engagement period especially, give the young couple as much love and support as you can, because they have made their decision, and they need to be loved.