The divorce rate in America is down. People are waiting later in life these days to get married, to have children to start their lives together. What does this mean for the ones who choose to marry young?
Emotionally speaking, there’s a huge rift between those who marry in their 20s and those who don’t. While one is setting up house, dealing with adult responsibilities such as working and paying bills, a mortgage and planning a family, the other may be living at home, attending classes and parties and generally avoiding adult duties I just mentioned. Mom and Dad may still be supporting them or paying for school while they “find themselves.”
The level of maturity needed to maintain a married relationship is at one end of the spectrum while the young single may be dating or simply still in the playing the field mentality. Adult emotional commitment to one partner in a monogamous relationship is nothing to be taken lightly and not all 20 somethings are ready or willing to make that level of commitment. For those who do, life changes dramatically.
Does marrying young make you boring and stodgy? No of course not. While there are boring married people there are also reckless single people, there’s not one single path that everyone needs to take when it comes to relationships and marriage. If you fall in love in your 20s and decide that marriage is the right choice, by all means, get married.
Staying single doesn’t mean you’re going to be lonely and sad. You can live a single life that’s full of excitement and happiness.
Marrying young is the same. You can have a quiet and sedate married life, or you and your spouse can have amazing adventures together as a couple.
Parenting is another area where there is a lot of discussion about marrying young. We’re not talking teen moms here but those who marry young and decide to have families; implying they have some means of support other than their parents, and that they have planned a family, not gotten married due to an accidental pregnancy. Kids don’t come with owner’s manuals or instructions, so whether you’re 25 or 35, you’re in the same boat parentally. While an older more mature parent might have a bit of a different outlook on parenting, all parents learn and grow with the experiences of raising and caring for their children. Parenting classes are available and I recommend that all young parents take them to learn what to expect when their baby arrives. Age does not guarantee you’ll be a good parent. Young mothers can make wonderful parents and with that timing, once your kids are grown you’re still young enough to have life after your kids leave home.
The longevity of your relationship if you marry young is the most impressive thing. Your connection has so much time to deepen and grow. Marrying young doesn’t mean you’ll get divorced or the relationship will end. Many couples who marry young grow together into amazing long term relationships that stand the test of time. As they evolve their relationships are strengthened by the experiences they have and they look back on many happy years with their growing families.
Sadly the statistics are against them. Many young couples never make it. Immaturity and lack of support often contribute to divorce. If you’re a couple who married young the odds are stacked against you. You will have to work at keeping your relationship fresh and relevant. You’ll need to continue to grow and evolve as individuals and keep your relationship romantic and passionate; working on your connection above all else. Avoid the pitfalls of becoming stale and boring. It doesn’t need to happen.
You can hedge your bets and increase your odds of having a successful marriage by taking premarital and parenting courses early on. Learn what to do and what not to do to avoid the problems that many young married couples fall victim to. You and your partner can have a long and successful life together against the odds. Don’t let anyone dissuade you from committing to marriage with the love of your life no matter what your age.
Stuart Fensterheim, LCSW helps couples to overcome the disconnection in their relationships As an author, blogger and podcaster, Stuart has helped couples around the world to experience a unique relationship in which they can feel special and important, confident in knowing they are loved deeply and that their presence matters.
His weekend workshop, Two Days: Seven Conversations has become a popular venue for many to set off on their journey of connectedness. The Couples Expert Podcast consists of weekly provocative conversations offering the perspectives and insight of experts from a variety of relationship related fields. Stuart also offers daily relationship video tips on The Couples Expert YouTube channel and by subscription in Stuart’s Daily Notes. Stuart is happily married and a devoted father of 2 daughters. He lives and works in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The Couples Expert offers a premarital course. Before You Tie the Knot, 12 Essential Conversations to help you and your partner know what to expect from married life. You and your partner can learn and prepare for a successful marriage by having the right conversations now.