Marrying Young…Can We Do It?

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I married at a young age, and people often wonder why. Was it because I got pregnant? Or was it because we were in a rush? My husband and I married after knowing each other for little more than a year and a half. Marrying at 21 was scary, but especially so for me since I was still a senior at the University of California, San Diego.

Marrying early isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Neither is marrying when older, being single, or cohabitating. Any arrangement with a loved one requires time, effort, and good communication to make the relationship work.

Below are helpful tips for young couples to encourage a healthy relationship:

Tips for a healthy relationship:

  • Practice positive communication

    Communication is key to a healthy relationship. Of course, disagreements will occur in young couples, which can lead to arguments. It is wise for young couples to talk with each other and avoid the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse known as criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. It is also important to validate partners and acknowledge their perspectives. Resolution can be realized through good communication.

  • Talk about sex

    Although sex is not a topic that everyone feels comfortable discussing, it is an important issue for discussion between partners. Young couples, in particular, can express to each other their likes and dislikes, fantasies or desires, and what turns them on or off. Sex is about intimacy, and communication enhances that intimacy!

  • Share with each other

    It is easy to neglect partners or take them for granted, especially for young couples with busy lives. Include your partner in your daily life by taking the time to tell of the small things in your day – even the mundane. Talking to our partner increases intimacy, support, and happiness in a relationship. When this happens, you will want to talk to your partner even more! This is called positive reinforcement.

  • Have fun together

    Couples who are younger experience their lives in different ways than those who marry at an older age. Explore areas of interest both independently and as a couple. Find ways to have fun together and enjoy being young!

Benefits of young marriages

Many misconceptions exist about marrying young, along with unique benefits of young marriages that are often overlooked:

  • Growing together

    Young couples who commit to a lifetime together are not “tied down” to each other, but rather have the unique opportunity to learn from each other and grow as individuals. Instead of “going it alone,” young couples have the advantage of having a partner with whom they can have more fun! Growth is a natural and ongoing part of a young couple’s relationship. Growing together shows how much you have gone through together in both good times and bad.

  • Pursuing higher education

    Marrying young doesn’t mean that education must stop. The future depends on you, whether single or married. Your decisions, motivations, and determination are what creates a pathway for your future. Working toward your goals with a partner who truly believes in you by your side can become even easier with the additional encouragement and support along the way.

  • Building trust

    Trust is necessary to maintain any relationship, whether a friendship or marriage relationship. It requires strength and self-disclosure. Young couples have the chance to build a relationship on trust from the beginning and commit to telling each other the truth, even if painful.

  • Additional support

    Marriage merges families, and all of a sudden your partner’s family is another resource from which you can benefit. Also, young people usually have large friend groups that are good for social support.

For those who are considering marriage at a young age, it’s okay to feel nervous, even scared. Those of us who married young did feel nervous, even scared. No one is perfect in their relationship, and no perfect relationship exists. There’s only a beautiful relationship built by two people who put the time and effort into maintaining it. All marriages go through their ups and downs, but through hardships will you be better prepared to strengthen your relationship.


Image: Leland Francisco on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0

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