Monday, September 20, 2010 18

 2 weeks before the wedding. J - 21.  Me - 18

I don't think much about how young I was when I was married - nearly 8 years later I am deeply entrenched in family life and am only reminded when people ask me how old I am - 26 with 4 kids.  While getting married so young is not for everyone, I do think there have been some benefits for us.

Being so young, we had little debt when were were married - quickly and easily paid off while we both worked during those early months of our marriage.  We were committed to living on one income so that I could stay home and raise our children, and have learned to live simply and without many extras.  We were able to pay for J's school as he went along and incurred no further debt.  Being raised by frugal parents meant that I was already comfortable with buying second hand clothing, furniture and vehicles.

J working and going to school meant that he could only go part-time - and we were able to save and pay for his school as we went along.

Although J is still working on that degree and we live on a small income and a very tight budget, I know I am blessed to be able to stay at home with my children - something my peers with massive credit card debt and huge student loans to pay off are not able to do.
I must say - regardless of whether or not you choose to marry young, the BEST thing you can do for your future is to refuse to go into debt when you are young.  If you must take out loans for school, work as hard as you can to pay them off as soon as possible.  

Another boon to the success of our young marriage is our mutual faith.

While we did get married young and quickly after a long distance relationship, we both knew where the other stood on issues of faith.  As something sincerely held and valued by each of us, it just would not have worked if the other was not on the same page.  While we have our disagreements, we are completely united on this front and that has been a huge blessing.

Getting married young has meant that I'm not the girl he married - and he's not the boy I married.  We've grown up and changed quite a bit, but we have grown up together. I truly think that having children young and dealing with the sacrifices of parenthood has helped us both grow in humility and servant-hood - something so necessary for marriage as well.

Being married at a young age gets a bad rap, and certainly the statistics of young marriages are pretty bleak - but I think that speaks more to the expectation of maturity for young people more than the ability of young marriages to survive.  Culturally, we encourage young people to avoid responsibility at all costs - not exactly a climate that fosters maturity for marriage and parenthood.

Were you married young?  What benefits have you noticed?


  1. Yes, I had just turned 19 when I got married, my dear husband had just turned 22. While you're right, it's not for everyone, it was wonderful for us. We have grown up together, and children certainly speeded up the process! I am now 29, he is 32. We have been married for 10 years and will be having baby #6 in less than 10 weeks. I will be forever grateful that I did not have years single to become entrenched in 'my' life, 'my' career, and 'my' way. Being a stay at home mom has been a wonderful blessing!

  2. Yeah, I agree with most of what you said. For us the student loans weren't a choice really. In order for Joe to go to the only schooling option that was available due to work schedule, we just had too. Not so thrilled about the debt, but we have little to no other debt, so I have always felt that it was a worthwhile one. It enabled us to stay out of credit card/loan debt despite ups and downs of salary through the last 7 years. Would I prefer to not have them, HECK yes, but it will have made Joe going back to school at all possible, so I am ok with it. Know what I mean? Thankfully, workign the job he was able to did help with schooling costs so both things worked together.
    We were married young as well, 19 and 20. One thign I am thankful for is that we had a smoother adjustment to married life and then married with kids. It happened so fast for us. We have changed our family and relationship together. That being said both of us have had growing pains and being young did make us a bit more selfish, but praise the Lord we've been able to make it through those rough spots. And I think we're better for them.
    It has been hard not having alot of help and support, but we're still alive and I am proud that we've done it on our own. We've survived a lot together.
    That being said, LOVE having someone else who is/has been in the same boat as we are. It is such an encouragement!

  3. Sara - I agree the school debt is sometimes necessary. It may be for us when J switches full time to the 4 year university. But I do think that learning to live frugally and not start out with debt means that if we do end up needing to take out a few loans, we will still be able to manage me staying home with the kids. One of the other things that has helped us be able to do that is for me to have a few things "on the side" to do as work while staying home with kids - nannying in the early years, becoming a doula, knitting, etc.

    I agree with you on knowing others in the same boat. There isn't a lot of encouragement these days for young married people - we need to stick together and root each other on!

  4. We were married young. Just shy of 18 for me and almost 21 for my hubby. Baby #1 came year and a half later(and #2+#3 over the years..). I'm actually really glad I "missed out" on all the teenager partying stuff, on having time that was centered around me and not serving my husband and family. I thoroughly enjoy my life and I'm thankful that I'm young enough to really enjoy my family..(We started out debt free as well, though some medical bills put us in some a few years later, but thats unavoidable when you're uninsured..)

  5. Lydia -
    I agree that marrying "young" was for us -- even though I sound like an old lady compared to you, having been married at 23 (he was 22)! We dated for 5 years before that though, so we've been together since age 17.
    I think one of the things I am most grateful for is that neither of us had any "baggage" from failed past relationships, or from past sexual partners. I see so many relationships fail because one partner fails to live up to the other's ideals -- that were formed when they were with ANOTHER person.
    We have literally grown up together, changing, talking, discussing, and working our way through all of a young marriage's milestones.
    Of course, our faith and our commitment to making our marriage and our family come first before ANY other commitments had cemented us together too. We will celebrate 11 years of marriage next weekend, and it has been the best thing to happen to me in my life. Praise God!

  6. I married young (had just turned 21 a week before, and he was 23). I was committed to him since 19, though, so I haven't been single since then. Anyway, I don't know that it was a result of marrying young, but we don't have any debt except some small school loans, I'm able to stay home with our 2 kids, and we are able to live very comfortably on a low-income (much to the dismay of our wealthier peers- "how will they afford that second baby?!" they've said...). We are married 5 happy years now, and I only love him, and us, more. We actually don't want more money (although I think we will make more at some point), we have found that our happiness comes from each other, our children, time spent together, good food and health, and the ability to work towards being more self-reliant and sustainable. No career I might have had in an alternate life could compete, for me anyway. I think if marrying young had anything to do with it, it's that it jolted me out of that cultural prescription to go to school and pick a career, etc. While perhaps that's right for some people, we've found that it isn't right for our family.
    Actually, I'm reading this book called "Radical Homemakers" that is really validating and fun, and I thought of you. You should check it out if you haven't already. :)

  7. Grace - I'm glad that you brought up living low income and not necessarily wanting more. While some have goals of wealth for their family, that has never been one of ours. We are happy to be financially independent, but ultimately what we value most is our family time together, growing and loving and sharing in our own little family unit. It is definitely counter-cultural at this point to get married and have babies young instead of climbing the corporate ladder first. I'm happy with our decision and couldn't imagine life any other way!

  8. I had just turned 22 3 weeks before we got married, my husband was 23. So not as young as you, but still young when you look at most marriages now. We've been married for 5 years now and a lot of my high school and university friends are still not married yet.

    I love that we married young. We have learned a lot together and we have been able to not get too used to living alone and being set in our own ways before getting married and moving in together. I still had 1 year left of university when we got married and he had just graduated. It was a fun but also hard first year, adjusting to living with the man I loved and trying to please him and make a home. But I wouldn't change anything.

  9. I completely agree with not going into debt when you are young. After 8 years over marriage, we still reap the repercussions of poor financial decisions we made as newly-marrieds.

    You have a beautiful family!

  10. Yes. Peter and I got married when I was 19 and he was 20. We are 26 and 27 now, with 4 kids. We had 2 children by the time Peter was finished with his undergrad degree, and he is now working on a masters. It was tough, getting through those first few years with Peter in school, our only incomes were loans, and me being pregnant most of the time. But like you said in your post... "we grew up together", and I feel like we are still growing up! I like to say that it is an adventure, and I am so glad to be on this adventure with my husband who is the most amazing person I know!
    Thanks for your post Lydia. It is inspiring to see other families like my own, experiencing similar challenges and joys! It looks like you do a great job with your family and I wish you the best. God Bless!

  11. My husband and I married young as well. I was 19 and he was 21, our first baby was born that same year. I continued on with nursing school while he and graduated from college, got a job and supported our tiny growing family. While all our friends partied, moved, and graduated our lives changed in bigger ways. We grew closer as a couple and family, our friendship grew as did our respect for one another. We have now been married 6 years and have 3 (hopefully soon more) beautiful children. We are stronger for our young marriage, but could not have survived (as easily) without family to help. Since we have alwasy had to look to one another for advice, friendship, and pretty much everything else, we "grew up" together. It has been a beauitful 6 years and hopefully many many more to come.


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