AS YOUNG MARRIAGES HAVE BECOME LESS COMMON, THE STIGMA ATTACHED TO THEM IS BECOMING MORE COMMON GROUND. IMI BYERS LOOKS AT WHETHER RELATIONSHIPS FORMED WHILE YOU’RE YOUNG CAN LAST THE TEST OF TIME.
Edited by Natalie Whitmore
Relationships can be hard. Maintaining a successful romantic-relationship requires effort, patience, and good communication- something of which not everyone has. Also, fully committed relationships might not be the most appealing thing for us students, who have the added pressure of workload, finance and general uni life. Finding time to commit to something just for an evening can be challenging, but for your whole life? The idea is almost laughable.
Getting married at a younger age has slowly become less and less common. Statistics suggest that couples who marry under 25 are twice as likely to get divorced, and with the average wedding costing £24,000, you would think that anybody wanting to say the big “I do” in their twenties are crazy (in love).
However, it does happen and there are certain positives of marrying young that aren’t necessarily clear at first glance. So what really is the truth behind teen brides and twenty-something year old spouses?
Yes, it works!
Speaking to a younger, married couple, who decided to commit to each other at an early age, they said they are eager to point out the stigma and automatic assumptions that people have when they find out about their marital status. “You’re married and you’re how old?” is a common question, as well as the presumption of an unexpected pregnancy. Further conversation with the happily-wed duo and much more can be revealed about the truths of married life.
Firstly, as most of us are well aware, age is no guarantee for maturity. We all know those few thirty-something year olds who still act like wild teenagers, just like we all know those young twenty-somethings who seems to be much more sensible and act beyond their years. Everyone goes through their life stages at different times, so maybe some people are better prepared and ready for long-term commitment at a younger age. For those of you that believe in ‘the one’ and ‘soulmates’, it has been said that 82% of us have already met our future spouse at the age of 16, so maybe these newly-weds are simply lucky to have met each-other already, and to be able to grow-up and share their experiences together.
Other positives of exchanging vows at a young age could be the fact that the pressure of finding love and settling down later on in life is now omitted. Focus can be entirely concentrated on working up the career ladder, having children and not on worrying about being forever alone. There is also that added feeling of having constant support by your side. The 20’s can be a stressful time, finding your way in the big wide world and tackling it together as a couple can make the whole process a lot less daunting.
Three years into their marriage, and the couple are still as happy as can be. Despite working, living, gyming and socialising together, they clearly haven’t had any regrets that they have copped off too soon. As they both are progressing quickly up the career line, they are already earning more than the typical post-graduates and are able to live a comfortable lifestyle, with enough disposable income to go travelling and visit friends (which is more than most of us can say!). There seems to be no immediate negatives to their happy-ever-after so far.
No, it’s too difficult.
On the other hand, there are an abundance of reasons that marriage isn’t quite so appealing at an early age. For example, for most of us university isn’t exactly a stable and predictable journey. It is a place where you are constantly meeting new people and trying out new things. Making the decision to commit to someone so early on could backfire if you suddenly meet someone new that you have feelings for, or if you find a new hobby that your other half doesn’t approve of or takes up all your time.
The inconsistent paths at uni may mean that amazing opportunities come up such as working abroad or travelling around the country. Having strong commitments in one place may restrict you from fulfilling your future job potential.
On another note, in 2016 the average age that people are financially able to move out of their parents’ houses in UK is 27. There is a strong likelihood that you and your beloved will end up cooped with the in-laws for a while, which may not be the romantic scenario you pictured in the honeymoon period of your married life. Obviously, finance can be a massive issue. The wedding of your dreams may not be feasible in the scopes of your student loan. Also the hen and stag do’s as well as possible honeymoon and house furnishings don’t come cheap either. Even the most simplistic of ceremonies can be costly.
Who are we to be so quick to judge? Everyone is different and has their own priorities in life. Some people may be ready to settle down at 16 while others are not willing to settle down at all. The future is unpredictable and wild; who knows if your soulmate is waiting for you just round the corner?