(Closed) Opinions on age at engagement/age at marriage/first love

posted 7 years ago in Relationships
Post # 92
1734 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

If I had married my first love (high school sweetheart), we actually probably would have been okay, and our marriage would have lasted. It wouldn’t have been bad, and we’d have been pretty happy.

However, if that had happened, I would never have met Mr. Karaoke, and I know beyond a shadow of doubt that this man and I were meant for each other.

So while I think it’s not necessarily always going to be a disaster to marry your first love or marry at a young age, I do think that taking some time to see what else is out there and just enjoy your youth can be a good thing, as well.

Post # 93
4028 posts
Honey bee

@kala_way:  As someone who has been dating my Fiance for 9 years, I have to respectfully disagree with you. We started dating when we were 15 and 17. We dated throughout high school, college, took a short break (about 8 months) and then got back together. We dated others during that time and determined that we wanted to be back together. About 2 years after our break, he proposed.

Why did we date for so long? Because it was not until this year that we felt the most financially secure, emotionally mature and prepared to begin a marriage. We are having a 10 month engagement. We will be 25 and 27 when we get married.

Yes, we took a while to get married, but it wasn’t because we couldn’t decide if we wanted to marry. We wanted to be prepared and approach marriage in a mature and serious way. We are putting more effort in on the front end to strengthen our relationship rather than adhering to an arbitrary (1-2 year timeline) and possibly rushing into marriage.

Our timeline is not something most agree with, but honeslty, I do not care. It has worked for us just perfectly.

Post # 94
206 posts
Helper bee

It seems that many of these assumptions about the correct age for marriage imply that after marriage there is no growing, no compromise and no personal development. How bleak.


Post # 95
4028 posts
Honey bee

@Helium:  +1

I would have to agree. Though I am not married yet, I am anticipating that changes will happen and we will experience different things throughout our lives. Thus far, we have learned to grow with each other and will continue to do so.

Post # 96
5155 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 2010

The problem with these threads, especially on a forum of young brides to be or newlyweds, is everyone will say “that is not me! We are the exception!” And I get it because until you ARE older you cannot comprehend how much you will change. Only time will tell, and I can tell you many of the people I know who married young are divorced or just not in very happy marriages. Just because someone stays together and beats the divorce rates does not mean they are “successful”! This does not mean they were with douchebags, sometimes things just changed as they got older, and sometimes there were deeper issues with communication, support for personal growth and so on. Not one of them went into it saying they weren’t with the person they wanted to be with forever, or that they were not ready.

To me the risk is not about dating douchebags or whatever when you are young. The men I dated at a young age were great guys too…but that does not mean they were right for me for life. It is also not about “partying”. To me it really is about getting to know who YOU are as an independent person and that can be very difficult to do when you stay with your first love/marry young.

Ultimately everyone has to do what is right for them. Personally I married at 30 (my husband was 34) and am grateful for the choices I made and circumstances out of my control that meant I did not marry earlier or someone else aside from my now husband. If I had married earlier or stayed with a first love I may have never known what I could have missed out on, but I sure would have missed out. 

My 20s were also a time of tremendous growth. I grieved the death of a long term boyfriend, dated, lived with another man, lived many years on my own, went to university, went back to law school, traveled on my own, worked various job, pursued my hobbies and passions, was in the military and so on. Together those experiences really helped me know ME and also know what I wanted in a partner…and enough to know that I did not need a partner so would not settle for less than the best.

By time we met, my husband had gone through his own journey of personal growh and self-awareness. Because of who we both were, and are, when we met we have the most honest, loving. supportive, respectful, open and fulfilling relationship I could ever have imagined.  Neither of us would have stayed together if there was any less. If we had met at 20 before our respective journey’s I honestly don’t think we would have seen what we see in each other now as it would not have been there nor would we have had the self-awareness, communication skills and trust in ourselves and each other and we would not have dated or lasted! Who knew I could find such a grounding and freedom in a relationship? I sure didn’t so many years ago. Of course we are still and always growing, and we support and encourage that in each other, but it is in a different way than it was at, say 23. 

Obviously marrying young (and/or first loves) works for some but I can just go by what my own experience and how fortunate I feel that my life has gone as it has.

Post # 97
189 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

I personally do not think there should be specific rules involving age and engagement/marriage. I think every person and relationship is different and should be treated as such. I got engaged at 24 and am getting married right before my 26th birthday. Would some say that’s young? Sure. But we know it’s right for us (been living together for 3 and dating for 5) and quite frankly that’s all that matters.

ETA: Fiance is not my first love but my second. My first love was my highschool sweetheart whom I also dated for 5 years (however it was quite the roller coaster ride in which I blame a lack of maturity as one of the main causes for our breakup). I’m a firm believer of when you know, you just know. And yes, maturity plays a very important role in terms of readiness for commitment.

Post # 98
2651 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - Catholic Church

My husband and I have known each other for 14 years. We didn’t become romantic until I was 16 and he was 17, we got engaged for my 18th birthday and married 2 months before my 20th birthday. I believe that when you find the one you know and it doesn’t matter how old you are. I do realize that this isn’t a popular opinion but it’s what I believe. Darling Husband has an aunt who got married at 18 and they’ve been happily married for 40 years and we have a friend of the family who got married at 17 and has been happily married for more than 30 years. It all depends on the people and not so much on the age.

Post # 99
10644 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

@jellybeangreen246:  How long do you date your first love before getting engaged then if it doesn’t end?  Or do you just end a great relationship because you don’t want to marry your first love?


I think when you’re young you should date someone for quite a while before getting engaged.  When you’re older, things tend to be more stable, so getting engaged quickly is more likely to work out.  I don’t think getting married is a bad thing at 24 if you’ve been with someone for 6 years, and getting married at 40 dating someone for a year is fine.  I think a couple should date for a minimum of a year before getting married (not neccessarily engaged though, that could be 6 months dating, 6 months engaged).  It being a first love or a fifth love doesn’t make a difference.

Post # 100
4028 posts
Honey bee

@RayKay:  I agree with you in many ways. You never really know, regardless of the decision you make, until you take that path. You won’t know for sure if your marriage or choices will work out if you marry young or you marry older. I think, for me the decision is about being informed, comfortable and prepared at the time.

I also think that in the minority to some extent, but I do not fear divorce. It is not that I expect to be divorced or that I would “give up” on my marriage/relationship. It is just that I know there are far worse things in life than divorce (i.e., death of a loved one, abuse, trauma, etc). (Note: I am not religious in any way) Therefore, if for whatever reason my marriage or relationship does not work out, I know that I can and many others have recovered in the end. I think many encore brides can attest to that.

So yes, I am going into my marriage on the younger side (at 25), I am technically marrying my first love, and we are doing our best to prepare for a long, successful relationship. But I am not putting so much pressure on it to say that this has to work to the point that I am miserable. My Fiance agrees with this approach as well, which has helped tremenously in how much less stress we have at times.

Post # 101
2085 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012 - Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards

Knowing now that identity doesn’t fully develop until the middle to late twenties, I’m not a huge fan of 18-22 year olds getting married.

Everyone knows couples who got married young and are doing just fine.  Those are outliers.  According to the National Center for Health Statistics, about 60 percent of couples who marry between 20 and 25 are destined for divorce.

This shows divorce rates related to the age a woman was when she got married (chart made based on the US census):


The same chart for England and Wales:


Also, the divorce rate among conservative Christians is higher than the divorce rates among other Christian sects, atheists, and agnostics.  I believe that’s a group that tends to marry young.

Post # 102
7770 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2010

In my experience, the longer you wait to get engaged, the better of a choice you make.  That honestly is the way it seems to me- at least to some extent- I cannot imagine getting married in my lower 20s.  The older you are the more you know what you want and need in a partner, what you value.  And it changes ALL THE TIME- at least, in some ways I think it does.  We are all changing and growing all the time.  I also think that suffering through a few bad relationships helps you to know and appreciate a good one when you finally have it.  Living on my own for so many years- I have really been around the block, been there, done that- lots of boyfriends, a few years of partying – I have no desire to do those things anymore (things I don’t think are conducive to healthy marriage.)  Also, if I had married smeone younger, I don’t think I ever would be fully satisfied- like if I had settled down sooner.  I wanted to move around more, be an artist, find somewhere I like living.  For a lot of years I did not date decent people, because I was not ready for them- anyone decent that was interested in me- I headed for the hills.  I just didn’t think I deserved them because I had been in an abusive relationship (my “first love”).

I am so thankful that I took risks and lived a lot and – as painful as it was to get away from- my first love person was very abusive and I am glad that I did not stay with them- that I tested the waters or whatever- because I never would have known how terrible they were if I hadn’t.

ETA:  One more thing for me personally- if I had married young and had a husband taking care of me I do not think I would have had as much respect for myself or for him or for the situation.  I guess I wanted and needed to do things on my own.  I feel like I can survive anything now.

Post # 103
5155 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 2010

@bmo88:  Absolutely agree with you about divorce. To be clear, my husband and I do nurture our relationship and are in this for life (I bug him that he is in it for eternity since he said so in his personal vows, bu I have an out at death if I want, ha ha). But, both of agree that divorce is a better option than misery if we stop growing together or are unhappy. Yes, we are committed to being life partners, but we also are committed to personal happiness. If my husband was unhappy and did not want to be married I would hope he would let me know so we could part. I would be crushed, but life goes on and is too short to be miserable or with someone who is miserable. A stagnant marriage is no marriage at all.

I have seen many, my own parents included, much happier after divorce and in much healthier and happier relationships so sometimes it really is a sad ending but also a happy new beginning. My husband and I also both had common-law marriages end that still came with all the legal work of divorce, and are both much better off for it.

So yes, we are life partners but I totally agree with you that divorce is not the worst thing. I’d pick divorce over an unhappy marriage that is for sure.


Post # 104
3552 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

Honestly the OP offends me because it tries to invalidate my relationship at every turn. I’m 22, 23 next week and SO is 23 the week after that. We are getting engaged before Christmas.  We plan to get married on our 8th anniversary at 24. We started dating at 16. He is my only love. I dated one other guy at 14 and that didn’t work very well. He has never dated anyone else. We’ve been together for more than 6 years with no breaks, not even when I moved 400 miles away for college. The idea of breaking up was like ripping out our hearts, long distance was easier. Neither of us has ever been the partying type, we’re old souls. I don’t believe that we need to date other people to ‘find ourselves’. Romantic realtionships are not the only kind of relationship that can help us figure out our values, what we want in life, and the healthiness of our relationships (you can have unhealthy friendships). I’ve had some rather tumultous roommate relationships that I believe have served the same purpose for me. I know that my relationship is good and healthy because LDR taught us how to really communicate. We are far from problem free but we tackle our problems together and support each other. I was venting to my mother a few weeks ago about one of SO’s really big probelms (it’s low self esteem and world view related) giving her my side of the argument. She asked me ‘how did you turn out so well adjusted?’ The reason I’ve had to think my worldview through is becasue SO challenges me. I’ve had to verbalize it in arguments and it has helped me grow as a person and find a healthier life attitude while at the same time lifting him up. I wouldn’t be who I am today without him and I think I am a better person for having him in my life. (btw SO is getting therapy for his self esteem problems)

I think your overly geralized statement just does not apply to everyone, and hope you think a bit more before you make a generalized, offensive statement again.

Post # 105
15 posts
  • Wedding: June 2013

Well I’m 26 and he’s 24, we’ll be a year older once we marry. I know he in particular is under the average age that a guy marries, well under. However we have been together three years and I was very careful not to put pressure on him to get engaged/married as I was sensitive to our age difference.

I used to think a guy would need to be much older – but from what I can see statistically, age doesn’t play a massive role in terms of divorce rates. It seems to be high no matter the age you marry! Marriage is something we both take very seriously, and we are both realistic about how time will change us, but we are both willing to work with that because we have our priorities, and a happy marriage is high up the agenda!

I’m so excited to be marrying my best friend. *gushes*

Post # 106
7 posts
  • Wedding: December 2013

I think that it depends a lot on where you grow up.  I’m from the South – my grandma got married at 18, my mom got engaged at 21, married at 22.  I’m 22 and will be 23 when I get married.  No one in my family takes marriage lightly.  

I’m looking forward to spending the rest of my life with this man!  Oh, he is also my first love.  Met at 16, and have been together ever since.  I think some things are just meant to be, so why wait another 3+ years??  We’ve changed and grown so much, but we’ve done it together.

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