Post # 1
I have noticed many a thread on this board relating to the problem of wedding/age naysayers. People say you’re are too young, you’ve got so much to offer, you should be doing xyz before you “tie yourself down”. For a lot of new bees this can be very hurtful, demeaning, and often make you feel like people don’t trust your judgment. “But age is just a number” you say, and as in life many people will agree or disagree with you.
I’ve created this thread in the hopes that rather than posting a million threads saying the same thing on our 20-something board, new bees will journey here first, hear some (hopefully nice) words of wisdom and learn to let it go. We all deserve love and happiness, and we are all here for the same reason. So vent here, post your stories, commiserate with your fellow bees. We don’t have to let our age define us.
To the bees giving their well-meaning advice. Please try to keep it nice and friendly. I know we all have our differing opinions, but if this is the one place we have to talk about these problems it should be a safe, judgment free space.
Peace and Love,Ms. Polar Bear
Post # 3
As the creator of the thread, here is my advice. My rule (and coincidentally my parents rule) of thumb on “too young or not too young” is this: Get a degree first.
I don’t take it upon myself to say whether you are too young or not, but getting a degree first is such a great rule of thumb for many reasons.
- You will both be able to contribute to your new family
- Should something happen you will have the means to support yourself
- It will provide you with the time necessary to discover who you are
- Divorce rates instantly go down the more education you have (aka that pesky 50 percent divorce rule really only applies to couples who have a high school degree only…it drops with more education).
- You won’t be tempted to leave school halfway to pop out some babies.
So, get a degree first. If you love each other there should be no reason you can’t go to school for four years in the same place and then get married.
Post # 4
@Ms. Polar Bear: While this is the EXACT advice I am following for myself, I’d probably expand that to say “be financially stable” rather than simply getting a degree. I know a lot of people who just aren’t cut out for a four-year degree. Just because someone does not have a college diploma does not mean they aren’t financially prepared to be married. I have a friend who is 19 and a GENIUS, and she graduated from trade school in graphic design. She was immediately hired at two prestigious jobs, and ended up dropping out of college after her first semester. The fact is, she already HAD two jobs that college grads would be looking for, so there was no point in wasting money to earn a degree to get a job that she already had. And she’s making as much money as my parents.
So, I’d say that with or without a degree, the important thing is to be financially secure. Don’t feel bad if life has taken you down a path that doesn’t involve college- you can still be happy!
Post # 6
While I agree with you that it is a really good idea to get a degree before you get married, I don’t think it’s as important as you are implying. Here’s why:
- A lot of people keep progressing with their degrees even after their bachelors. Getting a masters and then sometimes even a phd can force you to be in school for as much as 5-7 years beyond getting the original degree. So while yes, you are able to contribute to the family with a bachelors, if you continue on with school after the bachelors you will likely be living off an assistantship or similar salary, which isn’t contributing much more anyway
- Again, this is not necessarily true. Unemployment can be a serious problem too, which leaves you with no means whatsoever to support yourself
- I do agree that it will give you time to discover who you are, but I also believe that you don’t need to do this alone. Often I find that I am not just growing as a person, but my Fiance and I are growing together.
- Divorce rates are indisputable, I agree
- Again, you are assuming that pregnancy is only a worry after marriage. Many couples live together and engage in sex before marriage these days, so leaving school in the case of pregnancy is a risk already being undertaken
Being “ready” is not something that can be clearly defined for any person, regardless of age, gender, education, or anything else. When you are ready, you will know, and if you happen to be “too young” in someone else’s opinion, then it really isn’t your problem. And if you find out to your cost that you really weren’t ready, well, life is full of mistakes and unexpected twists and turns. The only thing you can do is to accept them, learn from them, and move on. Nobody is perfect, and we have to do what we think is right based off the information and emotions we have at the present time.
Post # 7
@Ms. Polar Bear: I agree. Fiance and I have been together for 5 years (since we were 16/17). We both went to college to be elementary school teachers. I graduated a year early (2010) and have been working full-time as a preschool teacher since last May. He is graduating in a few weeks. Its also important to think about the emotional/maturity level of both people. I KNEW I wanted to wait to get married until we were done with school. We have never lived together because I wanted him to get the “college-boy-who-stays-up-all-night-playing-video-games-and-lives-in-a-gross-apartment” stage over with! He’s done A LOT of growing up in the past year that we’ve been engaged and to me, he’s a MAN now, not just a college BOY.
We both are ready to take this next step together. Oddly enough, we don’t get comments about being too young. I don’t really know why– perhaps because we live in the south and people tend to get married young more often here, or maybe because we seem “mature” enough to handle the responsibilities of marriage.
However, every situation is different, and I don’t think there’s really an age-limit or number of “life experiences” that you can apply to everyone.
Post # 8
I don’t think it’s necessary for couples to have a degree in order to have a happy marriage at all. My Fiance doesn’t have a degree, he has some college though and a lot of work experience. Plus, he has a good paying job right now. we aren’t happy with it though because he works the graveyard shift which is really rough on us so he’s in the process of looking for another job. My FI’s previous work experience has demonstrated that he is very committed to his work and making as much money as possible.
I only have an associate’s degree myself, but I have an okay paying job that I really like.
To me, a lot of money doesn’t always equal happiness. I think it really helps that we communicate about proper ways to spend our money and if we need to save for something then we both put some aside which helps us get it quicker.
The bottom line is most of our debt came from going to college which we will be paying for awhile and we basically didn’t get much back for going to college. I really don’t think college is necessary to have a decent paying job. I think valuable work experience should count for something. We certainly are not rich, but we’re doing alright financially together.
Post # 9
Commenting on my comment isn’t really the point of the thread. The point is to give your own advice and for girls to use this singular thread to talk about their ageism issues. I didn’t create this thread for it to become a debate as to whether or not people need a degree, that was just my personal opinion.
Let’s stick to the point of the thread so that it remains helpful. Thank you.
Post # 10
@Ms. Polar Bear: Thank you for this! The actual post and stopping the discussion on your advice!
I think that my advice, as a young bride, would be to just don’t let it get the best of you! I know that sometimes that can be easier said than done, but it is so true. No one knows your situation better than you and your Fiance. If you go on believing what others say about you, your age, and/or your relationship then you are proving their point to an extent. You have to be sure of yourself and your relationship and know that you can do it and you are making the right decision. If someones comment bothers you because you think it may be true then work through it. Talk about your fears/worries/hopes, it is the only way to overcome them! Overall, BELIEVE in yourself!
Post # 11
I got engaged at seventeen, and married the month after my eighteenth birthday. It fell apart quickly, and now at twenty I’m getting married again.
My advice would be to be selfless. And let your spouse know you expect the same. If you’re not willing to sacrifice your wants for eachother, to better your relationship, and make your spouse feel fufilled and appreciated, no amount of money is going to make a difference. You should be fighting for eachother. Feel free to get advice from other people about your relationship, but ultimately the decision is between the two of you, and how you two relate to eachother :]
My family and friends were extremely hesitant to ‘approve’ of my getting into a serious relationship, let alone getting married a second time, at such a young age. But we stood firm in our faith in eachother and always responded with, ‘We appreciate your concern, but whether or not this turns out to be the best choice for us, really affects only us. We understand that you may think this is a mistake, but that is something only time, and ourselves can determine.’ I am happy to say that, because of how adult we acted in those conversations, and the way we have grown together, and treated eachother, has made all of our naysayers realize that no matter our age, we are fully prepared for what we are getting ourselves into and that this marriage is not a mistake.
Post # 13
I believe the Individual couple’s maturity level does play a big part in whether or not they’re ready to be married of course. It’s possible for people that marry young to last a long time or even forever, but it often doesn’t happen these days because there’s a point in our lives where we rapidly change and grow into adults and that usually occurs in our late teens-early 20’s. For example, I dated a guy for 2 years who was 9 years older than me when I was only 19 and my feelings ended up changing for him over time. I was a completely different person once I turned 21-22 than I was at 19 so generally I don’t think it’s a good idea to get engaged/married at a really young age.
Post # 14
I agree with PP about being financially stable. My husband and I got married at 21/22 after we graduated college, had jobs, and owned a house.
It isn’t a one size fits all but for some people getting married earlier works out well!
Post # 15
I think the best advice to follow is to take people’s advice with a grain of salt. Older people will often say that getting married young is a bad idea, when what they really mean is that getting married young was-or would have been- a bad idea for them.
I used to let the whole thing really upset me- I’m sure you can find a few of my posts around here where I’m freaking out about the judgement, lol- but now I just listen to what they have to say, think about all the things in my life that they know NOTHING about, and evaluate how valid their points actually are.
Do younger couples have a high divorce rate? Yep. At this point, EVERYONE has a high divorce rate. And you know what? Statistically, second marriages have higher divorce rates than first marriages, and rates for subsequent marriages only increase. Chances are, the people who are shoving statistics down your throat are painfully unaware of what the facts actually say.
Numbers- whether age or statistics- don’t define us. Don’t let them.
Post # 16
I think that age is just a number. I also think its interesting there is even a concept of “young” brides when in the past people were getting married in their mid-teens…but alas times have changed….
My advice is to really truly want to be with your partener for who he or she is and the other things will fall into place. Its totally ok for you guys to “grow” together if you think that is something that will work for you. Personally i feel like as we get closer to the wedding, my Fiance has become out of control with going out with friends, being out super late not being home alot etc. but I also KNOW this is just a phase because he wasnt doing these things so much before…
Fiance and I will have been together for 4 years on our wedding day NEXT WEEK!!! and we will both be 24 (i turn 25 in June though =P) We have both matured and grown as people but we did it together because we were meant to be IMO.
I was definately a different person at 20 than I am at 25…and I expect to grow and change throughout my life, I only hope that Fiance will continue to WANT to do it with me 🙂
Personally, i think that when you find the “right” partner for you, there is nothing they will do to HINDER your life, just ENHANCE it…and with that being said…theres no need to “wait” what are you waiting for anyway 🙂