(Closed) Washington Post column on marrying young

posted 12 years ago in 20 Something
Post # 3
286 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2009

I agree with some of the author made. Also, being a young bride-to-be myself, i’ve noticed that alot of people are focoused on my age and not my maturity level/view of things. Are there girls who are too young to marry when their 20/21? Sure. But are there also girls who are more than prepared and ready to be married and become a wife at the same age? Yes. I, personally believe it depends on the person. I think it is unfair to assume that people are not ready to be married just because of there age and the same on the flip-side. . . it is just as unfair to assume people are ready to marry because of the age they are.  I know people who were married at 20 and have been happily married ever since. I also people who got married at 20 who have since divorced. And i know 30+ people who still do not feel they are ready to commit to marraige; as well as people who waited to be married and their marriage ended in divorce. It depends on the indivdual couple and their abilty to make a marriage work.

Post # 4
2022 posts
Buzzing bee

This is a really interesting article. 

I am personally going to be bringing the average marrying age up, though my Fiance will be the average age.  We have been together for nearly 8 years now but waited until were both done with our education (he is an MD, I’m a JD) before taking this next step together.  I do agree that parents now encourage their kids (including me) to be independent and have a life of their own before settling down.  I think if I went to my parents at age 21 and told them we were getting married, they would have freaked out!

I do agree that marital "readiness" depends on the person, not the age.  However, I am a proponent of waiting until you are established until marrying.  I was a very mature 21/22 year old and knew I was going to marry my Fiance.  Looking back though, I don’t think I was emotionally equipped to marry back then.  We now have shared in so many life experiences and have matured together over the years so that we know how to weather pretty much any storm together.

Post # 5
14181 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

Wow, I didn’t know my "market value" went down as I got older. I can’t imagine that age is the ONLY #1 factor in divorce. I’d say maturity is, eesh. I know plenty of women who are 21 who are capable of marriage. Also plenty of older ones who are not.

I just think times are a-changing with the women of this generation getting more into their career than say, our mothers. My mother didn’t start her career until after we were grown. We were raised with this independent nature and he focuses on that a lot. You can still be independent and happily married. If it works for you, great. If not, wait. That’s all you can do. But as long as YOU are happy and are willing to make it work, that is all that matters. It’s what works best for each individual. 

I don’t read into a lot of "mapping trends" because there are too many factors to consider and I never consider myself inside the box of statistics anyways. I know myself and my Fiance, and that’s all I need to be a 23-year-old, confident bride. If something ever happened between my Fiance and I, it wouldn’t be because of my age. It would be some unforseen incident in the far future. Things happen and I’m aware of that. But I also know that love and devotion and the willingness to work hard goes very far. 

I get the impression he’s just encouraging everyone to marry young, though. Maybe that is my misinterpretation of the article, but it kind of annoyed me. I want to go, "waht do you mean, what am i waiting for!" haha. 

Post # 6
2725 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

Interesting article. Kind of makes me feel kind of old at  32! Personally, in my early 20’s, I was ready to settle down and get married. Then in my mid to late 20’s, I went through I a bad spell (work drama, mother died, family issues, financial issues, dating losers) and it would have been the worst time to get married. Now I’m ready. My Fiance is 39 and he’s ready. I’ve have grown so much as a person in the last few years and really know what matters to me in life. Now I’m ready to be a wife.

I truly think there is no ideal age to get married. My oldest bro and his wife have been married for 24 years. He was 18 and she was 17. And my FI’s aunt is in her 50’s and just got married for the first time last year. So you never can tell.

Post # 7
100 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: January 2009

Great find with the article! I love reading/discussing this issue because it kind of riles me up…

I’m a young bride. Just got married (turned 20 days after the wedding) and my husband was 22. However, we both graduated college last May and have had a full-time jobs in our career field since. I’ve always been told I was "too young" to do this or that… but I always say that age is nothing but a number. I was also more mature than my age and accomplished a lot at a young age. I wasn’t looking, but happened to find someone I fell in love with and waited 3 years to get married — after we graduated. But still, I got the "you’re too young, OMG!" response from many people. 

His dad, is the opposite, however. He waited until he got his PHD before he even started looking and wanted the same for his son. Sorry, FIL! 🙂 I don’t believe in that… I believe that BUILDING a life together and working through the tough times — that’s what makes a marriage in my opinion (my parents went that route and have been happily married). I don’t think that a guy has to be rich or have his doctorate before getting a wife. However, I’m a firm believer that everything happens for different people at different times and no one is wrong. 

I hate that people are so closed minded and don’t factor in other things to their "age" argument. Maturity levels happen at different times for people and who’s to say I’m not mature just because my age is young? I think couples should do what they feel is right for them — and yes, have a steady job and finish at least your college degree before you marry, but that shouldn’t be based on age!! 🙂

Post # 8
253 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

I didn’t like the tone of the article, it seemed pretty mysogenistic to me.  But I think the point that money shouldn’t be the deciding factor in whether to marry or wait is valid.  My parents married young, with nothing in the bank, and they’ll celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary this year.  Whether you can afford the 2-carat ring you’re craving (or he’s craving, as the case may be) shouldn’t hold you back if you’re ready to be married.  The "more, bigger, better" attitude when it comes to rings and weddings is a huge culprit, IMO — and it’s not only the fault of brides, it’s also the fault of parents who "only want the best" for their kids.

That aside, just as people shouldn’t wait around with no good reason for doing so, I also don’t think people should marry young just for the sake of marrying young.  I shudder to think of what marriage to any of the guys I dated in my younger years would have been like.  Those of us who met our SOs a few years later in life shouldn’t feel guilty because we’re not walking down the aisle at 22.  I only see a problem when people are unhappy about the situation they’re in (the classic one where the girl has been ready to get married for 3 years and the guy is trying to push the proposal out another 3 years).  Otherwise, live and let live.

Post # 9
45 posts
  • Wedding: June 2009

Oo the "decreased market value" line about women was a little messed up. Because women are only here to breed, afterall!

Speaking of marriage trends, I’m finding the age of marriage varies with region. What is "young" somewhere isn’t necessarily "young" somewhere else.  I’m from New England, land of puritan work ethics and ivy league schools, and getting engaged at 22 was kind of taboo. We got a lot of questions (we both had our bachelors’ degrees, fiance was starting grad school, I had a good job in my field of choice) about our age, because most people don’t think about marriage until at least 30. However, in moving to Nashville I found SO MANY younger people getting married. I saw my unmarried friends feel like old maids because they had no offers by 26!! Sure makes it seem like this: the more your peers are get hitched, the more likely you feel compelled to find and ensnare a mate. This means jumping the gun for a lot of people who cave to societal pressures…and the people more likely to want to be part of group mentality are less likely to have achieved a certain level of independence and maturity needed for a healthy marriage.

Post # 11
1018 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2010

Interesting article. It’s true that people in general are marrying later in life, but it seems rather careless to say outright that this is a bad thing and that it is anybody’s fault. I’m sure there are a lot of reasons:

– a generation whose majority was raised in broken, single-parent households

– a generation of women whose interests aren’t solely centered on being wives and mothers.

– longer life-spans

– more options where fertility and families are concerned

 But are these bad things? *shrug*

It’s different, but it’s our right. And as many of you have pointed out, each person is different. I am ready to get married at 23. My sister is 4 years older and probably won’t be ready for another decade. Different maturity levels. But that doesn’t make one of us better or more right than the other.

Post # 12
2204 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

i never planned on marrying as young as I am, but after meeting the perfect person (who is 3 years older than me…and I wouldn’t have it any other way!), and having to endure a long-distance relationship for the last year…marriage was definitely the best option for us now.

I feel as prepared as I’ll ever be for marriage, despite what the culture says about me throwing my life away by getting married this young (thankfully my parents haven’t pressured me to wait)

It definitely has to do with maturity.  and that for many people doesn’t come until later.  But I also feel like if you have a healthy view of marriage and it’s permanency, you can marry young, and mature a lot more after getting married than you would as a single person waiting for self-actualization before pursuing marriage.  Age is certainly not the biggest facotr I considered when deciding when to get married.  I really don’t even think about it!

Post # 13
898 posts
Busy bee

I’m printing this article out! Regardless of the tone it sets about women and their "market value", it does make good points. At 23, and Fiance being 31, my family constantly tells me to wait until I’m more financially stable (as I already fulfilled their wishes of getting the BS). It seems like there will always be something I need to do "first" before getting married – as if it’s a bad thing? Or as if my getting a Master’s degree proves my ability to have a successful marriage?

Post # 14
7081 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2009

Regnerus is a solid sociologist whose area of interest is adolescent development and religion.  It’s nice to see a counter-point to current American thinking on the subject… but I think that’s what we have to take it as– counterpoint.

He is able to effectively make his point because he is essentially ignoring the benefits of marrying older.  And the point is well taken.  People are not statistics, but individuals.  What is right for me with respect to marriage is not right for another.  This point of view becomes problematic when it morphs into "people should marry younger" or "People should marry older".  An individual should marry when and only when they are ready.

Thanks for pointing out this article.  Regnerus also has a very interesting book called Forbidden Fruit, about teens sex and religion.

Post # 15
613 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

I did not like this column at all!! BOOO!!!  It had such a crappy tone…my stock goes down as I get older?  These are such antiquated views!!  I wonder how old this guy is…I belive all the stuff about finding ‘the one’, but I was not ready to get married at 22, or even 25.  There was so much I needed to experience as an individual before committing to someone else.  But everyone is differnt.

Also, I want to just note, for the record, that his research must clearly not account for african-american women, as mentioned in the article comments.


Post # 16
127 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2021

Very interesting! I have to say I generally did not like the columnist’s position, but he did make valid points regarding the fact that people are, in fact, mature enough to get married in their 20s. However I did not like his position that younger is right and older is wrong. I had always planned to marry no sooner than my late 20s, but then the right guy came along, and like the girl he talks about at the end of the column, we realized there was no point in keeping waiting.

Regnerus says marrying young and having nothing has made him and his wife into fiscal conservatives. But he also scoffs at the idea that a person should be independently able to support themself before getting into a relationship, which I certainly don’t think is a fiscally conservative way to look at it. I am marrying relatively young I guess, I’m 22 and he’s 25, but we are established and there is no way I would have gotten married before I was, nor would I agree to marry someone who was not established. And NOT because his ‘market value’ isn’t high enough: we certainly aren’t rich (yet :)), but because I want to know that a man CAN independently survive. He says the couple can learn together, but to me marrying someone who doesn’t have their stuff together is downright crazy. It’s akin to assuming that you can teach the other partner to be responsible (pretty much the same getting into the relationship with intent to change the other person — universally considered a bad idea!) It would just be very hard for me to respect my fiance or myself if we were not able to support ourselves. I think that is what being an adult is all about, and I think the important thing here is that if you’re NOT an adult, you should NOT get married. Whether that happens at 20 or 30 or any other time in life, depends on the individual.

Thanks for posting on this. I’m interested to read all the responses!

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