Thursday, January 21, 2010

Confessions of a Young Bride: Part 1

There is one area of our relationship that I've never talked much about -- Our ages. I am officially a "young bride". Both David and I will be 21 when we get married in June. We've been together for over 6 years now, and everyone who knows us and has watched our relationship develop has been nothing but supportive of our decision to tie the knot. Our families are both extremely excited for us, and totally "approve" of our choice - I think both of our moms have known for years that we'd be married eventually.

Honestly, the only people I get comments from are ones I've never met before or don't know well. And what's interesting is that these same people are excited when they hear that I'm engaged. They ask questions about the planning, about David, and about our future plans. But if they happen to find out how old I am, their reaction totally changes. For some reason they become critical and downright rude. I get questions like, "WHY would you get married so young?!" and "Do you realize what the divorce rate is??" (Why do people think that kind of behavior is ok?!) It always seems like the people who know nothing about the situation are the ones most likely to make comments about it.

Do the questions bother me? I'd be lying if I said no. They're hurtful and irritating. But at the same time, I realize that a lot of times people say those things because they're thinking back to themselves at my age - Their level of maturity, their outlook on life, and their level of responsibility. Getting married at 21 wasn't right for them, and that's ok. I realize that what's right for me isn't necessarily what's right for the next person, and I have no problem with that.

While I agree there are couples that are likely too immature to make their marriage successful, I don't think that has anything to do with age. Maturity is so much more important. With maturity comes the realization that marriage is more than being in love with someone and putting a ring on their finger. Marriage is hard work and not always fun, but always worthwhile. It's choosing to love your spouse every morning. It's choosing to encourage and support your spouse in his/her goals and passions, even if/when they differ from your own. It's choosing to compromise and realize your spouse's needs are just as important as yours. It's promising (and then choosing) to be there in the good, the bad, and the downright ugly times. And that understanding doesn't come with age.

One of my favorite quotes I've found about marriage is this one:

"The real act of marriage takes place in the heart, not in the ballroom or church or synagogue. It's a choice you make - not just on your wedding day, but over and over again -- and that choice is reflected in the way you treat your husband or wife. Marriage is not a noun; it's a verb. It isn't something you get. It's something you do. It's the way you love your partner every day." - Barbara De Angelis

The choice can be made when you're 21 or when you're 38. Does being older make your choice more authentic or credible? I don't think so. As long as you've made (and will continue to make) the choice in your heart, age is nothing but a number

Are you a young bride? Have you experienced this? 


  1. Hello fellow young bride :) Way to preach the TRUTH on your blog! I was engaged at 19 and married at 20! My now-husband was 21. I got the same exact comments and discouraging remarks from people I barely knew. The best thing I could do was respond with CONFIDENCE and the TRUTH. They could not argue with that! Praying for you and really I think it is a TESTIMONY to others that you are ready to get married at such a young age. WAY TO GO GIRL!

    Ps. I blog about Life as a Wife (we are newlyweds only married for 5 months!)

  2. I'm at a very popular age to get married and I personally know I was too much of a partier and extremely immature (also wasn't with Mr Right) to ever think about married... but I've never thought anything of others who make that decision. I've always thought from the little I know of you that you seem like you have a good head on your shoulders and are very matture. Great write up!

  3. I'm not so much of a young bride, we're in our mid 20's and we'll be married when we're almost 27 but we've been dating since high school a little over 8 years. Before getting engaged I received a lot of remarks and judgement about when and if my fiance would propose! It was very frustrating! You have to realize that people are going to judge and have their opinions but it's up to you to igore them and live your life! :) I think it's wonderful you've been together that long! :)

  4. I'm not a young bride but I've gotten comments because my fiance and I got engaged after 6 months of dating...we've now been together for a year and half and by the time we get married we'll have been together for close to 2 years. I've come to learn that people will judge you and your relationship regardless, you just need to try not to let it bother you. All that matters is that you and he are confident in your decision.

  5. I'm a young bride and I am thankful that like you my close friends and families are very supportive. Actually, I just read a great Times article about wedding trends and one of them said that educated people (like yourself) have a better chance of making marriage work so never ever listen to stats! Think about all the wonderful marriages that DO work!

    P.S. LOVE that quote!

  6. I'll be 24 when I get married (Josh will be almost 28). I'm not sure if that makes me a young bride, but I definitely get comments like the ones you wrote about. It's annoying and very insulting. I wrote a post about it a few months ago after a particularly irritating comment. Just know that you're not alone :) Only *you* know what's write for you.

  7. Oh my god...what's "write" for you. Clearly I meant what's "right" for you. Haha I suck.

  8. Amen sister! I also am a young bride, but this is the way I look at it. There comes a point in your relationship (especially when you are HS Sweethearts like you guys are and like we are) when you feel like so much more than just "boyfriend and girlfriend" and that title just doesn't do justice to the way you feel about each other! It only makes sense to move on to the next level, because that is how you FEEL.

  9. I'm so glad you wrote this. I think 24 (13 days before I turn 25 actually) is a great age to be married- wouldn't want it to be later- but that's normal/late for IN. Back "home" in NJ none of my friends are even close and they all are like whooooa you're in a TOTALLY different place in your life... like basically saying I'm too young. It's so subjective, who is ANYONE to tell anyone what's right or wrong?


  10. I remember when the two of you were in high school, even your teachers would comment on the mature relationship you shared - very similar to the way you are today. It's not a matter of age but of respect and devotion to each other. The strong faith in God you share has brought you through some unpleasantness from some people but your relationship has never wavered. I'm proud of you both and blessed to be your mom (and mom-in-law soon)!

  11. This is a great post! I'm also a young bride-we were engaged at 20, and when we get married, he'll be 22 and I'll be 2 months from 21. I think EVERYTHING in this post is true. It depends a lot on maturity, and I believe that we're more mature than some of our friends who are also in long term relationships.

    I'm just happy that our family & close friends know us enough to support our decision, even if we are "young"

  12. I'm an "old" bride then, compared to you. But don't worry, I don't criticize all young brides. My mom was 19 when she got married to my dad (whom she met, I dunno, probably just a year or two before that), so she was two years younger than you. Sure, there were some misunderstandings along the way, even some points wherein they almost separated, but thankfully, they did not. This year, they will be celebrating their 43rd wedding anniversary, they are still very much happily married and in love with each other.

    Every time you feel bad about some rude people being so critical about your decision, may my parents' story be an inspiration to you. Your relationship has even a better foundation to start with, than my parents'. As long as you both give your best to make the relationship last, you'll be okay.


  13. I think it is mostly important as to the personal life stage and personality of each person entering the marriage...not the age necessarily. As your mom said, you were a more mature significant other than people your own age. My concern is not necessarily about how old you are, but rather how long you've been together. Like SG mentioned above, she was only dating her fiance for 6 months when they got engaged. That doesn't mean they're doomed, but they at least took the time to have a longer engagement. At 37, I have been with my guy for 6 years would think most women my age would be rushing to finally get married and wouldn't have waited that long, but we wanted to be absolutely sure that we were in love and happy together and truly committed to work through the issues of relationships and marriage. Having been with your guy for 6 years, it sounds like you two definitely know one another well.

    I have seen couples who only dated for 3 to 6 months and have been married for 20+ years...but I've also got friends who married within a year or so of having dated their man and I have watched the struggles they endure and feel bad that things might not work out for them.

    Ultimately, each person needs to decide for themself and then deal with the choices they make...nothing wrong either way.


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