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If you married young (and are still married...)


Chris in VA
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What age were you when you met your spouse and started dating (I mean, you might have known them for a while, but if you met and started dating, what age?)--And do you wish you'd waited a bit? Did you have struggles as a young married that you think waiting would have helped with (would you have developed maturity if you'd waited)?

 

Nosy, I know.

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What do you consider married young? We met when I was 19, dated at 20 or 21? Married at 23. Is that young? I sometimes wish we'd waited on having kids and had spent more years saving money and travelling more. I probably should have spent years working but we got pregnant with our oldest when I was in my last semester of grad school and subsequently stayed at home after his birth. My son was born a week after I turned 25.

Edited by UCF612
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My DH and I met when I was 20 and he was 16. We married at 22 and 18. Neither of us has regrets and we've been married for 18 years. We didn't struggle much at all. DH joined the service and I had a college degree and worked full time. The only thing we waited to do, and I'm glad we did, is have kids. We vacationed in cool places, bought our first house, decided we wanted to stay together long term and had what it took to last...and THEN we had kids.

Edited by Sneezyone
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Met when I was 19, married at 22. Knowing what I know now, I wish we'd married sooner, had kids sooner. I guess that's not exactly what you're asking, but no one prepared me for the fact that we might actually like each other and get along really well, so for a long time I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop.

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Started dating when I was 16 and he was 18. Married after college at 22 and 23. Still happy together and have been married for 22 years.

 

I think we've been lucky and have worked to grow together over the years. I think it has been helpful that neither of us was set in our ways when we met. We don't fight about money in the same way I see friends who married after each had lived on their own for a time.

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Started dating at 16/17, married at 21.  First kid (not planned honestly) at 23.  

 

Have now been together for 30 years, married 26.  Main thing is we wished we had waited to start our family, but as I said, we had planned to wait.  Obviously, we would not change him for the world, but we do wish we could have had more time to grow up, have time more for 'us'.  

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We met at 17 and 18 (we turned 18 and 19 just a few months later) and we got married at 20 and 21 (he's younger).

 

If we'd waited longer, it's possible we'd not stayed together I guess.  Who knows?  We are very different in some ways and when you're young you don't have the benefit of seeing how well you complement one another because you're thinking, dreamy-eyed, of all the ways you are alike and SO perfect, kwim?  LOL

 

I do know that getting pregnant 3 months into our marriage set us on a difficult financial path because we BOTH left college--for different reasons--right before getting married and we've struggled financially ever since.  I wish dh had figured himself out and just GONE back, even though we had young babies and he really wanted to be involved and be with us.  We had periods where finances were OK and we could save a bit, then we'd have a child and THEN lose a job or have something drastic happen to set us back.  But how could we ever know those things would happen?  We'd still have chosen to have as many kids as we could handle.  LOL!!  We love kids...and each other, even though it's been hard.  23 years later.

Edited by 6packofun
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Met at 18 (he was 21). Engaged 6 months later, after mostly "dating" online. Married one year after our first date. I was 19.

 

We've been married 16 years. We waited 6 years to have kids (I was 25).

 

I maybe would wish we had kids sooner...or more than just two. And I wish we'd been smarter about money when we were DINKs.

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Adding to my earlier comment, I'm not sure that waiting until we were older before we were married would prevented any struggles. We struggled financially at first, but I think many (maybe most) young couples do. It wasn't a horrible struggle but we had no wiggle room. I guess I don't really think 23 is that young, it seems young by today's standards.

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Met at 18, married at 21, and we've been married for 15 years. Wouldn't have minded getting married sooner, but college and family disapproval made that too difficult. I've always been happy that we married young so we could "grow up" together!

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Dh and I first met as children. Then we didn't see each other again til i was 15. He was 20. He reconnected with my family and started hanging around quite a bit. We were friends because our age difference was so big, I never thought it would be anything different, but some time while I was 16 there was a shift in our relationship. We were definitely dating by the time I was 17. 

 

I was 17.5 and he had turned 23 two weeks before we married. I would do it all the same again. We have a great marriage. It was a definite blessing that we married so young with my fertility issues. Our marriage has weathered some big storms successfully. I couldn't have gotten through a lot of what we went through without him. We just celebrated 19 yrs, and I'm looking forward to another 50+.

 

 

 

ETA: It took us 5 yrs to get pregnant. I was 22 and he was 27 when dd was born (He turned 28 days after her birth). Dd was 8 when we took on ds.

Edited by jewellsmommy
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We met when I was twenty and got married six months later when I was a month short of being twenty-one. Lots of struggles, the financial were mostly due to his ex-wife and all the bills she ran up in his name. Other struggles were due to growing up at different rates, but those might have happened to anyone.

 

Mainly we married because we are both unusual people and knew that not many people "get" us, and it's easier for us to face the world together even though we don't always agree on lots of things.

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We met the day after I turned 19. He was 21. 11 months and 3 weeks later we got married and are about to celebrate our 14th anniversary in September. We had our first baby almost 2 years after we got married.

 

My DH and I agree that we're glad we got married young. He says that having a wife and children is what motivated him to start thinking about his life a little more seriously and figure out what he wanted to do and what his goals were. I'm glad I got married young and before I got too "set in my ways". I'm very independent and I think it would have been very difficult for me to blend my life with someone else's if I had lived independently for too long. Of course, we both could be completely wrong about all of this and marrying older may have been fine too. :-)

 

 

We've had a few struggles over the years but I don't think being young would have helped avoid them as they've been due to personality differences rather than maturity. We've managed to work through the things that have come up and are committed to working through any future issues as well.

 

Having children happened when it happened. We didn't try to control that too much. I am glad though for the almost 2 years that we had to just be a married couple before we added kids to the mix.

Edited by 2ndgenhomeschooler
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I don't know what you consider young. We met when we were 18, started dating when we were 20 and married at 22. We did however wait until we were 30 to have a child. I don't regret our timing at all. If we hadn't gotten married when we did, my grandmother wouldn't have been alive to see us married. I also don't know if we would have gotten married at all, because I doubt I would have moved to West Virginia with my husband when he went to medical school if we weren't married. As much as I didn't like West Virginia, I really love my husband, and I can't imagine not being married to him. So I'm really glad things worked out the way they did. I don't think we were too young at all. We were poor, but I think we would have been poor whether we were married or apart. I may have been able to do a bit better financially  if I had been able to move to where I could find a better job. But I was so bad with money, it's hard to say how much of a difference it would have made. There is no way we would have been able to afford having a baby any younger than we did. It was still a bit of a struggle financially, but if we'd had a child any sooner, the financial stress would have been huge. So, no regrets here. 

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We met when I was 21 and he was 25; we got married a few months later when I was 22. We'll be married 17 years this September. We had our daughter when I was 28 and he was 32, and she's 11 now. We've done fine over the years - some bumps in the road, but no regrets.

 

☎ Sent from my rotary phone ☎

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Met at 2 and 3. Started dating at 18 and 19. Married 4 or 5 months later. Celebrated 12 years earlier this year. I feel like some of the negatives that have happened in our marriage could have been prevented if we had waited to marry. Maybe? No clue really. I think a lot of the positives in our marriage are because we married young. The only thing I regret is not getting a college degree before having kids. Which didn't have anything to with being married, I could have if I had chosen to.

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We were 14 and 16 when we started dating and 21 and 23 when we got married. I don't regret that in the least. I do not wish we'd waited to get married or that we'd dated more people or anything like that. We both knew after our first date that it was something very special that was going somewhere serious. We will have been together a quarter century this fall.

 

Now, we both wish we could have found a way to get married sooner, mainly because, hey, that's more cups of teA we could have enjoyed. ;). But we were both in college until a few weeks before the wedding, living in dorms and only able to work part time jobs (shoot, that last semester I was taking a full load, working part time, planning a wedding long distance, and writing my senior thesis), so we had no way to support ourselves. (And our dorms were really nice, plus I had a cushy setup with a single room, plus free utilities, plus good food and good cleaning, so that would have been tough to pass up for maintaining an off campus apartment. Plus, we are, apparently, a fairly fertile pair, given my sig, so I suppose I'm glad having babies during college wasn't a possibility; I am glad I finished my degree.

 

There wasn't really a good reason to wait to get married after college. He went to more school, and I worked to support us. He couldn't have lived in dorms then anyway because that school didn't have any, so it made sense that I covered our apartment and expenses. I was a nanny, so if we'd had a baby, I could have brought her/him to work with me, and it would have been okay. And I didn't want to go to grad school, so I was going to get a job anyway -- might as well live together and have one apartment.

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Met him at 18 (he was 27) and married a year later. I don't wish we had waited longer, quite the contrary. It has worked out wonderfully and waiting longer would have been even more stressful, as we didn't want to cohabitate. I knew I wanted to marry him within three weeks of courting/dating seriously and we have been married a decade now.

 

I haven't changed much over our marriage and neither has he, mostly just matured and become less selfish. I wish I'd known how much energy and thoughtfulness a good marriage takes because we could have avoided some rockiness at the beginning if I'd been more prepared, but I think it's not something really avoidable in the process of living and growing with someone. In some ways I'd have had more time for my own goals if I'd married and not had kids or married later, but it was probably the best thing for my character.

 

Marrying an older man also probably helped smoothe things over a bit, if we were both young it would have been more rough financially. But I really have no regrets. My best advice is that both parties be absolutely committed to smart, conservative finances and not get into or stay in consumer debt. It dogs you for years and years and is awfully hard to get on top of once you have kids to provide for.

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I met my dh at 15.  He was 18.  We have been together since the day we met.  We got married 9 months after we met, when I was 16 and he was still 18.  (no, it was not a shotgun wedding, lol.)  

 

I don't regret dating him at 15, but I do think we got married a bit too young.  However, by doing so, I likely saved myself from going down a very, very bad road.  I did/do love him, but he was admittedly my ticket out of a bad situation.  I think people that have a more normal life should wait at least until they are 20 or older.  Finishing high school as a married woman wasn't easy.  I also kind of skated through my last year, taking the easy way out.  With my grades and ability, I could have gone on to a good college.  Instead I took the easy classes my senior year to graduate a semester early, and got a job because we were broke.  We started trying to have kids soon after I graduated, and looking back I wasn't ready.  Miscarriages put me at 20 before my first child was born, and I still think I wasn't quite ready for kids.  Especially with a husband that worked 80+ hours a week and was never home.  

We were separated and a court date away from divorce at about 15 years in.  Largely because we had changed SO much as we grew up.  And I was feeling the regret of not having done much with my education/career.  We ended up back together, and things are decent.  Not the best, and some stretches are harder than others.  But it has been 24 years now, and I guess we are in for the long haul..lol.

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met when we were 16, began dating at 17 and married at 22.  We are bestfriends.  I don't regret marrying when we did.  Would I tell my kids to do the same...I'd try to get them to wait till they are done with college.  We went through some big changes, a lot of maturing.  We are both pretty even-keeled, so we made it, but at times it was hard.

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Met DH at 15 I think, started dating when I was barely 18 and he was 24.  Married at 19 and 25.  Just celebrated 30 years, still ridiculously in love.  :001_wub:

 

The *only* thing I regret is going straight from my parents house to marriage.  I wish I would have had the experience of living on my own, being just responsible for me, making only my own choices.  

 

Our first 3-5 years were hard, but I think they are hard for lots of people.  I had very specific expectations of marriage, and had to learn to go with the flow and the man I actually married, not some imaginary man!  You could say that was immaturity, and I'm sure it was, but many people still have those expectations even when they are older.  

 

Emotional maturity doesn't come automatically with age.  I don't know that the problems we experienced would have happened any differently if we were just older.

 

ETA, I would like DD to finish college.  That would be ideal I think, but it is more important to me the man she chooses than if the timing may be a little off.

Edited by goldberry
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Not sure if I count as young but I met dh at 19, married at 20, had first child at 21, second at 23. I was not really ready for all our marriage would entail as a military wife but I don't think waiting would have really changed much of anything. I feel I'm more mature now, so on paper, sure, waiting would probably look like the better option. But my husband and I grew together and have experienced so much together. It's really nice going into my 30s now with someone who knows me so solidly. We had to spend a lot of time learning about each other, how we communicate with each other. There were bumps as Dh learned more about my personality and vice versa. Now those quirks are fodder for gentle teasing and jokes with each other. Over the years, he worked hard to learn more clearly who I am and cared enough to do so. Same with me with regard to him!

 

I think a true openness to learning and growing with each other is much more important than getting to a certain age before marrying. You need to be willing to work on your relationship. That's it IMO. 

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My dh and I were high school sweet hearts.  We met and starting dating at 16.  We didn't get married until we finished college, so I guess we waited.  I don't know if that's considered young.   We married a month after we finished school (my poor mom). 

 

We've been married for 24 years.  I don't wish we would have waited.  We've been through a lot and grown together. 

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We met at 18 and 21. Started dating a year later, decided to get married within the month. My dad talked us into waiting. We were married at 22 and 24. 

No regrets. If anything, I should have married younger. Marriage is good for me. But young marriage is heavily frowned upon in the culture I grew up in. Everyone tried to talk me out of getting married at 24, right up until the night before the wedding. And everyone made it clear I didn't have to stay married for YEARS afterward. It was honestly a little ridiculous.

No one had anything against D, besides his age, earning power and social standing. I wasn't unhappy. 

 

We have been together 17 years, married 15. It's been a bumpy ride, but we are solid. 

Edited by Desert Strawberry
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I was 18 almost 19 and had just started college when we met and started dating. DH was 19 almost 20 and a sophomore. We got engaged shortly before he graduated at 21 and 22. Got married 2 weeks after I graduated at a month shy of 22 and just turned 23. I think 3 1/2 years was a good length of time to date before marrying. I don't believe in living together outside of marriage so I definitely would not have wanted to wait longer to wed.

 

We've had our rough patches during our almost 18 year marriage but they have been due to outside stresses (9/11 and the Army making my DH stay in another year, the Great Recession, our youngest's special needs, etc.) rather than a relationship problem per se. They wouldn't have been any less stressful if we had gotten married at the "proper" age of ~30 give or take a couple years.

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Met when I was barely 18, he was 21; we were NOT together at that time, he was still married to his first spouse. We were friends for about 4 years; 

 

After he and his wife separated, we started a long-distance relationship (I was stationed in Virginia, he was in Arizona); we never really dated at all before we got married.

 

We then didn't actually live together the first two years of our marriage, as I was stationed overseas.

 

DH and GF met before he joined the Navy and before he met his first spouse; I think he was around 18, she was 16. They parted ways because GF's stepdad at the time didn't like DH; each married someone else. Fast forward to 8 years ago, DH was divorced, GF was long-term separated, and they got back together (with my blessing of course). 

 

I have a sister whose second husband was also her high school sweetheart; they had a relationship in high school, parted ways, and then got back together years later after sis had divorced her first husband.

 

I have another sister who is 36 and who has only been married for about 4 years, but she and her husband were together for about ten years before they got married, so that relationship started quite young also and is still going strong.

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We met when I was 20 and dh was 23. I moved in with him when I was 21 and graduated from college. We got married when I was 22. We did wait 8 years to have kids, so we built up a nice nest egg and had a lot of adventures while we were DINKs. It turned out well for us and we've been married 25 years.

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Met & started dating 16/17.  Married @ 20/21.  First child 24/25.  Between meeting & first child we spent a year apart when he left for college, I joined him at the same college a year later, we got married & graduated together before we had our first child.  We have been married for 26 years and still love each other enough to embarrass our four children.  My only regret was that we didn't get married the minute I turned 18.  Everyone I knew was aghast that I was marrying my high school sweetheart, the only person I ever seriously dated.  We did that last bit of growing up together.  We have always given each other room to grow & change and both of us love the person the other has become as much as we loved the person that he/ she was.  

 

As for kid regrets?  I was pregnant 8 times & have 4 wonderful children.  I wish we could have had more, but it was not meant to be.

 

Amber in SJ 

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Met at 19/20, started dating at 21/22, and got married at 22/23. We were both ready for marriage, and it would have complicated everything for us to have waited (we were moving far from home for grad school). Knowing him as a friend and seeing him in a variety of situations before we ever dated, gave me time to see his character. First child was born at 26/27. We've now been married 34 years. We don't have any regrets about marrying at that age. An advantage of marrying young(ish) is that, as a pp mentioned, you are not so set in your ways, and you kind of grow up together. Not for everyone, but it worked well for us. He's still my best friend.

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My scenario is different, but it might be applicable or interesting, depending on why you are asking, so I'll share.

 

We met at 16 and 17, and started dating. We talked about getting married, there was a ring, all the usual stuff, but I was not ready and I don't think he was either. We were mostly long distance, except for the first year. We opted to wait, and take time apart. We agreed on a date in ten years, to go ice skating in NYC, no matter what. Every few years or so we'd spend a good amount of time together. We had other relationships, even serious ones. But he was always my gold standard, and no one measured up. About a year before our date, we were involved again, long distance, and when our date rolled around... We got married. It's been 17 years now.

 

I'm going to be brutally honest: I'm mostly glad we waited. It was painful, and hard, but I'm glad for what I learned while we were apart. One thing I learned, for sure: no one compares.

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We met when we were 20 and married on my 23rd birthday.  We have been married for 20 years.  I have no regrets other than wishing we could have married sooner.  It hasn't always been easy, but I don't think being older would have helped.  One of the biggest strains on our marriage was having trouble with getting pregnant.

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Met at 18/24, married at 20/26, kids at 22/28. No regrets. I was immature, but time wouldn't have helped; the maturity I needed came from being married and living/experiencing adult life with my DH, so even if we'd waited longer it wouldn't have made a difference.

Edited by SproutMamaK
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we married nine months after wet met.  we'd known each other several months before we started dating.  we would run into each other places, and "just talk".  becasue we weren't dating, there were no pressures, and we loved to talk. I had a lot of opposition from my friends and most of my family.  most were focusing on the age difference between us. (he was done with college - and has three degrees)  having a NPD grandmother I'd already learned the art of mostly ignoring other people's opinons on my life, and taking them with a grain of salt.  my mother eventually conceded marrying him was one of the wisest things I ever did.

 

dh had previously dated extensively.  (he jokingly refers to it as market research.)  I've met a few of his old gfs (one is a lit professor), and we hit it off.  (he introduced another to her dh.  he knew they were prefect for each other.). I liked them immensely.  he actually had a long time gf (off and on) visiting shortly before we started dating who realized it was over between them because of the way I looked at him (he still hadn't figured it out).  becasue I've met some - and liked them, it made his "you're better than whomever was in second place"/ 'you were a run, don't walk"  very credible.

 

the only differences is I would have more confidence in myself (I had a LOT of baggage from previous experiences e.g. NPD grandmother).  we really are perfect for each other and have been married 34 years.   I really wasn't up to dealing with my mil -who would steamroll her  way through things - whom I didn't meet until I was seven months pg.  she's 93, and we now have a good relationship.  she was most definitely a major handful in her younger days

 

eta: 1sil was wondering what dh was thinking marrying someone so much younger - then she met me and said "oh, ok.  you can marry her."  we have a good relationship

Edited by gardenmom5
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Met at 17, married at 24, first child at 26. We have been married almost 22 years. No regrets really. We could have waited to have kids, but then we wouldn't have had ds3, who is awesome. We would have had more money, but...I wouldn't trade it for the last three kids.

 

Marriage is hard. I am not sure that waiting longer would have made things easier. In fact, I suspect, it would have made things harder.

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Married at 21/22. We moved in together out of college. Got married a little less than a year later.

 

It should have been a mistake. I got together with him on the rebound. He was way different from other people I'd dated. He was suffering from depression. He was an alcoholic and knew it and had tried to quit. He started drinking again and we nearly broke up but he stopped. Then, two days before the wedding, he got caught drinking again. A month after the wedding, he drove drunk and ended up briefly committed. It was really, really scary for me to be there through that. 

 

BUT... in a way, knowing we could get through *that* has been what made our marriage. I mean, if we could get through the insanity that was that (and just typing it out, I feel a little awed) then we really felt like we could get through anything. We lived a year on different continents and that was fine. Having twins was also fine. Financial problems haven't broken us. All the typical marriage stuff... I mean, I feel like we're beyond solid. Oh, and he hasn't touched a drink since then. So while I don't exactly recommend getting married young, I do feel like it worked out fine for us.

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Met at 18, married at 21 ( right after college graduation).

 

We did finish college first which is huge.  We met the summer after our freshman years at college, dated 5 weeks, and then went back to different colleges.  We were long distance until marriage, never spending more than two weeks in the same town.  So, met and dated for 5 weeks, three years long distance, and then marriage.  We just had our 20 th anniversary.  

 

We are happy but it was, is, and always will be hard and take work.  We really are not that compatible.  We work very hard at our marriage and there have been some rough stretches.  I think we will always be together and we have build a good life.  There is something about that marrying young, us against the world, growing up together thing that has really bonded us together.  But it was and is hard and we might not be a perfect match.  

 

I will support my kids if they make the same choice but I will be honest and hope they are older or have spent more time together than we did.  We also had no family support (financial or emotional).  If one of my kids takes the same path I think they will be better off with us being more supportive and available than our parents were.  

 

It can work and is pretty cool when it does.  

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