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Chris in VA
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I am not one who values college as a "maturing experience" by any means so I can't relate on that level, but I agree with Katie above.  I wouldn't let them make any rash decisions while she is still in high school, but if they are still together and solid as a couple after him being in the military for two years and want to get married it would be a) surprising and b) probably a pretty mature relationship already.  Arguing about it now is just borrowing trouble.

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Technically surprises can happen in sexually active couples but it's not been my experience among my family and friends that they do, except where pills are skipped and antibiotics taken without reading the package insert ;)

Hello! Now you know someone who had an unplanned pregnancy while taking the pill perfectly (no antibiotics, no variance in time taken, no missed pills). That "never happens" pregnancy is now a 13 year old boy.

 

From a logistics and financial standpoint, marrying young when both young partners want but don't have a degree is different than a younger partner who wants kids more than a degree/is willing to drop out of college marries an older partner who is out of college, has a career and is able to support a family on one income.

Edited by LucyStoner
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I find no problems with this at all. As a milspouse, I would hope that the either or both of them would take early and frequent advantage of the education benefits available before having children but that's just me. As it is, they will have at least one steady paycheck and a roof over their heads. That's more than many start off with. My DH completed his BA pre-kids, while on AD (Navy) and with deployments. It can be done. I had mine when we married and my income exceeded his for the first eight years of marriage. We were 18 and 22.

 

 

It might have been said before this post, but it would be great if the DH could start working on his BA before his 4 yrs are up. Any credits earned would help, but it'd be great if he could earn his entire degree, even better and more affordable w/ the ed benefits mentioned above. 

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I married my husband at 31. The difference between who I was my teens and early 20's to who I had grown into in my early 30's was a world of difference. We've been together for twelve years.

I needed a lot of time to grow up - I wanted to be able to support myself, to travel, and to live according to my wants and not have to take anyone else into consideration. I understand that my way is not for everyone.

As a parent, I'd push more for living together or waiting - both are easier and more financially practical to recover from than a divorce is. 

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Hello! Now you know someone who had an unplanned pregnancy while taking the pill perfectly (no antibiotics, no variance in time taken, no missed pills). That "never happens" pregnancy is now a 13 year old boy.

 

From a logistics and financial standpoint, marrying young when both young partners want but don't have a degree is different than a younger partner who wants kids more than a degree/is willing to drop out of college marries an older partner who is out of college, has a career and is able to support a family on one income.

 

I know someone who conceived on the Nuva ring (no pills to take, really hard to mess up), pills, condom AND pill, NFP, and my personal favorite, the IUD. In fact, I know two people that conceived on the IUD, one of which had twins!!!!

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I think there is a huge difference between a 16 y.o. claiming to want to marry her new boyfriend in 2 years than an 18 y.o. wanting to marry her boyfriend of 2 years. I would frankly just ignore the former ("we can discuss this when you're no longer a minor") but have a serious discussion in the latter situation.

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Hello! Now you know someone who had an unplanned pregnancy while taking the pill perfectly (no antibiotics, no variance in time taken, no missed pills). That "never happens" pregnancy is now a 13 year old boy.

 

From a logistics and financial standpoint, marrying young when both young partners want but don't have a degree is different than a younger partner who wants kids more than a degree/is willing to drop out of college marries an older partner who is out of college, has a career and is able to support a family on one income.

In this sense though the military is about the best possible financial set up. Stable, with almost all living expenses covered and salaries that are generally sufficient for all the other additional concerns, and provisions for education during and after service. If he wasn't already in the air force I'd be more concerned about possible babies.

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If they are smart with their money, marriage should help them save.  Military housing allowance, independent for FAFSA, etc.  

 

 

 

I would say that depends on the personalities involved. I married late and had significant savings because I'm frugal by nature. Once married, that ability to save decreased for many reasons. So if both parties are cost-conscious and take full advantage of benefits available to them, then I can see it helping in that specific instance.

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Military families have a lower rate of divorce while in the service if it is the husband who is serving but a higher one once discharged. I'm not sure I would count on the military to make a very young marriage more stable. Nor is the pay for newly enlisted military members all that good. I know more than a few military families who would dispute the idea that young military families are on some version of easy street financially. Base housing is also not always a given. One Navy wife I know must commute several hours a day to work in her field at all and she continues to work because it's not financially viable for her to stop and still support a family of 4. If widowed grandma didn't live with them (common in the wife's culture), their kids would be in daycare and school/before and after care for 12 hours a day. There's not much housing in their area that is covered fully by their housing allowance. There are some great benefits of being in the military. There are also some real hardships. Good benefits are also not a reason to get married, nor do they indemnify marriages from the very real risk of divorce.

 

I'm not saying that it's possible to get a young couple to wait. I am also not saying their hypothetical marriage is doomed. But I'm not going to paint a rosy picture when teens are in a super hurry to grow up.

Edited by LucyStoner
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Hello! Now you know someone who had an unplanned pregnancy while taking the pill perfectly (no antibiotics, no variance in time taken, no missed pills). That "never happens" pregnancy is now a 13 year old boy.

 

From a logistics and financial standpoint, marrying young when both young partners want but don't have a degree is different than a younger partner who wants kids more than a degree/is willing to drop out of college marries an older partner who is out of college, has a career and is able to support a family on one income.

Agreed. My not on antibiotics, taking the pill same time of day every day, been on it for nearly a year baby was my first pregnancy. That baby did not make it however. But yup, about the only thing that is full proof is abstinence which is just not fun at all.  :D

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Thanks so much, everyone.

No one is arguing. No fears of alienating dd or possibly future son in law!

Just thinking about it all, knowing they feel quite sure they've both found "the one." He is in for 6 years, not just four, by the way.

I really, really do like him. 😊

 

More than most things, the love in good family relationships will do a lot to stabilize the situation, whatever they do.  So good for you!

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Agreed. My not on antibiotics, taking the pill same time of day every day, been on it for nearly a year baby was my first pregnancy. That baby did not make it however. But yup, about the only thing that is full proof is abstinence which is just not fun at all. :D

Oh I don't disagree it happens, but it's not something that has really happened among my family and friends. Assuming it's a given and that it will derail any career plans isn't necessarily accurate, but it's also something that *can* occur. If the possibility of a surprise baby is a real problem for them then sex and marriage should be avoided. But if it just wouldn't be the ideal time and everything else works? I'd not stress about it overly much.

 

I'm also someone who is glad I had a baby at 20, though, and it ended up being a great choice for me compared to continuing college if we are talking purely from personal satisfaction and growth. Finishing the degree then would have been easier but I've discovered I hate college with a passion even as I'm a lifelong learner. Her goals may look very different than mine, so it's super individual.

 

If I was giving advice I'd have her start weighing these things out and the consequences of each choice. For me, waiting twenty years to continue my career? No big deal. But I have a friend who would have found that soul crushing. It's SO inidividual.

 

I'm still kind of impressed I haven't managed an oops baby with just condom use and the most basic NFP though :lol:

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He probably got a sizeable bonus for joining for 6 years instead of 4.  I know it pays out over time, but if they are truly going to get married in a couple years they could have a nice little nest egg and set up if he's responsible and good with money.

 

The pay is not good, but they also get housing allowance, health insurance, etc.  If you have no kids, and don't over extend on other obligations (like buying a brand new car which everyone in the military seems to do for some reason) it really is a great set up.  Especially if she can use his tuition assistance (is this still allowed?) or GI Bill.

 

But, again, if the relationship survives his first two years in, I'd be surprised.  I was surprised when my own relationship lasted through so much long distance.  It was great for me/us, but looking back I am shocked that we made it work because we had so much working against us.

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16 is awfully young to be thinking about a lifetime commitment.  Not that it doesn't *sometimes* work (my aunt and uncle, high school sweethearts, married over 60 years... but then, they waited until they both finished college before actually getting married... and I met my husband the first day of college when I was still 17, but we waited until after we'd both finished graduate degrees), but those frontal lobes still have a lot of maturation to go.

 

The strong family norm in our extended family culture is "wait until you finish college." Partly because frontal lobes, partly because college is so highly valued (and while it's *possible* to finish once married, it's harder... and I would say, immensely harder once children come along.)

 

In terms of pros and cons... it's kind of sweet to "grow up" together, vs. a real risk that people as they grow up, grow apart.  Earlier most of us have more oomph; later most of us have more financial security and hopefully a bit more wisdom.  Specifically to the military, from your daughter's perspective there would I suppose have MORE financial stabity; vs LESS control over where she lives and her ability to manage the timing of her college studies.

 

I'm glad you like him...  :laugh:

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We got married when I was 20 and he was 26. I had no plans for a career. He was already established in his career (software programmer at Motorola) and owned a modest home and no other debts.  We're still married 23 years later. 

 

I think the most important thing is basic compatibility in lifestyle, finances, religion/philosophy and childrearing.  I don't recommend anyone marrying who isn't compatible in those things no matter their age, education level and income. When people do marry in spite of incompatibility we call them "irreconcilable differences" in divorce court.

Do both of them know where they stand on those things?  Have they discussed them at length in detail on their own without someone holding their hands?  Many younger people don't know where they stand and because of it shouldn't get married until they do. Some of us had a clear idea about those things at 18-24. We may not be the norm, but we are out there. Some don't even know those things when they're older. 

 

I'm still very closely aligned to those things 23 years and  3 children later (2 are adults.)  My husband had a mid-life crisis/clinical depression/personality change and a couple of those things changed for him when he was 38, so the conflict we had/have to work through could not have been avoided by choosing to wait until we were 25+ or 30+.  Life happens, but we're committed to the marriage and our family and making it function as opposed to falling into destructive dysfunction. Don't start a marriage with incompatibility, that's a recipe for disaster.  If incompatibility you couldn't have known about shows up after you're married both should do everything you possibly can to work it out.

Do they know all the possible scenarios (including an unplanned baby) for their living and schooling arrangements?  Have they realistically gone over the pros and cons of each?  Do they still want to do it even if it ends up being the worst case scenario? As long as they're thinking realistically like adults and not magically like teens then I don't think there are any legitimate grounds on which to object. They know what they're getting into and are willing to deal with it.

Our adult children are not extensions of ourselves.  They are their own individual people who have to live their own lives. We may have ideas about college, careers and marriage but they're not obligated to make those ideas of ours their own.  You can only ask them if they've considered such things and give them your point of view.  Then it's time to back off because that's what adults do when looking at other adult relationships. 

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We got married when I was 20 and he was 26. I had no plans for a career. He was already established in his career (software programmer at Motorola) and owned a modest home and no other debts. We're still married 23 years later.

 

I think the most important thing is basic compatibility in lifestyle, finances, religion/philosophy and childrearing. I don't recommend anyone marrying who isn't compatible in those things no matter their age, education level and income. When people do marry in spite of incompatibility we call them "irreconcilable differences" in divorce court.

 

Do both of them know where they stand on those things? Have they discussed them at length in detail on their own without someone holding their hands? Many younger people don't know where they stand and because of it shouldn't get married until they do. Some of us had a clear idea about those things at 18-24. We may not be the norm, but we are out there. Some don't even know those things when they're older.

 

I'm still very closely aligned to those things 23 years and 3 children later (2 are adults.) My husband had a mid-life crisis/clinical depression/personality change and a couple of those things changed for him when he was 38, so the conflict we had/have to work through could not have been avoided by choosing to wait until we were 25+ or 30+. Life happens, but we're committed to the marriage and our family and making it function as opposed to falling into destructive dysfunction. Don't start a marriage with incompatibility, that's a recipe for disaster. If incompatibility you couldn't have known about shows up after you're married both should do everything you possibly can to work it out.

 

Do they know all the possible scenarios (including an unplanned baby) for their living and schooling arrangements? Have they realistically gone over the pros and cons of each? Do they still want to do it even if it ends up being the worst case scenario? As long as they're thinking realistically like adults and not magically like teens then I don't think there are any legitimate grounds on which to object. They know what they're getting into and are willing to deal with it.

 

Our adult children are not extensions of ourselves. They are their own individual people who have to live their own lives. We may have ideas about college, careers and marriage but they're not obligated to make those ideas of ours their own. You can only ask them if they've considered such things and give them your point of view. Then it's time to back off because that's what adults do when looking at other adult relationships.

Great post - I agree on every point.

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I know someone who conceived on the Nuva ring (no pills to take, really hard to mess up), pills, condom AND pill, NFP, and my personal favorite, the IUD. In fact, I know two people that conceived on the IUD, one of which had twins!!!!

I know more people who have kids by birth control failure than who have had kids bc they were trying and not using anything!

 

3 IUD pregnancies in the last year just for starters.

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For the record, I was 24, my dh 28 when we got married.  I was technically not a "young" bride, but looking back on it, I was incredibly naive about what it means to really be *married*--and I'm not just talking bedroom stuff.  We had premarital counseling and everything.  I guess my point is that there is not necessarily a specific age where someone suddenly understands what it all means to be married to someone.  

 

I actually have a preference for people getting married fairly young, even if there are financial hardships and so on, or after they are pretty established as an individual.  Most of the people in my world who ended up divorced were the ones who got married within a couple years of college graduation.  That period of 22-24 sort of had the deer-in-the-headlights feel about it for some people:  "Everyone is getting marrrrried and I'm still sinnnnngle" sort of thing.  They found someone quick and got married.  And then, oops.  There was a certain element of that deer in me; we are still married after 35 years, so I'm not saying it can't work out (at least it has for us...SO FAR!  LOL).  But among my broader circle of friends who divorced, this was definitely a trait.

 

As many of you know, I am an Orthodox Christian (for almost 10 years now).  That matters in this thread only to make sense of the following observation.  

 

Most Orthodox Monasteries (male or female) will not accept a new monastic before the age of 16 or after the age of 30 until the age of 60.  (In the US, the youngest age is 18...)  Over the centuries, they have found that after 30, people are too well formed to make good monastics.  That is, until about the age of 60.  Then, people become flexible enough again.  

 

I was reading something in some brain science article the other day that talks about how this is borne out in brain science...we sort of develop until 30 and then we stop for a long time and sort of "freeze"--and then we "unfreeze" again and start learning again at about age 60.  I thought that was interesting in light of the monastic practice which has been in place for about 2000 years. 

 

One other thing I have noticed is that many residential addiction rehab centers (especially those focused on behavioral addictions) do not accept patients over the age of 30.  I looked further into this (as I find it interesting!) and was told that the success rate for behavioral addiction doesn't hold up after age 30, and so rather than take all the money and fail, they just have a cutoff date.  Wow.  I didn't ask about the over-60 crowd.  

 

WELL, all that to say, I wonder a bit about those ages as something related to marriage.  

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I think couples who are committed to each other and maintain that commitment over the years tend to stay married.

Those who don't, don't.

I don't know that I am willing to buy age of marriage is as big a factor as claimed. I think lack of support for young people is probably a bigger factor than their ages. If you have family encouraging and expecting failure, well, that's for sure not a help.

 

Dh and I got engaged at 16, married at 19. Life hasn't been easy, but I'm not seeing that it has been particuliarly all roses for those who waited until much older than us either. And their marriages don't seem any better either.

 

Their age would be of less concern to me than many other possible considerations.

Edited by Murphy101
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He probably got a sizeable bonus for joining for 6 years instead of 4. I know it pays out over time, but if they are truly going to get married in a couple years they could have a nice little nest egg and set up if he's responsible and good with

 

money.

 

The pay is not good, but they also get housing allowance, health insurance, etc. If you have no kids, and don't over extend on other obligations (like buying a brand new car which everyone in the military seems to do for some reason) it really is a great set up. Especially if she can use his tuition assistance (is this still allowed?) or GI Bill.

 

But, again, if the relationship survives his first two years in, I'd be surprised. I was surprised when my own relationship lasted through so much long distance. It was great for me/us, but looking back I am shocked that we made it work because we had so much working against us.

No bonus. That's for reenlisting, IF your job is on a certain list.And you can give your GI benefit to your spouse, but you have to be in for three years and then be...ah, can't remember the word, but basically he would have to reenlist. And it isn't that much til you put time in,. He gets $4500 a year towards his own education, though, which is rather nice.

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My wife and I met and were married when we were 20 and 21. I was homeschooled, she was public schooled.

 

Our love was pure and we had the support of both sets of parents. We also took some pre-marriage classes through our church. I have no regrets. I realize we were young and still immature in some areas but Kristie and I were always close with our family and were open to good advice.

 

When a young couple can recognize that real love is not the ooey-gooey, butterfly feelings they experience on their first date, there is hope. Sometimes there is no substitute for real life trials and hardships. All marriages have their tough times but as long as they are 100% committed to each other and God, they will make it.

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16 is almost always too young to be making these decisions in our place and time.

I'm mildly amused by this perspective.

 

What, are 16 year olds getting dumber in y/our place as time has advanced?

 

And if they are, why aren't we more concerned about THAT, regardless of marriage?

 

Just my wandering pondering....

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I'm mildly amused by this perspective.

 

What, are 16 year olds getting dumber in y/our place as time has advanced?

 

And if they are, why aren't we more concerned about THAT, regardless of marriage?

 

Just my wandering pondering....

 

 

Whether they are dumber or not, messing up is a lot more expensive than it used to be.

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I'm mildly amused by this perspective.

 

What, are 16 year olds getting dumber in y/our place as time has advanced?

 

And if they are, why aren't we more concerned about THAT, regardless of marriage?

 

Just my wandering pondering....

 

I think it is more that a 16 yr old has very little adult experience now. The lifestyle of a 16 year old today, in high school, etc, is so different from married adult life that it is hard for them to make decisions about adult life from their current perspective. As opposed to say, a hundred years ago or more, when they may have been helping run a household and privy to adult financial discussions, etc for years and therefore have a better understand of what they are talking about when they start talking about setting up household. 

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Whether they are dumber or not, messing up is a lot more expensive than it used to be.

I disagree. It's never been cheap, but the entire concept of divorce and financial mess up and raising a child alone was a LOT more expensive in the past. Given that it literally often meant likely starvation, debtors prison, indentured servitude (for most intent just another form of slavery) and more for most. Only the very wealthy could incur such things without life altering devastation and even for them it was rather harrowing at times.

 

Now the worst that would happen with a failed marriage is bankruptcy and foodstamps and counseling. Which granted isn't ideal or cheap, but it's for sure not as heavy a price as in the past.

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I think it is more that a 16 yr old has very little adult experience now. The lifestyle of a 16 year old today, in high school, etc, is so different from married adult life that it is hard for them to make decisions about adult life from their current perspective. As opposed to say, a hundred years ago or more, when they may have been helping run a household and privy to adult financial discussions, etc for years and therefore have a better understand of what they are talking about when they start talking about setting up household.

Then seriously why are we not more concerned about THAT, regardless of marriage?

 

16 is two years away from legal adult. They should have a basic concept of bills, managing finances, managing household needs.... Of course they aren't going to be as efficient or knowledgable at it as someone in their 40s, but they shouldn't be totally clueless either.

 

Of course, this isn't even discussing that if we read the Internet and watch the news, apparently there are a lot of very grown up adult people who can't make these decisions either, so I am wary of claims this is a teen problem and not a general human problem.

 

Granted I freely admit my teens and young adults do not know many things about adult life, but they attend college, have jobs, help around the house and at church, we discuss money and adult topics, they ask for advice, we give some guidance. But heck, I'm 42 and still ask for advice and such. This message board is full of adults asking advice on common adulty life things. From how to keep the house clean, to finance, to marriage, to babies... Are none of us whatever enough to be married because of it? I hope not...?

 

Anyways. I'm not saying everyone should marry at 16 or 19. I'm just saying I think the current arguments against it are rather weak logically to me.

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I got engaged to my boyfriend of 4 months when I was 16 and in HS. My family was moving away and he didn't want to break up. My parents were as supportive as they could be, helping me plan my wedding during the fall semester of my Sr year. I was able to graduate early from HS, moved back and started college full time at 17, in Jan of would have been my Sr year. At that time I had a job and lived with a family friend for a few months then my mom got me an apartment and I lived there until I turned 18. My parents told me they wouldn't let me marry before 18, so I picked the Sat after my birthday! DH grew up LDS and us living together was not an option. Neither could either of us afford to live separately. I know you said it wasn't about sex, but I'm sure that plays a part too. I know it did for us because of the guilt. I busted my butt in college and DH not so much and he ended up dropping out (intending to go back after I got my degree) but he ended up in a really good company working IT where he has now been for 15 years. We bought a condo at 20 and I was graduated with a BS and went back and earned a teaching credential and teaching by 21. At 25 we decided to sell our condo and purchase a home and our oldest arrived. My youngest came a few years later at 28 when I stopped teaching to SAH full time. This summer we celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary. It has been so tough being married, but I think any marriage is a lot of work no matter the age.

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No bonus. That's for reenlisting, IF your job is on a certain list.And you can give your GI benefit to your spouse, but you have to be in for three years and then be...ah, can't remember the word, but basically he would have to reenlist. And it isn't that much til you put time in,. He gets $4500 a year towards his own education, though, which is rather nice.

I got a sizeable bonus for opting for six years instead of four. Half paid after boot camp, half paid after completion of training and six months at my duty station. That was the way they got people to give up two extra years of their life, lol. Of course that was, uh, some years ago.

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Now I'm also speaking as someone who has NEVER managed to have a surprise pregnancy, even with no hormonal birth control. Technically surprises can happen in sexually active couples but it's not been my experience among my family and friends that they do, except where pills are skipped and antibiotics taken without reading the package insert ;)

 

Americans are bad at math.  The "woman years" statistic about the effectiveness of bc pills shouldn't reassure anyone that taking the pill meticulously will avoid pregnancy.  It should make them sweat and bite their nails at how high a failure rate that actually is.  My daughters haven't been led down such a road.  I'm the cold hard reality mom.  Here's what they're getting from me and what I think should be included in every bc discussion ever:

 

If you're not using 2 different forms of scientifically validated bc every. single. time. you have sex, then you're trying to get pregnant no matter what you tell yourself and others. 

 

The failure rates on all forms of bc are high enough that people should be using 2. Surgical sterilization may have a higher effectiveness rate, but when my husband had a vasectomy after my life threatening pregnancy and delivery I had to sign papers releasing the doctor of any liability should we conceive again because nothing is 100%.  I personally know more than 6 people who were years after the vasectomy babies and a few who were years after the tubal ligation babies. I know someone who attended the birth of a baby born holding the IUD and another years after the IUD baby of a friend. Double up, people.

 

 

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I'm mildly amused by this perspective.

 

What, are 16 year olds getting dumber in y/our place as time has advanced?

 

And if they are, why aren't we more concerned about THAT, regardless of marriage?

 

Just my wandering pondering....

Regardless of if you like it or not or if it gives you the giggles, socially we have extended adolescence in the 20th and 21st century. We also have extended the time until many young adults can afford marriage. Having a family with nothing but a high school diploma (be it a college degree or technical training course or military service) is not widely considered a mature or savvy choice and doing so is not just correlated to a far higher divorce rate but also lower educational attainment and longer term poverty.

 

These are simple facts and the nearly 60% divorce rate for teens vs. under 30% for those over 24 at time of first marriage should illuminate that 16 is pretty darn young to be making such a big, lifetime decision. Young married couples like those that are seemingly so common on this board and like my own young marriage have defied the odds if they remain married for more than a decade.

 

Honestly, if you look back at literature, letters and diaries from the 19th century and very early 20th century you will see that outside of the poorest classes, a great many parents wanted their daughters to be 18 or 21 before they were married. It was also quite common for men to be well into their 20s before they were considered ready to marry unless they were quite poor. Most social classes in the USA took it for granted that a man would have a house or perhaps a farm in his own name before marrying.

Edited by LucyStoner
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Regardless of if you like it or not or if it gives you the giggles, socially we have extended adolescence in the 20th and 21st century. We also have extended the time until many young adults can afford marriage. Having a family with nothing but a high school diploma (be it a college degree or technical training course or military service) is not widely considered a mature or savvy choice and doing so is not just correlated to a far higher divorce rate but also lower educational attainment and longer term poverty.

 

These are simple facts and the nearly 60% divorce rate for teens vs. under 30% for those over 24 at time of first marriage should illuminate that 16 is pretty darn young to be making such a big, lifetime decision. Young married couples like those that are seemingly so common on this board and like my own young marriage have defied the odds if they remain married for more than a decade.

 

Honestly, if you look back at literature, letters and diaries from the 19th century and very early 20th century you will see that outside of the poorest classes, a great many parents wanted their daughters to be 18 or 21 before they were married. It was also quite common for men to be well into their 20s before they were considered ready to marry unless they were quite poor. Most social classes in the USA took it for granted that a man would have a house or perhaps a farm in his own name before marrying.

I'm not arguing any of that.

 

I'm arguing that it has nothing to do with general competency or maturity of the 16 or 19 year old today to live a basic adult life being drasticly different than in generations past. (Which was the initial argument put forth.)

 

And I'm not saying everyone should get married at 16 or even 19 either. Mostly I think people tend to get married within a few years of when they meet someone they want to marry and unless they are fortune tellers, that's rather difficult to plan out. So debating the proper age seems rather silly to me unless we want to have arranged marriages at certain ages. (I don't.)

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I don't think there's any one right time to get married either. I do think there are advantages to waiting until one's brain is more fully developed than it is at 16. There are also social and economic advantages to waiting until after college or post secondary education.

 

I think it's pretty normal for parents to share their values and norms with their children, regardless of if they expect that the kids will follow them or not.

 

I am the first woman on my mother's side of the family to not be a mom before 20. This causes me to consider things like poverty rates very closely as that side of the family was and is very poor. One of the best ways for people from poor families to break the cycle is to delay marriage and parenting. My younger brother and I did at least a little and we literally have the only 4 children on that side of the family to be raised comfortably from birth, never wanting for food, housing, medical/dental care or shoes.

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Most Orthodox Monasteries (male or female) will not accept a new monastic before the age of 16 or after the age of 30 until the age of 60.  (In the US, the youngest age is 18...)  Over the centuries, they have found that after 30, people are too well formed to make good monastics.  That is, until about the age of 60.  Then, people become flexible enough again.  

 

I was reading something in some brain science article the other day that talks about how this is borne out in brain science...we sort of develop until 30 and then we stop for a long time and sort of "freeze"--and then we "unfreeze" again and start learning again at about age 60.  I thought that was interesting in light of the monastic practice which has been in place for about 2000 years. 

 

One other thing I have noticed is that many residential addiction rehab centers (especially those focused on behavioral addictions) do not accept patients over the age of 30.  I looked further into this (as I find it interesting!) and was told that the success rate for behavioral addiction doesn't hold up after age 30, and so rather than take all the money and fail, they just have a cutoff date.  Wow.  I didn't ask about the over-60 crowd.  

 

WELL, all that to say, I wonder a bit about those ages as something related to marriage.  

 

 

Wow, that's really interesting!  I'm going to look into that more.  Fun stuff.

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16 is awfully young to be thinking about a lifetime commitment.  Not that it doesn't *sometimes* work (my aunt and uncle, high school sweethearts, married over 60 years... but then, they waited until they both finished college before actually getting married... and I met my husband the first day of college when I was still 17, but we waited until after we'd both finished graduate degrees), but those frontal lobes still have a lot of maturation to go.

 

The strong family norm in our extended family culture is "wait until you finish college." Partly because frontal lobes, partly because college is so highly valued (and while it's *possible* to finish once married, it's harder... and I would say, immensely harder once children come along.)

 

In terms of pros and cons... it's kind of sweet to "grow up" together, vs. a real risk that people as they grow up, grow apart.  Earlier most of us have more oomph; later most of us have more financial security and hopefully a bit more wisdom.  Specifically to the military, from your daughter's perspective there would I suppose have MORE financial stabity; vs LESS control over where she lives and her ability to manage the timing of her college studies.

 

I'm glad you like him...  :laugh:

 

:iagree:   Love this post. The physical maturation that is going on in the teen years can be huge. Some guys are just hitting their final growth spurt in the late teens and their hormone levels and brain development are undergoing major changes.  Add another teen human being into an intimate, co-dependent relationship voluntarily and it's no wonder marriages don't last. 

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A little side-conversation in this thread has been about birth control effectivness...I have a cute little anecdote about that. 

 

I have a couple of friends who married at 22 and 23.  Solid people, lotsa love.   About four years after their wedding, I got the funniest birth announcement EVER:  

 

"In defiance of yet *another* form of birth control, we are pleased to announce the upcoming arrival of our *THIRD* baby."  

 

(And that was about 21 years ago, and they have all done really well and have a wonderful family.)

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I only have thoughts about the maturing aspect.

 

It is true that people can really change their ideas in university - suddenly they are exposed to a whole new world of ideas and people.  Maybe the boyfriend is a nice guy, but they could end up in really different places. I studied philosophy and changed my religious denomination way of looking at things, significantly.

 

OTOH, I was not thinking about getting married at that point, either.

 

So - what would the couple think about seeing each other change in that kind of way?  For some it might be an issue, for others, not.

 

I have known married couples who were students.  Not all were successful, but you know some really were and it was very grounding in terms of their studies as well - those people, on average, seemed to get a lot out of them, it was serious for them.  Whereas quite a lot of the more typical students were all over the place with dating, partying, or just being caught up in emotions - even the ones who were serious about their studies. 

 

But - at this point, she is still waiting, and there is a lot of time.  Many things could change before this is something that needs to be addressed.

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At 16, I'd let things be as long as they were discussing what to do in 2 years and not right now.

 

I think Dh and I would quietly lose our minds if dd said she wanted to get married at 16. Lol

 

But thinking they want to get married 2 years from now? Okay thinking is allowed. Even encouraged. 2 years worth of thinking before actually getting married isn't an altogether bad idea.

 

A lot can change in 2 years. Even if they decide to go ahead and get married, it might look very different and have very different plans by then. And again, age would be the least of my concerns. A concern, but not the paramount one.

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No bonus. That's for reenlisting, IF your job is on a certain list.And you can give your GI benefit to your spouse, but you have to be in for three years and then be...ah, can't remember the word, but basically he would have to reenlist. And it isn't that much til you put time in,. He gets $4500 a year towards his own education, though, which is rather nice.

Some fields are authorized early advancement to higher pay grades though, nukes and electronics techs for ex. This has a similar effect to a bonus.

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I know you said never mind, but from what I've gathered, I just wanted to tell you that dh and I got married at 17 and 19. He was in the Marines. Early marriage on base felt like life with training wheels- no rent, no utilities, less expensive food at the commissary, lots and lots of young couples. It was a great start for us.

 

Almost 20 years later, we're going strong. There are no hard and fast rules on age and marriage, ime.

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Fwiw, Chris, I'm totally in agreement w/ you.   I think the 20yo dd of friend (that I started a thread about) is too young. I think 16 is way too young. It made sense when people were dying young. It makes no sense now. 

Plus I'm biased again about the older man who will have had experiences, will probably have traveled and seen the world.
I think both people need to explore, roam, meet lots of people, have some experiences before marrying.  I think women esp need to spend time being independent, making their own decisions, living their *own* lives. 

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I actually have a preference for people getting married fairly young, even if there are financial hardships and so on, or after they are pretty established as an individual.  Most of the people in my world who ended up divorced were the ones who got married within a couple years of college graduation.  That period of 22-24 sort of had the deer-in-the-headlights feel about it for some people:  "Everyone is getting marrrrried and I'm still sinnnnngle" sort of thing.  They found someone quick and got married.  And then, oops.

 

 

These days, you've got to add 8-10 years. The "everybody's getting married but me" freakout seems to happen in the early 30's. My brother is 31 and when I attended his wedding reception last spring I heard a bunch of his high school/college friends making that kind of comment.

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I think both people need to explore, roam, meet lots of people, have some experiences before marrying.  I think women esp need to spend time being independent, making their own decisions, living their *own* lives. 

 

My parents certainly felt that way but statistics show that the greater number of TeA partners a person has prior to marriage, the higher the chances for divorce. Women with 10+ partners are the most likely to divorce and those with only 1 partner are the least likely to divorce.

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My parents certainly felt that way but statistics show that the greater number of TeA partners a person has prior to marriage, the higher the chances for divorce. Women with 10+ partners are the most likely to divorce and those with only 1 partner are the least likely to divorce.

More experience doesn't have to mean more partners. Experience can mean a few first dates, hanging out with classmates and professors at a coffee shop, studying abroad, etc. A young married woman in college may limit herself quite a bit simply because she has a husband to get home to, instead of living in a dorm with limited household responsibilities.

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Americans are bad at math.  The "woman years" statistic about the effectiveness of bc pills shouldn't reassure anyone that taking the pill meticulously will avoid pregnancy.  It should make them sweat and bite their nails at how high a failure rate that actually is.  My daughters haven't been led down such a road.  I'm the cold hard reality mom.  Here's what they're getting from me and what I think should be included in every bc discussion ever:

 

If you're not using 2 different forms of scientifically validated bc every. single. time. you have sex, then you're trying to get pregnant no matter what you tell yourself and others. 

 

The failure rates on all forms of bc are high enough that people should be using 2. Surgical sterilization may have a higher effectiveness rate, but when my husband had a vasectomy after my life threatening pregnancy and delivery I had to sign papers releasing the doctor of any liability should we conceive again because nothing is 100%.  I personally know more than 6 people who were years after the vasectomy babies and a few who were years after the tubal ligation babies. I know someone who attended the birth of a baby born holding the IUD and another years after the IUD baby of a friend. Double up, people.

 

 

 

I so wish this was true.  I'd love nothing more than a post-vasectomy baby.  Alas.  I think that some people have higher than usual fertility and some of us come from long lines of lower than usual fertility (generations of women with infertility, no "oops" babies in the extended family, difficulty ourselves conceiving).  For someone like me, birth control failure would be a miracle, but not a likely one.

 

The trouble is knowing where your body lies on the fertility continuum at an early age.

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The trouble is knowing where your body lies on the fertility continuum at an early age.

 

How is that possible for most people?  How do men know if they have high or low sperm counts without being tested?  How does a woman know how many if any eggs she's releasing per cycle or any of the various infertility issues out there related to hormone levels, tubal blockages, uterine abnormalities, blood type incompatibilities? When I saw a reproductive endocrinologist for help with re-lactating for my soon to be adopted baby, the 20 minute consultation fee was $350 and insurance didn't cover it.  How can young people afford those kinds of fees finding out where they are on a fertility scale?

 

My comments were made in the context of accidental pregnancies in early marriage.  Since most people can't afford to pay a fertility specialist to test them and tell them where they are on the fertility scale, it's best to err on the side of caution to avoid surprises.  Are there times when doubling up still doesn't do the job?  Yes, but not nearly as often as when couples use only one method.

 

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More experience doesn't have to mean more partners. Experience can mean a few first dates, hanging out with classmates and professors at a coffee shop, studying abroad, etc. A young married woman in college may limit herself quite a bit simply because she has a husband to get home to, instead of living in a dorm with limited household responsibilities.

I do not understand this mindset that marriage somehow is a death sentence to social life and having new experiences.

 

I'm pregnant with baby 11.

I'm leaving to go to socialize over coffee with a bunch of knitters.

 

My sons don't live in dorms, they have an apt. They have jobs. They clean their apt. They go to campus parties and clubs and events. If they met a gal and married her, they'd probably spend more time with her, but otherwise they wouldn't expect that to change. Maybe go do more stuff with her. Maybe be nice to have someone share the household upkeep. But this is not 1950 where if a gal gets married it means the entire world stops and starts to revolve around keeping her house clean and husband satisfied.

 

I do think about my husband and kids needs and making sure they get my time and energy too. I don't think having to think about someone besides only myself is a particularly awful life experience.

 

Some of you are talking like getting married is The End and all life is downhill from there, so a smart gal should at least wait until she is over the hill already anyways. Lol

 

So it brings me back to less concerned about age and more concerned about other stuff. Like is she apparently marrying a jerk who expects her to become Donna Reed and for her to not do anything without him once they are married. Bc if so, who cares about age, my advice is to just run and run fast in the opposite direction.

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