When it comes to tying the knot, figuring out the right age to take this step is nothing short of complex. The right timing will differ from couple to couple, and depends on a slew of different factors relating to both the individual partners as well as the relationship as a whole. But
what happens when you get married before graduating? According to couples who have been through it, there are plenty of both perks and pitfalls.
According to the
U.S. Census Bureau’s recent estimates, in 2017, the average age of first marriage was 27.4 years for women, and 29.5 years for men — the highest it’s ever been in recorded history. But not everyone is waiting so long: Some people opt to say their “I do’s” before they even get their diplomas.
There’s a longstanding belief that
getting married young is riskier. And it makes sense — after all, with age, presumably, comes maturity, financial stability, and personal strength, all of which play a role in a successful marriage. That said, there are also benefits to marrying before you finish school. You can grow together. You can develop and nurture your goals together. You can celebrate some major early accomplishments together, like your school graduation or your first significant job.
Getting married before getting a degree may not be for everyone, but these six individuals still stand behind their decisions.
"We didn't do many things our first year of marriage if it costed money."
Everyone from my school called me an idiot. I wasn't getting married for the wrong reasons, though. I was always mature for my age. The people calling me an idiot were the same people that were having kids, having lots of sex, drinking/doing drugs a lot, partying hard, etc. I don't think that's what people should be doing, so luckily I found a guy in college that had the same goals for a family as I did. As for the challenges at a young age, I would definitely say the biggest one is financial. I know everyone has financial problems no matter how rich you are. The first two years, though, were tough. I feel like that made us stronger, though. We worked together making a budget and going over our spending every day. We didn't do many things our first year of marriage if it costed money. We didn't have fancy cell phones. We didn't go to the movies. We didn't go out and eat. Of course, that caused a lot of tension in out 600-square-foot apartment.
"We knew that we loved each other, and that was all that mattered."
My wife and I started dating freshman year of high school. We got married between sophomore and junior year of high school. We've been married for nearly 10 years now and we're very happy! We have three kids now, we both went to college and we both have good jobs as well. It can, and does, work out sometimes! We knew that we loved each other, and that was all that mattered. There were a lot of nay-sayers, and with the divorce rate so high anyway, I can't blame them. But love is as much about making it work as it is a feeling inside.
"It was family and social pressure that really made us get married to fast."
I got married at 17 years old. My husband had been in college for two years. He had three years to go. He kept dating girls he didn't know, hoping to find someone that wanted to settle down. When no one was fitting the bill at college, his mom suggested he try asking me out (we were childhood buddies about 10 years before). He was just a normal acquaintance that I had known for forever. My parents didn't care either because they knew him, too. We dated six months, then he asked me to marry him. I'll have to add that we knew each other for a very long time before that. His father was best friends with my uncle growing up. His grandparents and my grandparents lived (and still live) down the road from each other. I am and was happy about getting married so young. When I think about it now, though, it was family and social pressure that really made us get married to fast. If there was no pressure at the time, I probably would've waited until my husband and I could afford the wedding and honeymoon we actually wanted.
"I think we'll be able to help each through the change of college."
We're both very strong and independent people, and we both understand that we're each our own person. I'd never do anything to impede on her personal growth and I'd never let her impede on mine. I think we'll be able to help each through the change of college. Some people don't always change for the good, and if I have my best friend and a good influence talking to me every night it'll only help me.
"We still have great sex."
I met my husband through the Internet. He posted a rather sad post on his blog. I'd had a crush on him for a little bit and decided to cheer him up by telling him so. When we first dated we could spend a whole day just cuddling. It was rather disgusting. I didn't really see very many drawbacks to waiting, beyond the heartbreak I could face if the relationship ended regardless of our marital status. The only drawback is the social taboo of marriage at an early age. I am very happy with my marriage. The only thing that I could possibly regret is that I did move out and begin working for a living pretty early. I could be living with my father still, be two years into college, and not have had to work nearly as hard. I think what I have chosen is better for me, though. We still have great sex. Does not still have the same thrill of discovering each other for the first time, to be perfectly honest. But the quality and frequency are still very high. We rarely miss a day.
"I've always felt like it was well worth it."
Originally we had plans to get married when I finished college. In the end, we both felt like it didn't fully make sense to wait 4+ years. We knew we wanted to be together, we were living together, and we just felt like if we already knew we wanted to be committed to each other (forever), why would it make a difference to wait 4 more years? I will say, it's very tough! However, I've always felt like it was well worth it. I think it's harder because when you're so young you're still "developing" into who you are. The plus side is that you get to experience all of that growth and change together. It's gratifying to look back on the past 5 years and see how much we've changed. It just gives you this satisfaction that through all of that changing you still stayed true to each other. I definitely believe it can make you stronger individually and as a couple.
Some people don't
feel ready to get engaged until they're in their 30s, 40s, or even later. Others take the plunge while they're still in college or even high school. Clearly, there's no right or wrong in terms of what age is ideal to get married at — it all comes down to the couple's circumstances, goals, level of maturity, and of course, their bond. While there are definitely some unique challenges that come with tying the knot before finishing school, there are obviously some advantages as well. Namely, that you have a committed partner by your side to help you navigate all of the many changes, scary uncertainties, and exciting opportunities that come with this phase of life.