Below read two girls responses to my TMI episode on Young Brides.
You know, I don’t have a problem being 27 and unmarried. But dating these days sucks. Period.
Most of the girls I know from high school and college no longer have this problem. In fact, they haven’t had to deal with this for a while because they got married soon after college.
In this episode of TMI I sit down with a couple of my girlfriends from high school to talk about what it’s like to get married so young. People always say it will never last, but I don’t think that’s true. Listen to Whitney and Alyssa, they are honest and open about how they work through all of it.
I dislike the commonly-held notion that getting married young is a mistake. I was married a day after my 22nd birthday and Brandon was 26. That’s considered very young, as I was told (rudely) by many people. Is it hard? Yes. Does it take a lot of work? Yes. But, then again, so does any marriage at any age.
Here is my unofficial primer for marriage, whether you are 21 or 41.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you a selfish person? Do you find the thought of making sacrifices for someone else uncomfortable? If you can’t answer a definitive no, you shouldn’t get married.
- Can you be honest about your thoughts and feeling on any subject without feeling pressure to compromise to the popular opinion? If you can’t express exactly what you want to someone else without fear of retribution, you shouldn’t get married.
- Are you willing to make friendships a lesser priority than the needs of your spouse? Friends are important, but a spouse is a partner—another half of you. If they’ve had a bad day, you have to prioritize how your evening plays out.
- Could you share a bank account without fearing what your significant other may find in the transactions? If you can’t be honest about finances or about what you spend your money on, you shouldn’t get married.
- Do you have a supportive, loving family who has legitimate concerns about your fiance? You shouldn’t get married to them.
- Consider your motives for marriage. If your spouse is not the first thing that pops into your head—if it’s a dress, your other married friends or a giant ring, then maybe you shouldn’t get married.
- Can people honestly describe you as a mature, grounded individual? If not, then you might not be ready for marriage.
- Have you cheated on a serious girlfriend/boyfriend/fiance/fiancee before? It’s natural to have the occasional fantasy. If you act on it, that’s a whole different maturity issue and/or emotional problem.
- Are you getting married to get around the issue of no-premarital-sex that your religion or family dictates? You shouldn’t get married.
I’m no expert and context can change everything, but these are some general rules that I’ve found to be fairly accurate in their prediction of marital success. Brandon and I had serious, serious conversations before we got engaged. It was no flippant exercise of “the next step.” It was a deliberate, loving decision—which is exactly what you should think of it as. A decision: not a party, not a dress, not a ring, not a sign of social status, nothing. It’s all about the other person and what you want out of your life together.
Getting married young has nothing to do with the success of a marriage. Marital success depends entirely on the individual.
Tatiana followed with:
Jackie you have really nailed it. I completely agree with all the points you have made.
That is exactly what getting ready for marriage means, stripping down to the core. You need everything in the open your heart, finances, soul, fantasies, dreams, fears, and habits. You need to be willing to say “Yes you may take of my time, my mind, my money, my abilities, my body, and my soul and I will take of yours, unselfishly.”
Kevin and I often discuss this subject and find that most of our peers have a very hard time understanding the concept that only when you completely let go do you really have freedom in your relationship. A lot of people our age feel that they have to “have this be mine” or “have that be mine” in order for them to be happy but what they don’t realize is that as long as they are holding on to those things whether it be friends, hobbies, habits, or ex girlfriends they will never succeed in the relationship.
I liken marriage to taking all your clothing off and jumping into the ocean together. You see everything, he/she sees everything and you are doing something scary but you are doing it together and completely in sync.