Why Getting Married Young Didn't Ruin My LifeThe Newlywed Notebook

The Newlywed Notebook



May 2014

Why Getting Married Young Didn’t Ruin My Life

Written by Lindsay Ropella

I feel like some people’s motto needs to be, “worry about yourself.” Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts and articles talking about why you shouldn’t get married young. Blogs big and small are writing posts with titles like “Things To Do Instead of Getting Engaged,” “Why Getting Married in Your 20’s Might Be the Worst Idea Ever,” “10 Reasons Not to Get Married Young” – you get the picture. The majority of these posts are telling girls to “stop settling” and to be “young and crazy” before tying yourself down (basically becoming a boring old wife.)
The funniest part to me is that none of these ladies are writing from experience. If there was an article written by someone who got married young talking about reasons why they now think it was a bad idea, I would put more stake in it. But the majority of the articles I came across are posts by girls in their 20’s who simply aren’t ready to be married yet, so they think no one else should be either.
Now, let me just say that obviously everyone has their own path in life. If you’ve decided that getting married “young” does not jive well with the plans you have for yourself, or if you just don’t feel ready to make a huge commitment like that yet, then good for you! And I mean that wholeheartedly. The people I admire most are those that know what they want and have the confidence to pursue it! I think it’s so admirable that you have taken the time to figure out what makes you happy and are enjoying life!
But you know what? Not everyone’s path is the same. Not everyone wants the same things out of life. I think the majority of us here are wise enough to realize this and to understand that we don’t all have to be cookie-cutter versions of each other. It drives me crazy though when I come across people who judge others and put others down just because their life views may not match up perfectly with their own. Why can’t we all just be happy for each other and rejoice in the fact that even though we may be different, we are truly happy and are doing what feels “right?” Maybe we all need to just start sitting around in friendship circles singing Hakuna Matata or something…
So here I am today to share my perspective – a girl who got married at 22, right after finishing college. I’m certainly not saying that this path is right for everyone, but if you are a girl who read one of those “anti-young-marriage” posts and got a little scared off by it, let me assure you that getting married young didn’t ruin my life. In fact, it’s been everything I ever wanted and more!
Getting married is an adjustment for everyone. Some changes I was prepared for - some not. Here are 5 things I didn't know would change when I got married.

9 Reasons Why Getting Married Young Didn’t Ruin My Life

ONE || We know literally everything about each other. Because we got married young, we had a lot of time to get to know each other before things got serious and before talk of marriage ever came into the picture. We were just goofy kids hanging out learning about each other as friends. There was no pressure to DTR (define the relationship) or decide if he or she was “the one.” We had nothing but time on our side. Not that this is always the case, but I know when people are older they often date with a “timeline” in the back of their minds and I think sometimes that a timeline and a shorter dating period can hinder the ability to get to know every detail about the other person.  
TWO || Most of our “firsts” have been with each other. Because we didn’t date a bunch of people in our late teens and 20’s, many of our life experiences have been with each other. Now I’m not just talking about physical stuff (although most of those firsts have been shared with each other as well, which probably is TMI but also pretty cool if you think about it), but just our everyday growing up experiences too. We were together on the first day of high school, the first day of college, the first time we got our driver’s license (and could drive with one other passenger ONLY), our first drink, the first time we dealt with real family problems…it was all shared. I think sharing these experiences has brought us closer because instead of just sharing stories from our past, we actually lived them out together.  
THREE || We are dependent on each other. I know that may sound like a bad thing, so let me explain. Eric and I aren’t dependent on each other in the sense that we fall apart and can’t function if the other person isn’t there. But we do rely on each other and feel like a team. We constantly check in with each other, do things together, and don’t necessarily enjoy time apart. I think that sometimes if a person is on their own too long, they can learn to become completely independent of others and have a hard time joining lives and relying on their partner once they get married. Getting married young has taught me a level of selflessness I’m not sure I would have learned if I had gotten married later in life.
FOUR || We save money. Practically, getting married younger has, in the long run, saved us money. We didn’t have to pay two leases, purchase two dining tables, two couches, deal with two electric bills, you get the picture. Eric and I have purchased everything together down to our shared computer (yea, we need to get another one soon) and it has not only saved us money, but been a bonding experience in budgeting our finances as well.
FIVE || We get to be “wild and crazy” together. I know one of the biggest arguments for not getting married young is the fact that you have to settle down and get your life together. SO NOT TRUE. Eric and I bought a house and got a puppy because those were things we wanted and that made us happy, but if we had not done either of those things and still lived in our apartment, we could up and do/move/travel wherever we wanted. There would be nothing more to tie us down than any single person would have to deal with, except we would have the added benefit of doing it together.
SIX || We are prepared to grow and change together. One thing I hear the most when people talk about the negatives of getting married young is the fact that you still have so much growing up to do, how do you know who you will want as a spouse down the line and how do you know you will still be a match for each other when you are older? Honestly? This is a valid point. Yes – I’m not going to be the same person at 32 that I was at 22. But here’s my response…do people stop growing and changing once they hit 30? Are people the same at 42 and even 62 that they were at 32? I don’t think so. No matter when you get married you will never stop changing and you are never guaranteed that you and your spouse will perfectly mesh on every topic and every situation for the rest of your lives – that’s why I don’t believe in “the one.” But I think getting married at a younger age prepares us for those changes even more because we know they are going to happen, so we just have to decide to be that much more committed to each other for the rest of our lives.  
SEVEN || We don’t feel like we just “settled” for each other. One person wrote in her article that she thought people got married young basically because there was nothing good on TV…that young people just get married because they are bored and want something to do. Eric and I got married young for one simple reason – we know we wanted to be together for the rest of our lives. If anything, because we were so young we knew that we still had plenty of time to date other people before having to quick “settle down” with someone before reaching the big 3-0 (that’s when people start to freak out, isn’t it? No? I don’t know..). And actually, at one point in college we did try breaking up to date other people; but it only lasted a month at most – we just knew we had found the person we were going to marry and so continuing to date just seemed wrong.
EIGHT || We have time on our side. One of the best things about getting married young, in my opinion, is just all the opportunities you have available to you simply because of time – opportunities all the money in the world couldn’t buy. We had time to decide where we wanted to live and settle down, we have lots of time to travel and do things together before having kids, we have almost our whole lives together to establish traditions and make memories.  
NINE || We have learned to roll with the punches together. Let’s face it – when you are right out of college you are pretty much broke. And being broke sucks. But for some reason, being broke together isn’t so bad. Sitting on the floor in the dark eating pizza with your husband or wife turns a sad and lonely evening into an exciting camp-out. Life isn’t always easy, especially when you are first learning to figure it out, but doing it with a partner in crime makes it a little bit easier and a lot more enjoyable.  
So tell me — what are your thoughts on getting married young? How old were you when you got married? Let me know in the comments below!

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  • Amanda @ Marry Mint

    So well said! I was 22 when I got married as well and you know I’m all about people minding their own business. I’m not clear on what anyone thinks I’m “missing out on.” The way I look at it, Kyle and I can do our “wild and crazy” things together when we are relatively young, retired empty nesters WHO HAVE A LITTLE MONEY lol

    Great post!

    • Lindsay Ropella

      Thanks! LOL that is a PERFECT plan! See? Everyone knows what works best for them and their family so I wish the bashing of different lifestyles could just stop. Too bad the whole “if babies are happy we leave them alone” mantra doesn’t apply for adults as well.

  • Courtney

    I really love you reasoning on #6. That’s so true. When you commit to someone, you need to make an effort to grow together always because you are always changing.

    I am the first one to admit that right out of college I was not ready to get married, despite the fact that Chris and I had already been dating for a long time at that point. It just scared the hell out of me. I couldn’t fathom planning a wedding and embarking in that next chapter, just yet. I also needed time to live independently. Sure Chris and I could have saved a TON of money if we just moved in together for the few years after college… but just because it was practical (all our parents were shocked we wanted to live on our own for a while) but that doesnt mean it was right …because we simply weren’t ready. Everyone and every relationship is so different.

    I have also read and heard tons of stats saying that couples that live together before marriage have a better chance at getting divorced. Those stats once scared me, but moving in together changed our relationship in so many positive ways that I wouldn’t change for a second!

    I really love all your points, though. You and Eric, rock. <3

    • Lindsay Ropella

      Thanks so much for sharing, Courtney! This is such a PERFECT example of everyone just doing what is best for themselves. I think it’s awesome you knew you weren’t quite ready yet to do the whole marriage thing right after graduation (and I don’t blame you, it was a lot of work!) and did what fit your life best and what worked for you and Chris. That’s the important part because I think when people start doing things that don’t feel right to them, that’s when disaster can hit. I feel like a hippie saying this over and over again but can’t we all just be happy for each other that we are following our own hearts?! lol Seems like you and Chris are doing GREAt and you should be proud of that! :) GREAT comment <3

  • Jessica Baker

    This is so well put. So many people think it’s wrong to get married wrong, but I see nothing wrong with it. I follow this blog called classy living, and The writer Kate, got married at 21. You would probably enjoy reading some of her posts about her experiences! I would also love it if you checked out my blog!

    • Lindsay Ropella

      Thank you! I will definitely have to check her blog out and yours as well! Thank you for stopping by :)

  • Newlyweds on a Budget

    love this! I got married “young” for me. I was three weeks shy of turning 26, but had always said I wouldn’t get married before 30. I’m from the L.A. area so people often don’t get married til late 20’s, early 30’s here.

    Well, once I got marred after dating my husband for only three months–something I said I would NEVER do and definitely would have judged someone else if they did it–I decided I am in NO place to tell people how to deal with their relationships. Besides, my parents got married at 18 and 20, and just celebrated their 32nd wedding anniversary.

    • Emily

      I am so with you, every single relationship is different and it is not our place to judge. My parents got married at 19 and 21 and just celebrated 33 years of marriage :)

    • Lindsay Ropella

      Isn’t it interesting how habits of people can be so different just from area to area? LOl I LOVE your story. It just shows that all different types of relationships can work in their own special way!

  • Emily

    Yes!! I love this. I got married when I was 21, but it was the perfect decision for my husband and me. I think sometimes getting married young is cast in a negative light, so I am glad to see someone pointing out that it isn’t a bad thing! One time I overheard a girl friend my age say “smart people don’t marry young”. Ouch! Everyone is different and is free to marry at whatever age suits them best, whether that be 21, 31, 41 or beyond. I think you’re right, we all just need to sit in a circle and sing Hakuna Matata. Haha! :) Really great post!

    • Lindsay Ropella

      I totally agree. I think a lot of times getting married young is looked at negatively. But I just cant understand why – after all, people our grandparents age often got married around 18 or 20 and their generation’s divorce rate is much lower than ours. I just think everyone needs to do what works for them and not be so “judgy.” Let’s totally set up a friendship circle! lol

  • TeresaJ

    I also got married young— I had just turned 18 and he was in the military. I spent my senior year of high school married, and even had a hyphenated diploma lol! Everyone said that we were too young and that it would never work. We grew up together during the 6 years we were married. Unfortunately we divorced last year, but it wasn’t because we were ‘young’. I learned/lived more in those 6 years than I had the other 18 years of my life combined and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
    I can remember sitting in my senior english class and the teacher said that anyone that gets married young is just stupid. I was so mad and embarrassed! I still think of that moment when I see her.
    Loved the post!

    • Lindsay Ropella

      I completely agree. I think one of the benefits of getting married young is the ability to grow and change together during such a pivotal point in your life. I know there are so many things I learned and qualities I gained since being married that I don’t think I would have gained on my own. And how horrible of your teacher to say! I hate when people make sweeping generalizations and then move on like what they just said was just so casual. Grrr! Thanks so much and thanks for sharing your story!

  • Jean

    Thanks for this! My husband and I got married when I was 19 and we have been married almost ten years. We’ve been through college together and now have three kids. We are both extremely happy and in love. But, every time I see one of those “Reasons Not to Get Married Young” articles I always wonder what I missed out on! NOTHING… that’s the answer. It’s everyone else that missed out on what we’ve got ;)

    • Lindsay Ropella

      I hate seeing those too! I mean, I get that waiting until you are a little older to get married is what’s right for some people, which is awesome. But why do they have to judge others and write posts on how horrible it is just because we choose to do something different than them? People, people, people. lol. I’m so glad to hear your “young marriage” is still going strong! You rock! And thanks so much for your comment and sharing your story. :)

  • Teresa

    I love this article! I’m an old lady compared to the rest of you, but I just wanted to say that I totally agree with you. My husband and I got married when I was 21 and he was 23. In September we will celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary and we dated for only 10 1/2 months before we marrIed! Now, it has not been all butterflies and rainbows by any stretch of the imagination! We have definitely had our share of the ‘worse’ ‘poorer’, and ‘sickness’ part of our vows, but we have persevered.

    The best advise I can give anyone is something that we learned several years into our marriage. It is that love is not a *feeling* that you will always have. Love is actually an action that you must CHOOSE every single day. There will be times that you do NOT like your spouse, but you must choose to love him/her during that time as you work through your problems. In my experience, THAT is the key to a good marriage. Well, and putting God first! Blessings to you and your husband!

    Teresa <
    1 Corinthians 13:4-8

    • Lindsay Ropella

      How inspiring – thank you so much for sharing your story! And congratulations! I think that is so true about having to CHOOSE to love your spouse. I don’t know if you read my post, “Why My Husband Is Not the One” but I think you would enjoy it. I give my thoughts on how I choose to love my husband and share a really neat lesson we learned in one of our marriage classes. Anyway, I guess my point is it’s really great to hear from someone who is more experienced in the whole “being a wife” department that Eric and I aren’t too off-base in our thinking. :) It’s definitely not always easy, and I know we still have A TON to learn about marriage and life, but I’m excited for the journey and to see what God has in story for us. :) Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

  • Don and Virgie Pirlot

    Don & Virgie Pirlot
    May 21, 2014 – 08:14:50

    That was beautiful, Lindsay. You and Eric have a special love for each other.

    As you know, Grandpa and I were married very young. I was 19 and Grandpa was 20. We were high school sweethearts. My father asked if we would wait a year to make sure it was right for both of us. I went to Milwaukee with my parents and worked for the year. We have been married for 56 years and are still very much in love. I am not saying we didn’t have some rough times, but our love for each other got us through it. Always remember the love you had when you were first married. Keep bringing it back when the times get rough.

    We know that this wonderful life can’t last forever. One of us will be leaving and going to a better place. Daniel O’Donald’s song says it all “Beyond the Sunset”.

    Love you so much, Grandma & Grandpa Pirlot

    • Lindsay Ropella

      Thanks, Granny. :) I love that story…so neat to see how strong your love was for each other even back then. You both are such role models for a happy marriage! Thank you. :) Love you both!

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  • Rachel G

    I think you have a great point in mentioning that their opinion might be a more educated one if they actually had gotten married young and now were speaking from experience, rather than young women who simply don’t want to be married or are trying to justify not being married by writing such articles. I’m 22 now and I’ve been married 3.5 years–I wouldn’t change anything. I love that I get to “grow up” with my husband.

    • Lindsay Ropella

      Thanks. Yea – I certainly don’t mean to say that what they think has nothing of value, I just think they shouldn’t judge others or try to be an expert on a topic they are not familiar with. Hey, you won’t see me writing a post on living the single life or how to fix a car engine anytime soon, because those are things I just have no experience with. ;)

  • Deborah

    How long have you been married?

    • Lindsay Ropella

      it will be 2 years next month :)

  • Kelsey Tockey

    I will be 19 this friday, and getting married two weeks after that. This is one of the best, most accurate, and inspiring articles I have read. I love this! Everything you said in this, is what I’ve told other people that ask me, “are you ready? You’re so young”

    Thank you!!!

    • Lindsay Ropella

      Kelsey, first of all..CONGRATS!! And second, thank you so so much for your sweet comments! Having a blog is funny – you spend all this time writing and pouring your heart out and then you share it without having any idea if people are actually reading and relating to it. So thank you for your sweet comment and for sharing your story! Best of luck to you and y our future hubby! Hope to see you around here again soon :)

  • Anna

    All of you who are taking about how wonderful it is to be married young – you are all still in your 20s and have only been married a few years tops. Sorry but that says nothing. The average length of first marriage is 7 years and there is no guarantee that any of you will surpass that. Let’s see if you all still feel the same way 10 years from now.

    • Lindsay Ropella

      Hi Anna, first of all I want to say thank you for your comment. I’m sure it wasn’t super easy to post when all the other comments are so “pro” getting married young right now. With this post, I wasn’t at all trying to say that getting married young is the superior choice, or even that it’s right for everyone (because it certainly isn’t). My goal with publishing this was to show that there is an alternative choice to all the articles out there on the internet saying that people should wait to get married. I don’t think one way or another is best – I think each individual person has to do what’s right for them. I just wanted to share my experience and put a “pro” young marriage post out there for those girls who may be feeling like a weirdo getting married young. Even though some people who commented on here have in fact been married for 30+ years, I completely understand your point about us who are still young not being experts yet. I know I’m not and I know there are no guarantees in life no matter what age you get married at. All I know is I am hoping like hell our marriages last a lifetime and I hope you are rooting for us as well! :)

  • rebecca wyant

    thanks for sharing your story! my husband and i were both 19 when we got married and it was the best decision i ever made. every one of these reasons is spot on!

    • Lindsay Ropella

      Thank you! And congratulations to you both! It certainly isn’t for everyone, but the best thing ever for those of us who are ready for it! :)

  • Mandi Stewart

    LOVE THIS! thank you!

    • Lindsay Ropella

      Thanks, Mandi! It’s always nice to see other ladies who can relate to you. Happy 2015! :)

  • Connie Washington

    Congratulations Lindsay. Well said. If I had found the Mr. Right at a young age I would have married him. As it was though, I didn’t marry until I was 37. It wasn’t because I thought that marrying young was bad. It was because I didn’t meet my husband until I was older. Marrying older does have drawbacks. For one, we were unable to have children. BUT, we WERE able to adopt three beautiful children who now have a forever home because of infertility. There are many other things I could point out as drawbacks to marrying older, but why mention them? We will be married almost 16 years in a few months. Our lives are full, busy and happy. Congratulations, again, to you and Eric.

    • Lindsay Ropella

      Hi, Connie! Thank you so much for sharing your story. How absolutely inspiring. :) You know, I think we focus a lot on the stigma of “getting married young,” but I think people who get married a little bit later in life feel some of that as well..would you agree? That’s why I just try to remember you can’t make everyone happy so it’s important to just do what’s right for you and your family! So many different journeys with so many awesome outcomes. :)

  • Michaela Harris

    I know I’m late to this post, but I love this topic!

    For me, it wasn’t even a matter of being “young.” I found the man I knew would be the love of my life. The timing wasn’t perfect. He was older than me, I was in college, and neither of us had it “all figured out.” But we knew that out of all the mistakes we might make in our lifetime, choosing to get married would never be one. We loved each other. That was it.

    I had people tell me – why don’t you wait until late 20s, have a career, are stable on your own? But the issue was I WASN’T. I met him at 19 and we knew when it was time to get married. I wasn’t going to give up on him because the circumstances were supposedly less – than -ideal.

    Ultimately, though? The timing was perfect for us! I’m so happy I got married during college because it allowed that part of my life to stay routine and normal. Then when I graduated, I had his support during my next steps. I’ve done MORE since being with him, been encouraged in every way to pursue my dreams, and am a better person for our relationship.

    But don’t get married young just to get married. THAT is not worth it. Wait it out. xo.

    • Lindsay Ropella

      Thank you SO much for sharing your story! It’s so nice to hear how other people did it and what lessons they learned from their own experiences. I totally agree that you shouldn’t get married young just to be married. But then again I don’t think you should get married when your older just because your getting old. :) There shouldn’t be any age factors on when you get married, it should be so much more about meeting the right person, having the right goals, and a personal maturity level enough to be ready to take on something as serious as that.