When I was young, people said wild things like they hoped they were married by 25 and had all their evenly-spaced children by 32 or something like that. It sounded so reasonable then. Now I would be hard-pressed to name something crazier. If I had gotten married at 25, I’d be one among the growing ‘divorced before 30’ group, and that’s the best-case scenario. The very best. Let’s talk about the problems that come with getting married young.
Accelerating life stages
Getting married young, forces you to grow up faster and while that sounds good, it’s not. People who get married young often have children earlier which leads to many ending their education sooner and getting into jobs they didn’t want because of the responsibilities that come with their new life. You can’t do that Master’s degree now because you’re worrying about school fees and other expenses related to child-rearing.
This is especially true for women who end up bearing much of the burden of childcare and domestic labour and making huge career sacrifices. The financial strain coupled with all the sacrifices and the strain of managing a family can be a lifelong burden. One study found that people who get married earlier are more likely to be depressed by mid-life.
Compatibility and change
Most people are nothing like the person they were at 25 by their 30th or 35th birthday. People go through significant changes as they go through young adulthood, changes that can easily make them incompatible. Changes in their values, beliefs, and interests which can make it difficult to stay together as you grow differently.
Someone once said every decision you make before you are 30 is not a decision you made. It’s a decision made by your parents and society and the pressure they exert because you haven’t yet discovered yourself. For most people, every decision before the age of 18 and for some even later is controlled by parents and other adults.
Your 20s is when you begin to discover yourself and change. Change enough and you and your partner are no longer compatible creating tension. One study found that couples who marry before the age of 28 are statistically more likely to divorce.
The expectations that someone in their 20s goes into marriage with are wildly different from those of someone in their 30s. the older you are, the more life experience you have and likely the more mature you are. People who marry young often have unrealistic expectations and a romanticized view of marriage. They don’t realize the responsibility that comes with marriage. They underestimate the amounts of conflict marriage involves. They underestimate the maturity it takes to combine your life with another person’s, to handle conflicts and communicate, forgive, and ask for forgiveness which can lead to disappointment and frustration.
When you get married young, you just replicate what you’ve seen around you. You don’t know yourself enough to determine what works for you and what doesn’t. Getting married young just forces you to grow up faster, steals your freedom and saddles you with all these new responsibilities. Marriage is hard enough even for people who have some life experience under their belt. Take your time. There’s no rush. Have a little fun, discover yourself, go to school, and prioritize yourself a little bit before jumping into it. It’s not a race. Plus, give yourself enough time and you could even reconsider your desire to join the institution altogether. Who knows?
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