Young, Married & Pissed Off

On September 20th of this year, I married my best friend in a beautiful wedding ceremony in Baltimore, surrounded by our closest loved ones. I was just shy of turning 24. Mike was 26. And although we have only been married for three months, in March we will celebrate our eight year “anniversary.”


I mention this because this time of year seems to bring about two things:

  1. Several engagement announcements (I myself got engaged Christmas day two years ago)
  2. Several condemning blog posts about said engagements (no seriously… they’re everywhere)

While I was planning my wedding, I noticed a trend that began festering. From Huffington Post to blogs like this and ridiculous posts like this one about the “23 things you just HAVE to do instead of getting engaged before you’re 23,” people are becoming more vocalized and more vitriolic about their distaste for their fellow peers who are tying the knot in their early 20s.

These posts all share the same sentiment:

  1. People who marry young are missing out on opportunities in life
  2. People who marry young will end up divorced

These bloggers write that once you’re married, you can kiss your youth and any semblance of ‘fun’ goodbye. That walks down the aisle are now synonymous with funeral marches for your social life. That your 20s are meant for crazy, drunken nights full of bad mistakes, not picking out wedding dresses and filing joint tax returns. That anyone who gets married before the age of 25 is practically begging for a life of unhappiness.

But to lump all ‘young’ marriages into the same doomsday category is just as ignorant as calling all “millennials” lazy and uneducated.

I’m not here to advocate that people should marry young. I’m not even advocating that people need to get married at all, because it’s not for everyone. I’m a firm believer that marriage is meant to be forever – through the good, the bad, and the I-hate-your-guts-right-now downright ugly.  People should only get married when they are absolutely ready – whether that means 23 or 43 – because no two couples are the same and not all marriages are created equal.

I have seen people get married and divorced all before they celebrated their 21st birthday. I’ve seen people who have been together for a few years get married in their 40s only to get divorced a few months later. I’ve known people who married in their 20s and have been together for more than 60 years.

It seems everyone these days has their own idea of what they determine to be an acceptable age for people to make the commitment of marriage, and to those people I ask – who made you the expert in other people’s relationships? When we turn 25, is there a magical “I’m ready for marriage now” switch that suddenly goes off?

Because I’m calling bullshit.

For those who might want to throw some overly-used statistics at me right about now, here, let me do it for you.

  • According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 60 percent of marriages for couples between the ages of 20 and 25 end in divorce.
  • Also according to the National Center for Health Statistics, 50 percent of all marriages in which the brides are 25 or older result in a failed marriage.

Seems like we’re damned at any age…. According to statistics.

But like many things in life that don’t fall into black or white, definitively defined categories, marriage is a gray matter with far too many variables to consider when trying to determine why some marriages succeed and why some marriages fail. Variables that include respect, honesty, trust, love, patience, kindness, understanding and compromise. Things that take a lifetime to learn and understand and can’t be measured on a scale. Things that my parents, who have been married for nearly 30 years have been learning since they got married in their early 20s.

With all of these stories and statistics, I believe that the demise of a marriage is more a testament to the lack of maturity in the relationship, and the lack of maturity of the individuals, more-so than a person‘s age.

A successful marriage, at ANY age, is one where both partners have a strong understanding of the other’s needs and desires and work together to help achieve them. One of the most overused arguments in these anti-marriage blogs is that in your twenties you’re still discovering yourself and that you can’t discover yourself when you’re tied down to someone else. That you need to be single in order to make mistakes, figure out what you like and don’t like, travel the world and be selfish.

But I’m here to tell you I’ve done all of those things. And I’ve done them with the unfaltering love and support of my best friend and now husband. I began dating Mike when I was only 16. And in these last eight years I have traveled to Europe, graduated high school, gone to college, made new friends, lost old friends, partied until the sun came up, lost myself, found myself, spent a summer in Paris, drank too much, laughed too hard, made mistakes, had regrets, challenged myself, pursued my dreams, changed my dreams, graduated college,  landed a dream job, picked up my life and moved three states away, changed jobs, made more friends, and changed myself again.

a paris

And I’ve done it all with Mike by my side. Encouraging me the entire way. We grew up together. And in those eight years, we’ve both changed quite a bit, and I will venture to say, it’s been for the better. Mike and I motivate and challenge each other to be better than we were yesterday. We support each other when one is weak or failing. We push each other out of our comfort zones and dare each other to try new things. But we always allow the other the space they need to grow.  Together we have faced triumphs and successes, hardships and loss. That kind of support and companionship is something I wouldn’t trade for the world, and I am incredibly lucky to have found it so early in life.

So while my counterparts may be out clubbing until 4 in the morning or backpacking across Europe to ‘find themselves’, I am content with spending a night in with my husband and our two cats. Or trying the newest hit restaurant in town. Or planning trips to Barcelona and Rome for the fall. Or hosting a dinner party with a group of close friends.  Or god forbid – spending time alone or with friends to focus on ourselves (because contrary to popular belief – married folks are able to do this too.)

It may not be your idea of what someone in her 20s should be doing – but for me, it works just fine.

And at the end of the day, isn’t that what matters? People making their own decisions to find their own version of happiness, whether that means being single, marrying the love of your life or everything else in between. Your life and the decisions you make are yours and yours alone, and deserve to be free from scrutiny and judgment.  But let’s be real… that will never happen, so ignore the naysayers and the doomsday statistics.

Cheers to you and your happiness – whatever, whenever and whoever it may be.


208 responses to “Young, Married & Pissed Off

  1. This is perfect. My boyfriend and I are both 23 and we’ve been together over 8 years now. Most people are pushing us to get married, but we both think we’re too young. That’s not to say that 23 is too young, we’re just not ready. It doesn’t matter what age you are when you get married. If you find the right person and are willing to work for it, your marriage won’t end.

  2. Thank you for writing this post! My husband and I started dating when I was 16, got engaged when I was 18, and married when I was 19. We both had the support of our parents, which was very important (and both sets got married young, and have been married for 20+ years). We are now 21 and 22 and couldn’t be happier. There were so many people who put us down when we got engaged, from people we knew to complete strangers. We did not get married because we were bored or because it would be “cool” but because we both knew we wanted to experience the rest of our lives together. I think many people who marry young have an expectation of a happily ever after and a perfect marriage, but even more so than love, marriage is about commitment. It is about CHOOSING to love unconditionally, about sticking around when things get tough, to honor the vow you made. And neither of us are interested in partying, sleeping around, or getting drunk till the wee hours of the morning. We are interested in gaining more valuable life experiences, like traveling, meeting new people and learning new things. And to all those strangers who thought we were dumb for getting married, we both have jobs, pay bills, are debt free, live in our own apartment, are earning our bachelor’s degrees, and have travelled to four countries while married.

    • oh my gosh. I love your response. I’m 19 and about to get married. I can totally relate.

    • I think it’s great that you are living life according to your own dreams and you are spending time with the one you love. However, I would like to make one point. Just like marrying in your twenties doesn’t automatically mean you are lame and inexperienced, being single in your twenties doesn’t mean you are out drinking and sleeping around with randos. I felt like this was implied in both the article and this comment. I am 22 and saving myself for the right person (whomever that may be, and whenever I happen to meet them.) I rarely go out and drink, and when I do, I don’t prefer to drink a lot. And by the way, married couples can also party and drink till the wee hours of the morning – I know people who do. I completely understand the point of this article and your comment, but if you all claim to be defending people’s individual decisions, why the negative implications about those who are making the opposite/different kinds of decisions? (i.e. sarcastic comment: “So while my counterparts may be out clubbing until 4 in the morning or backpacking across Europe to ‘find themselves’, I am content …”) Is this all a plea for equal treatment or just an “I’m offended”-driven defense that violates its very own plea to the “other side”?

      • If you read the blog about 23 things you should do before getting engaged, this post makes more sense. I don’t think it was her intention to suggest young singles all party etc.

  3. Awesome post. I’m 46 and married to my loving and faithful wife – my FIRST wife. I was 18 and she was 19 when we married. People said we were too young, but it was right for us. I’m one of 7 kids and I’m the only one that’s still with the first spouse. 😉

  4. Jenny Courville

    I love this! This September, my husband and I will be married 40 years…you know the song “These are the best years of my life?” That’s what we have had…ups and downs…good and bad…but always together! Always know…LOVE can get through anything! So hang onto it, savor it, nourish it, but never let those feelings go!! Bless you on this wonderful new journey you have started as they will be “The BEST years of your life!”

  5. It’s about when you are ready, I definitely was NOT ready in my early 20’s and am beyond happy I waited to get married. I finished college, joined the Peace Corps, finished two Master’s and spend over 5 years living overseas…but that’s my story. I just wonder why people are so concerned with everyone else’s life? It’s like, even if you are doing the “right” thing, you aren’t doing it “right”. Everyone has their own path and if we all focus on ours, we will all be happier…

  6. Age is irrelevant. Three questions to ask yourself, Does this person make my life better, Do I make their life better, do I want to wake up next then everyday for the rest of my life? Marriage is a life commitment not a temporary fix for an unhappy life. I was 21 and my husband was 22, we married less than year after we started dating. He is my best and closest friend. We just celebrated our 33rd anniversary in November. I have never thought of leaving him and I can safely say that he feels the same way. We have weathered financial storms, serious illness and three wonderful children.

  7. Pingback: 23, Married, and Happy To Be That Way. | Bookcasey

  8. Everyone is an expert on everything these days…’cause they read about it on the internet! My husband and I got married when we were 22 (gasp!) and a couple weeks pregnant with our 2nd child (gasp again) we are 34 now, our kids are healthy and happy, we both have masters degrees, and happily settled in our careers, and couldn’t be happier with each other. We’ve basically grown up together, and are best friends, and (get ready to gasp again) have maintained social relationships outside of our marriage. I have a girls weekend away every year and he has a bowling night. 13 years and 4 children later, I think we made the best choice for us. No, it’s not for everybody, but I can’t imagine life any differently being very fulfilling for me.

  9. I totally agree with you. There is no magical button that makes anyone prepared for any sort of committed relationship -.- its all about personal growth and growth with someone else that really defines whether or not a relationship will succeed. And the last time I checked… it was way more fun to travel to beautiful places with someone you love and enjoy being around.

  10. I think that, unfortunately, she is the exception to the rule these days. I agree that is it is about the maturity of the couple not the age of the couple. But so many young people think they are mature adults because they are of age, and sadly they are not. They want to rush into being an adult, forgetting to enjoy their youth. Sometimes adulthood is not that great and we wish we were younger again…

  11. This is so absolutely perfect. I am not married nor engaged, and I am 25, but I am in a very happy relationship (headed toward marriage soon!). There is no perfect age for marriage- it is different for every single couple. And just like you, I would rather experience life WITH my other half. He makes me a better person. He helps me to find myself! The blog you linked, the 23 things to do other than getting engaged, that’s just ridiculous. You don’t need to be “experienced” (all by yourself) to be happy and to know yourself. Some people are happy single, some people are happy married. Like you said, it’s different for everyone!! Thanks for the awesome post. And keep up your awesomeness. And congrats on your marriage!!! 🙂

  12. I whole heartedly agree with you! Me and my husband have been married for almost 4 years now and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in this world. We also have two beautiful boys!! I got married when I was 19. There is nothing wrong with how you wanna live your life. The people who say that age is too young obviously hasn’t found the right person they want to be with.

  13. I would say the main reason to not to get married young is people are still growing and changing as people. At age 26, i am very different then I was at age 23, 20, 18, 15, etc. When people are still growing as people, there is more of a chance they will grow apart from their spouses.

  14. This reflects my (single) thoughts exactly. I want to be at that right stage in life before I get married. Had I met a great friend at a young age that’s able to be there with & for me through everything, I would know I’d found the right person to take the journey of life with me, but that wouldn’t mean it was time to get hitched.

  15. Great story, I was married right after High school been married almost 10 years (this year will make 10 in June) and we have 3 lovely children.

  16. Married just after I turned 20 (got engaged after dating for 6 months – I was still 18 ) – 4 wonderful children … we’ve been married for 25 years now. Don’t be fooled – Marriage isn’t easy – it’s work! Anything worth having, doing is worth the work! Parenting is work too! Doing all that work with one of your best friends – Priceless! It’s not perfect but it’s ours and we look forward to many more years of working at it all together!

  17. Jamie's Esthetics

    you are absolutely RIGHT! age in my opinion has little to factor into the scenario… there is so much that goes into making a marriage work, making a lifetime spent with someone matter and to not end up hating your partner. I married in my late 20’s – stayed married for 12+ years. I was fairly happy, yet, looking back I knew there was problems. I saw them, he didn’t. We tried. But, we were different people, and regardless of what age that happened at, it would not have mattered. I have a beautiful-amazing daughter, we share custody, we are extremely amicable and are her parents 100%! But, we have chosen to be two happy parents living separate lives and this works for us. We both have happiness and that is what is important. I enjoyed your post and appreciate it. You found your REAL love at that age… in a way I envy that. I think that when you can find someone that can give you everything and back it with action and allow you to grow and then in return grow along with you… it’s beautiful! Kudos! I think it’s possible regardless of age or situation. When you do find the right person… it’s just going to click. I have no regrets I gained a world of knowledge and am a better, more confident woman for my journey. I think I am on the right path for ME nowadays.
    You rock and I will stick around to read more! 🙂

  18. Thank you for this! I to any young(er) and married and I HATE the stereotype that young marriages don’t last.

  19. My husband and I met while serving in the military. We decided at a young age to get married. I was 19 and he was 21. All our friends said it would never work but we did it anyways. We have now been married for 12 years and still going strong. So dont believe statistics or what others may say.

  20. Love this post!! My husband and I met at our first job in high school. We were 17, he was my first boyfriend, and we knew pretty quickly that we would marry eachother some day (not that we were ready for marriage right then and there, but some day…) Other than a few people, nobody took us seriously when we said that. We have been best friends since we met. We graduated high school together, went to college together, got our first apartment together graduated college together, started careers together, moved away from home together, bought a house together, fell flat on our butts and moved back home together, and are now settling back in at “home”. At 20 we got engaged… Not everyone was supportive. Some people were just waiting for us to fail, and don’t even ask me to count the “can’ts”, “won’ts”, and “you will sees”. We got married at 21 and have been very happily married for 2 years now… Funny thing is before I met my husband 28 was my “magic age” that I always thought I might get married, and his was 25, but when we met, we realized age had nothing to do with it…The one question I had to get used to hearing being married so young is “How many kids do you have” Now I am amused that some people are so judgmental to assume that because we got married at 21, it must have been because we “had to get married”. (not that kids are a bad thing, that’s just something that we are not quite ready for) I love seeing people’s reaction when I say “no kids”… They get a look of shock and usually wait until after that point to say “well, congratulations”. We look back now at the people who thought they knew everything about marriage and we have learned that nobody but you can tell you when is the right age to do something… Sorry to spill my life story, but I was reading other people’s comments and I loved reading the one’s that I could relate to

    • Love your comment!! I thought my “magic age” was going to be 27! Haha! But here’s the thing: when you know you found your true love, and the person you’re meant to marry, and you are in a committed mindset, why wait?

  21. I was married at 23 and my husband was older. His chief concern about marrying was that I had so much living to do. I agreed with him but I could not imagine doing it without him. He has lived all those moments with me. We have never held one another back and we have continued to grow. We have been together 10 years now and married for 7 years. I will love him forever.

  22. I love this! I am 21 and my fiancee is 40. We got engaged when I was 19 and him 38. Since then we have created a home and had a beautiful baby girl. He has never been married! He has waited his whole life to find the right one. I lucky to find my one and only when I was young. I can’t tell you how many people have looked at us with disgust! “He’s old enough to be your father” crap. My father is 48, thank you very much! Screw this age stereotypes! I’m ready to marry my soul mate who happens to be 19 years my senior. It’s all about maturity. We are on the same level when it comes to this.

  23. awesome post…I totally agree with you on the fact that theres no black or white to marriages. Check out my response to 23 things here:

  24. Thank you so much for writing this! I recently got engaged to my boyfriend and it has been really disheartening to see so many immature posts about young marriages. The majority of which it seems the writer is simply jealous that they have never been in a serious relationship. I have that connection to my fiance; I couldn’t imagine life without him and sharing experiences with him is so much more rewarding that experiencing them on my own. I know anyone who has ever been in a serious relationship understands this. I can’t wait to marry my best friend. My life isn’t about to be over, its just beginning!

  25. Great post. I was married at 19 1/2 and will celebrate 20 years of marriage this summer. I will have been with my husband longer than I lived at home 😉 With four kids, dogs, and craziness all around, we have been intentional in our learning about our own junk and growing in marriage to keep it fresh and passionate. (It doesn’t just happen on it’s own.) How we Love by Milan and Kay Yerkovich has been the most amazing tool in our marriage so far.
    Too many many happy years together!
    Thanks again. Lynn

  26. I got married on September 20th also in 2004 and I was 18 at the time! My husband and I are stronger then ever 9.5 yrs later and we don’t feel like we have missed out on anything! Why would u want to party your twenties away alone when you can enjoy them with someone and have fun together? I made the best decision of my life when I married my best friend and we even renewed our vows on our 8th wedding anniversary.

  27. Basically the jokes stem from the fact that a rather fair percentage of 20-25 year Olds do get married before experiencing life single. Being single is one of the best ways to grow character yet that fair percentage never get the chance to because they were in a relationship from high school to after college. Not saying it right or wrong; it is just a reality.

  28. Great post! I also wrote a response to that article, read it here if you’d like:

  29. <3<3<3
    My husband and I were married at the age of 21. We are enjoying and experiencing life togther. Growing not only as individulas but as a team. We gone through many TDY's and deployments together. I don't evny my single friends nor do I think they are missing out. Marriage isn't for the faint of heart. It takes love and devotion and every thing in between.

    Thank you for your post ❤

  30. My husband and I got married whenb I was 20 and he was 28. Getting married is the best thing that has ever happended to me. I love being married to my husband. We have been married since september 2010 and we have already been through do much and we have stuck right by each other no matter what. For a marriage to work the people involved need to work at it everyday. If you’ve given up that is when things dont work out. I’m so sick of people not trying. Granted sometimes 2 people should not be together and that’s also another reason marriages don’t work. I was so happy to read this. Thank you.

  31. Love what you wrote! I have been with my husband since I was 18 and am turning 38 this year. We have been married for almost 18 years and still love each other deeply. Aside from that we remain best friends and continuously fall in and out of love with each other.

    I believe that marriages fail because people go into them with the beleive that marriage is temporary and expendable. In all our ups and downs, the D word has never come up – why? Because it is and has never been an option in our minds to begin with!

    We are raising three amazing kids together and I can only hope that there will still be others out there with the same value system as theirs so that some day they can find their mr. Or ms. Right and get married too.

    I love that we got married young. It gave us a chance to be silly and irresponsible together and to grow up and grow closer together. It also makes financial sense – when you start with nothing you can only go one way – and that is up…. Together!

    Hats off to you, your article and your belief system!

  32. Amen i totally know how you feel. I’m 21 met my husband in the army while we’re both in training we got married when i was 18 and he had just turned 21 and we have been married for almost 3 years and have 2 handsome little boys together. I feel like every time someone ask me my age i have too defend my marriage and my children in this case and it pisses me off glad to know it’s not just me.

  33. I generally agree with this- I’m 24, I have a great boyfriend, I love him- not getting married anytime soon. My issue is that some comments state that other people share different opinions on this because they are “jealous” or “bitter”. That is ridiculous. Stop being hypocritical.

    We all have our own opinions, that’s just how it works. I dated my ex for 5 & a half years- 16 to 21- and we thought we were going to get married, have children, etc. Clearly, that didn’t work out. Everyone is different.

  34. Sorry but pride and self indulgence are the reason for divorce. If each person puts God first and then the other in higher regards than themselves divorce rate would be the exception instead of the

  35. I loved everything that you had to say here. I read the original “23 things to do instead of getting engaged before 23” article and many of the responses to the article, but always found things that I disagreed with. My fiancé and I are twenty years old. Each time that I read an article I just continued to remind myself that people do not know my relationship and if we are ready for marriage or not. I loved this part of your article:
    “It seems everyone these days has their own idea of what they determine to be an acceptable age for people to make the commitment of marriage, and to those people I ask – who made you the expert in other people’s relationships? When we turn 25, is there a magical “I’m ready for marriage now” switch that suddenly goes off?”
    I love that you made it clear that each person should be able to make their own decisions about when they should or should not get married. Thank you for sharing!

  36. I really think it comes down to self awareness. Your post was great in saying that it really has to depend on the person, and what is right for them. They have to know themselves and their partner well enough to know that this decision is right for them. The problem with marrying young, however, is that many of us don’t know the person we are going to become when we are 18-22. You wouldn’t think it would be that big of a difference, but sometimes it’s mind boggling how much we change in a span of 5 years. I thought I wanted to marry the person I was with for four years, whom I started dating at twenty. It was brought up socially, we both wanted to do it, and I daydreamed about the wedding, who my brides maids would be, etc. The thing is, it wasn’t right. We had been together over four years and it felt less right with time. What I realize now, looking back, was that I changed. It sounds cliche but it’s true. Maybe on some level I always knew it, but the 22 year old self just wasn’t that in-tune with my own feelings, especially those that involved possibly hurting my best friend in the world.
    We are no longer together. The hurt from a broken relationship still lingers, but it’s better than the hurt from a life that is split open twenty years later. The reason I think people can be discouraging or negative towards young marriage, is because they’ve experienced some part of it. I believe that we are built for love and companionship, and when it comes to a huge decision like marriage, for most of us, it doesn’t hurt to wait. It hurts worse when the decision is made and the truth reveals itself later.
    With that said, I believe that some people mature sooner than most, and when they meet their partner they know deep down that they want to spend the rest of their life with them. I think it’s amazing that you found yours, so young and without the hurt many of us have to experience before we get to ours. I have mine now, a little older and a lot wiser, but it did happen. I liked reading about it from your perspective. Thanks for posting.

  37. Have you checked out my response to “23 Things to do Instead of Getting Engaged Before You’re 23″? If you like this blog, you might enjoy it! Take a look here:

  38. This is still such a fantastic read, every time I go back and RE-read! I think every young person in a serious relationship, contemplating taking the next step…we should all have this gem printed out for regular reading purposes.

    Please check out my lifestyle blog over at Coming Up Roses…I blog every Wednesday (Hump DAAAAAY!), hopefully making your mid-week a little happier and more inspired, on all things life, love, health&beauty and fashion!

    Thank you, and hope to meet you over in my blog pond (:

  39. Pingback: Find Your Bliss | The Bizarre Little Blueberry

  40. My hubby and I got married when I was 22. He was 20. So far, so good! We have our little disagreements, but we don’t stay mad for long! And the whole “don’t go to bed angry” thing: it’s GREAT advice. Because if you go to bed angry, it festers and holds onto you deep inside…and it only gets worse. The sooner you forgive, the better. And say you’re sorry! And surprise each other sometimes by doing the chore the other one hates, or with a little gift, etc.! Sorry, I’m rambling, but I love your post!! And I totally agree with it! It’s the maturity of the couple. Heck, we have some growing up to do still as a couple, but there’s always going to be room for growth. 🙂 We are human! We will be celebrating our 4 year wedding anniversary in May of this year, and we just past our 6 year anniversary as a couple!! 🙂

  41. Pingback: Early January Reading | ProbablyRachel

  42. This was an absolutely wonderful article. I got goosebumps reading it because I can relate so much to its content. I met my husband when I was 16 and we became engaged when I was just about to turn 18, stayed engaged for 2 years until he finished university, and were married in June of 2012. This summer we will have been married for 2 years, known each other for 6, and I could not be more happier. Both of our families supported our discussion, my family more than his, but it was ridiculous and disheartening to hear how many people were against us. I am so thankful we were strong enough to support our decision and this year has been the best we have ever had. It seems we are only growing happier together! We traveled Europe for two and a half months for our honey moon, I am in my final semester of a double major, hoping to pursue my masters in the next year, my husband finished engineering and found work in an engineering company, we bought a new car, and are saving to move to another city soon. We have two dogs and have been fortunate to rent an entire house to ourselves. I think thats pretty impressive for a 21 and 23 year old if I may say so myself. It was tough to ignore the negative criticism that we were being foolish, irresponsible, etc., but I think we both made the best decision of our lives to get married! I am so lucky I get to spend the rest of my life with my best friend and only feel pity for those who put us down, because they are unhappy with their own lives.

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