There’s an adage that goes something like this: “If you get married when you’re too young, then you’re more likely to get a divorce.”
A cursory look at the statistics of divorce shows that up to half of all relationships might end up that way. The flip side of that argument is that half of all marriages are going to go the distance, even if you decide to become a young couple.
Millennials might not be tying the knot as readily as previous generations, but getting married before the age of 25 is still happening with surprising regularity. Cohabitation with an unmarried partner happens 9% of the time, while 7% of adults between the ages of 18-24 are living with a spouse.
In 1968, almost 40% of adults in the 18-24 demographic were living with a spouse, while only 0.1% were cohabitating with an unmarried partner.
List of the Pros of Getting Married Young
1. Your relationship can be successful if you’re dedicated to making it work.
Whether you get married at 18 or on the verge of 25, a young relationship requires the same work as one does in your 30s. You must continue to evolve your approach to each other, putting the needs of your partner at an equal priority as your own. If you both go into the process with a 100% dedication to making things work, then you’re ready to have a successful experience.
It helps to have shared goals and preferences, but there can also be differences that make the relationship intriguing. It helps to be complementary to each other more than the same, and having time to be intimate together can provide security when the world around you feels chaotic.
2. You can fall in love with each other more every day.
When you get married at a young age, then you’re getting to spend time together every day. There are meaningful moments you can create for yourself and your partner at any time. Whether there are kids in the picture or it is just your spouse, there are ways for you to get to know someone more deeply than you ever expected. Most couples who make it through the first few years of their marriage at a young age say that they are more in love now than when they had their ceremony.
Finding the right person from the very start can be the biggest gift of your life. That’s not to say there won’t be difficulties along the way, but it can be a very rewarding experience.
3. Couples mature faster together than if they stay single.
When people get married at a young age, the responsibilities of finding a home, managing finances, and maintaining employment become a priority. If you’re still in school, then you also need to manage that schedule. It forces you to take a different look at life, one that comes from the “adult” perspective. You’re a team trying to make it together in this world. Your choices directly impact what happens to your spouse, which can be a humbling, but positive experience.
If you get things right with this advantage, you may discover that you wouldn’t trade any other day without the person you love. Bad days happen, but hard work makes even the worst moments better.
4. Even as you get older, your youth stays in the relationship.
If you get married at a young age, then there’s a good chance that you’d say you’re marrying your best friend. Dating stories sound exciting, but the work of finding someone is arguably more of a challenge than maintaining a marriage. Even when you’re a little immature when the relationship starts going, the youth that you get to share together never really goes away. You’ll still find secret places to spend quiet moments together.
One of the telltale signs that you’re watching a couple who got married young is that they hold hands in public. Even if their kids are running all over the place, they still take that one space for themselves that no one else can have. That perspective only comes from the work it takes to build a life together from scratch.
5. You don’t have the time to pursue other relationship interests.
There will always be moments that challenge your relationship. There are fights, arguments, and hurdles that will test you to your core. What you will discover is that the time you spend together will become cherished moments that you’ll remember forever. Even if you become another divorce statistic at some point in your life, the times where you got to feel free with someone you love are unforgettable.
Does that mean there are bad habits that your spouse might develop that will drive you nuts? Probably. If you remember that this also happens in reverse, then you can work together to start figuring things out. The present is important, but you’re also trying to build a future together. Two heads are almost always better than one.
6. Having a partner can soften the tough moments in life.
When you get married young, then you’re coming together as a team. That means there is always someone present who can be a supportive shoulder for you. A marriage can be a place of encouragement and strength if those perspectives become a top priority. You’re going to be going through all of the different phases of life together, from graduating college to starting a career. That can cause instability for some relationships, but it can also make life better when you have confidence in the support of your partner.
7. You get to be a trendsetter.
The Sandlin’s got married when they were both 22. It was a quiet, winter wedding where family and friends gathered. There were some songs sung, Bible verses read, and leftover Christmas lights and angels hanging from the rafters. It was a unique experience. Then they went to a friend’s wedding six months later, and the program was exactly the same. There were even angels hanging from the church rafters for that summer wedding.
When you get married young, then you get to be a trendsetter. That means you’re the first ones with the barn wedding, or the bachelorette trip to Las Vegas, or all of the other trends that have developed over the years. It feels good to do things before everyone jumps on the bandwagon.
8. It gets to be a fun experience.
There is something special about being able to be young and reckless with someone you love. You can go on grand adventures, throw caution to the wind, and avoid all of the bad Tinder dates that your friends are enduring.
You still get to do all of the wild stuff that your single or unmarried friends are doing, but you also get to go home with someone you love guaranteed. If that hangover comes around on a Saturday morning, then you’ve got some companionship to help along the way. These are the moments that turn into colorful memories that your kids and grandkids will love hearing about along the way.
9. There is less pressure to start a family when you get married young.
Meghan Markle was 36 years old when she became the Duchess of Sussex. It didn’t take long for everyone to start pressuring her to have a child. If you get married at a young age, you might start thinking about kids – or you might not. People won’t start nagging you about when you decide to plan a family for a long time, which means you have years to spend together solo if that’s what you want to do.
This benefit of getting married young might seem minor, but you won’t believe how tiring it can get when everyone you know asks, “So, when are you having kids?” You’ll have time to plan out your life, establish a meaningful relationship, and then start a family if that’s what you want to do.
10. Getting married young makes people less cynical.
When you decide to get married at a young age, then you’re making a lifelong commitment to someone early in life. If you’re sure that you want to be together above anything else that happens to you, then that makes you a less cynical person. It means that you’re still willing to believe in the option of a happy ending.
Maybe you’re still a glass-half-empty person, but you will experience more optimism in life when there is the knowledge that at least one pair of loving arms await your presence when you come home. Even if you’re more of a pessimist, getting married early on in life means that there is less baggage from the past that can come back to haunt you when you least expect it.
11. You get to share many of your first-time experiences together.
This advantage doesn’t always mean the bedroom, but it does mean that many of the big events in life you get to share with someone you love. You’ll be getting your first home together, purchase a car, and even finding employment with your spouse’s support. You get to travel around the world together. These moments are the times that help you to bond, creating a harmonious relationship that really can change the world.
Your partner influences your choices in positive ways just as you do for them. You’ll find that it tends to be easier to combine your life into your partner’s when you get married young than if you waited until your late 20s or early 30s to take that step.
List of the Cons of Getting Married Young
1. People change as they get older, and you might not appreciate the difference.
When people get married at a young age, they are still trying to figure out who they are. It can be helpful to have someone along for that ride, but it can also be a distraction. You might even find yourself married to a complete stranger one day because of how their character evolved over the years. If you can work out your issues and develop a friendship that serves as the foundation of your relationship, then you’ve got a great chance to make it.
If you don’t build that friendship, then you’re at a higher risk of going through a divorce. Either way, you’re stuck walking along a more challenging road than couples that choose to wait before tying the knot in most circumstances.
2. Attraction can fade rapidly when you get married young.
Many young couples find that the attraction they had during their teen years begins to disappear when they reach their early 20s. That means it is more challenging to find intimate moments together, which can create problems with communication. If you’re trying not to hurt someone’s feelings and you don’t want to be around them either, then there’s no real way to save the relationship. What makes this disadvantage even more difficult is that it usually impacts only one person, so the other takes the split badly.
3. It is easier to overlook the red flags in a relationship when you’re young.
When you decide to pursue marriage at a young age, then it is not uncommon to experience extreme highs and lows with that relationship. Younger people don’t have the knowledge to spot the potential warning signs of incompatibility that exist. You can find wonderful people that suffer from terrible demons out there. If someone is dealing with substance abuse, violent tendencies, or they can’t stay committed to you, then it is time to protect yourself first.
It is harder to tell if you’re not right for each other because your hormones are surging toward something that feels good. That means your perspective changes to justify actions that you would normally not accept in life.
4. You might be too immature to deal with the problems that life brings.
Young couples tend to struggle with money or healthcare issues more than anything else in life. When debt starts coming your way, it is easier to ignore the situation than confront it head-on. Those challenges can lead to arguments where neither person wants to compromise. It can be an issue that eventually brings you to a place where you blame one another for what is happening in life even if no one is to blame.
The cost of a divorce is a real issue that you must consider. Some couples choose to stay together because they can’t afford to split apart. Instead of finding yourself in that situation, take a few moments to consider your maturity levels. If you’re not ready for a potential lifetime commitment yet, then you can still wait a year or two – and still be getting married at a young age.
5. It can lead to feelings that you’ve wasted your time.
If you get married young, then you’re spending your last teen years and your 20s being with someone that may not have the same priorities as you. That can mean you could waste the entire first decade of your adult life on a person who didn’t love you in the same way that you did for them. That means it can be challenging to find a lifelong partner at that stage in life since you’re trying to recover from some terrible years.
Most of the people who experience this disadvantage of marrying young say that they regret trying to desperately seek the attention of a partner who never intended to give them anything in the first place. It takes a lot of courage to leave, which is why so many people stick it out until there is nothing else left for them to give.
6. You lose the opportunity to meet new people or try different experiences.
When you get married young, there are a few experiences that shouldn’t be coming your way anymore. That first kiss you share with someone stops since your spouse is by your side. You might meet someone that makes you realize that in a different life, they would have been your partner instead of your spouse. It can be challenging to settle down with someone early in life because it feels like you didn’t get to experience enough of what it is like to be single.
And that’s okay. Some people love the idea of commitment, and they can make their marriage work because they’re ready for that partnership. Others aren’t in that space. It is sometimes better to be certain than to rush into a process that you might end up regretting one day.
Data released from the National Survey of Family Growth finds that the ideal age to get married is between the ages of 28-32 in the United States. Couples who wait for that time in their life tend to experience the lowest risk of divorce. When you get married young, then the chances rise exponentially.
The young couples that make it all the way through life together tend to be the exception instead of the rule. You cannot look at the relationships your friends, parents, or associates have as inspiration. Your job is to make your unique partnership work with the person you love.
Maybe that looks like cohabitation. It could mean marriage. What you need to do is evaluate the pros and cons of getting married young for your life so that you can make the best possible decision.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.