The other day, I got a question pertaining to my thoughts on young marriage.
It’s something that I’ve noticed before the person asking about this mentioned it, but since I’ve graduated from high school it seems that so many people that I knew growing up are either getting married or are having children. Actually, more often than getting married are people having children, I’ve noticed.
So, I spent a LOT of time searching for relevant research material to this particular, topic, but honestly? I found little that would really pertain to this particular question.
There is very rarely a correlation between getting married young and having children young. Actually, studies show that less than 8 percent of young couples who have children become married within a year of the birth of the child. And there are approximately 750,000 pregnancies amongst teenage girls each year.
So I can’t put the two subjects together really.
But I CAN help you to make healthy decisions as far as things to consider if you are thinking of becoming a young parent or debating on marrying in your late teen/early 20’s. :)
Thinking of Getting Married?
Society has this way of making marriage out to seem like it’s the BEST thing. I love the idea of weddings and getting married, but actually being married, is real, honest to God work. A couple has to be willing to sacrifice parts of themselves and their everyday lives to gain anything. There will be fights over things from housing to children to jobs. It’s very important to really look at all of the facts, first, because marriage is honestly, a lot more than a pretty wedding and a pretty ring.
Well, some of the pros to getting married, I’ve found, are a lot of the legal benefits.
Marriage consists of a whopping 1,138 legal rights attached to it. You can find a more complete list of these here by the United States General Accounting Office (GAO), but here are a few of the significant ones I found on here on Wikipedia (and keep in mind that when I say a legal marriage, I, sadly, am only referring to heterosexual marriages):
- Income and Property Tax Deductions
- Joint Parenting Rights
- Inheritance Rights
- Joint Tax Filing
- Right to Enter a Prenuptial Agreement (Read more about that here)
- Funeral and Bereavement Leave
- Domestic Violence Protection Orders
- Veteran’s Disability
- Making Spousal Medical Decisions
Marriage isn’t a bad option if you feel that you have a truly great and healthy relationship with the person you are intending on marrying. Taking from Laci Green’s (oh, Laci Green, how I love you…) list for relationship “wins” which can be found here, a healthy relationship should include:
- And honestly enjoying each other’s company
There are some cons to getting married young including the fact that many marriages end in divorce for couples who marry young. Now this is in NO WAY to tell you that it’s impossible for couples to remain together, but currently, the divorce rates in the United States for couples between the ages of 20 and 24 is 36.6 percent for women and 38.8 percent for men. Surprisingly, though, for couples under the age of 20, the divorce rate is lower. But unsurprisingly, after the initial rise of the divorce rate for men and women aged 20 to 24, the rate drops as the age group increases. You can find out all of this information Divorce Rate, here.
However, I believe that it is really important to think about a few things prior to the nuptials to make sure you are making the best decision possible. I think that couples who are considering getting married, at any age, actually, should honestly think about their answers to these few questions:
- Why are you getting married? Is it to make your relationship seem legit? Is it so that people will take your relationship seriously?
- Are there any particular forces pushing the two of you to marry? Is family or religion pushing you two into this bond?
- Have you two spent enough time together to REALLY get to know each other and are prepared to deal with each other’s changes (because you guys WILL change) over time?
- Have you two had experience handling major problems together? Marriage often comes with hardships… anything from the housing you plan to live in, to financial falls, to children, can become a real, actual problem. Can you two talk through your problems and really understand that major problems WILL happen?
- And last, for the young couples, why is NOW the best time to get married?
These aren’t hard and fast rules, but they are food for thought when you are considering getting married young. It’s important, like I’ve said, to really look at all of the angles to make a healthy decision for yourself. Don’t let anyone else make the decision for you… think about these questions as honestly as possible, and make your OWN decision.
Thinking of Becoming a Young Parent?
Well… see this particular question might be a little bit more of a challenge.
I think this one is almost purely opinion-based. There is no real “right” age, actually there is no “right” age to become married, either. But it is important to think about the pros and cons of becoming a parent young.
From what I hear, being a parent can be very rewarding. Children become your entire life and they can be the hope we seek for the future generations. There is no real research to prove that, though. There is also the fact the, for the most part, your children will have young grandparents who will be around to help you raise the child.
I can’t currently find any particular statistics that prove this (but I did have a few the other day), but I will warn that it is very difficult to have a child and maintain receiving an education, if that is what you are pursuing. It’s very possible, but very difficult. There will be the issue of finding babysitters and working your class schedule so that you can really spend time with your child. There is also the fact that you may not be financially stable so young. There are a lot of organizations out there to help you, though, but it’s still a rough world raising a baby on little to no income. Some of those organizations are listed:
But just like making the decision to marry young, it’s important to question your motives for having children young:
- Are you financially stable?
- Are you at a point in your education where you feel that having a child will not harm your educational process?
- Why do you want to have a child?
- Is this solely your decision as a couple, or are there outside forces involved?
- A child is a person you will have to spend the rest of your life with… are you ready for that?
- Are you ready to handle the child at all stages of their life?
- Are you emotionally ready?
So yeah, I really really hope all of that information helped you guys!
You all are awesome and I’ll write again soon! :D