Maybe it's because of where I'm from, but I've been seeing more and more young people, people my age, getting engaged and married earlier in life. It doesn't seem to me that this a particularly new trend either. My own parents got married at the ripe young age of twenty two (almost twenty three), just one and two years out of college respectively, and in just a month I'll be watching my twenty one year old cousin tie the knot.
I've seen quite a few people make comments that married young people are making a mistake, that their marriages aren't going to last. My own experiences can prove that wrong. My parents celebrated their twentieth wedding anniversary in August. Sure, they've had their rough patches but what couple hasn't? The point is that they're stronger than ever now, twenty years later.
Gen-Xers and baby boomers like to tout "millennial hook-up culture" as a sign that our generation is moving away from the institution of marriage and even the idea of loyalty to a partner, but I don't see it. Again, this may just be the area that I'm from, but what I see is couples my age who have been together for years, even since the beginning of high school. I see couples who have been together longer than some older married couples but are treated as if they're dumb for tying the knot after five years just because they're twenty rather than thirty. Is five years together at a young age somehow less valuable than two years together later in life?
The other main argument that I see is that young couples can't have enough money saved to support themselves. Again I turn to my parents. They started their life together as farmers just out of college, living in houses provided by the farms they worked for. They moved a few times and even lived on one of my grandfather's properties for a year or so before moving into our current house, just over three years after they got married. Of course, this was before the birth of my sister or the 2008 housing crisis, but it was still difficult to achieve on what I assume was minimum wage jobs in the early 2000s.
Today, my dad owns a company and my parents are financially able to send their oldest child (me) to a private college for $64,000 a year while FAFSA gives us barely any help. Money may have been tight in the beginning, but that did nothing to discredit the strength of their relationship.
And that's what a marriage is really about. It isn't about what kind of house you can afford or how much world experience you have. It's about the love between two people, the ability to work through anything together. You ability to love is no different at thirty five than it is at nineteen.
So don't let anyone discredit you for marrying early. The choices that were right for them are not the choices that are right for you.
To Emma and Brian: congratulations!