Getting married young has always felt ‘right’ to me. I got engaged young and I haven’t looked back, but I have learned a lot.
I started dating my now-fiancé when I was 15 years old. As our relationship progressed, it became clear to us and everyone else that it wasn’t an ordinary teen fling. After just a few years, we just knew that this was it.
5 Lessons I Learned When I Got Engaged Young
Our parents’ successful marriages were contributing factors to our decision to get married young. My parents started dating in their late teens and have been married for nearly 30 years; my fiancé’s parents started dating at the same age as we did and have been married 35.
In 2020, after seven years of dating, my partner and I got engaged on Lake Erie. In the past year, there has been a lot that I’ve already learned about marriage, particularly at a young age, and what it means for myself and my relationship.
1. Getting Married Young Doesn’t Mean Settling
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that when a woman gets married in her twenties, she must be immediately in want of children.
Except, for me and many other twenty-something women, this isn’t necessarily the case.
Do I want kids someday? Sure! But getting married isn’t always the first step in the process of starting a family.
For us, marriage symbolizes a commitment and celebration of our love. It also marks the beginning of a new chapter of our story.
For now, we want to just enjoy this special time as a couple. We want to travel the world, hang out with our friends, and make spur-of-the-moment decisions. After getting married at 25, we will have plenty of time to think about having kids and “settling down.”
2. You Get to Grow Together
When my fiancé and I were young, he used to believe that you shouldn’t get engaged or married until you are “settled.”
The parameters of “settled” were unclear to me… How do you know that you’ve reached your final stage of adulthood? And how do you know that things won’t flip upside in 10 or even 20 years?
A large part of deciding to commit yourself to someone else is understanding that their life becomes yours now; you share in each others’ successes, but also failures. Since getting together, my partner and I have gone from teenagers to university students, and finally to adults. We’ve grown not only as individuals but as a couple—and there’s still a lot of growing to do!
3. The “Big White Wedding” Isn’t For Everyone
As a Gen Z couple, we discovered quickly in the wedding planning process that the wedding we envision often clashes with the more traditional ideas held by some of our friends and family.
There’s a lot of freedom in realizing that weddings can and often do vary. Some weddings—like my parents’ big Italian wedding—are focused on the parents of the bride and groom and include hundreds of guests and a five-course meal.
We’ve always known our wedding would look very different from this. We see our wedding as an intimate gathering of our closest friends and families, in a cozy venue centered on celebrating our love.
Another thing we learned was that you don’t have to do all or any of the wedding traditions. Some traditions, like the bouquet toss, felt outdated to us, while others, like the garter toss, were beyond our comfort zone. For many, doing away with these traditions might be shocking—but the beauty of a wedding is that it can be anything you and your partner want it to be!
4. Not Everyone Supports Getting Married Young
If I had a nickel for every time I heard someone say, “Don’t you think you should wait to get married?”… I’d probably be able to pay for our wedding!
Sure, there are many cases where getting married young doesn’t work out. Being constantly reminded of that isn’t exactly the warm wishes you expect as a newly engaged couple!
The fact of the matter is that every couple is different. While some people who get married at 20 also get divorced, this is just as much the case for people who get married later in life.
In spite of our age, our relationship has had room to grow and mature over the past decade. Not only do we have corresponding goals and values, but we have learned to accommodate each other’s individual needs and wants. None of that would change if were to wait to get married!
5. Living Together Makes Things Easier
I am eternally grateful that my fiancé and I decided to live together before getting engaged. I know this isn’t for everyone, for many reasons. But if you’re considering living with your significant other before marriage… I say, do it!
A lot of the issues I hear coming up between couples in the early years of their marriage stem from not knowing how to coexist. It’s a big adjustment to have to learn how to live with someone else and learn how to be a part of a unit.
The two of us have shared a home for four years. We’ve learned how to cooperate and how to distribute household tasks. Most importantly, we’ve learned how to deal with disagreements.
Trust me, regardless of what they tell you, couples do argue! But we’ve discovered how to disagree, but also hear each other and come to a resolution. All of this would’ve been so much harder if we had to figure it all out in our first year of marriage.
For us, getting married young was always part of our plan. We are two extremely like-minded people who are different enough to find each day of our relationship new and exciting.
With two years left in our engagement, I’m sure we’ll learn even more about getting engaged young. And through it all, we both know we can tackle any challenges, because of the strength of our relationship!