While at a birthday party in a crowded and loud pub, a woman I had met just twenty minutes earlier shouted at me, “WOW! You got married young!”
Dumbfounded, I didn’t quite know what to say, which is why the dreaded words pour out of my mouth, “Well, when you know, you know!” The fact was I hated when people told me this while I was engaged. It seemed to be the most cliche explanation that gives no guidance as to how to decide whether to get married.
Today in the United States, just 51% of adults are married, plummeting from 72% in the 1960s. The average age marriage for women is 26-years-old, placing me 2 years below the national average when I got married at 24-years-old.
Despite the facts, I am still taken aback whenever strangers tell me I am too young to get married. And you’d be surprised how often it happens. Once a delivery truck man at the back of Dunkin Donuts shouted, “You should’ve waited!” Apparently, he was incensed by my “Just Married” stickers still on my car two weeks after my wedding.
To this day, no one who truly knows me well has ever told me I got married too young, and I think that says a lot. While strangers are driven to madness and shock when they hear how old I was when I got married, my friends and family know better.
So what is it that drives everyone to have an opinion about getting married too young? A lot of people say those who get married young will end up divorcing, and they are partially right. However, “married young” means, at least statistically, getting hitched at under 18 to 19-years-old. That age group experiences a 40% divorce rate, while those married at age 20-24 experience a lower 29% divorce rate.
My own personal conclusion is that strangers are either shocked for the following reasons:
- 20-somethings couldn’t imagine getting married at their current age to their current partner
- 40-somethings see a young married person and lament the fact that they themselves got married too young
I don’t have any statistic evidence for that, but after being confronted by angry strangers upset I got married too young, I think it’s only right for me to have my own theories.
So what do you think? Have you ever told someone they were “too young” to get married? How young is too young? Do you care what age people are when they get married? Share by commenting.