Why I Got Married at Age 20
Ten years ago, I would’ve been shocked if somebody told me I already knew the person I would marry.
I was 14 years old and struggling emotionally to make it through freshman year. I had one thing to look forward too - a mission trip to Jamaica coming up that summer of 2009. Over half of my youth group was going, which meant in addition to our weekly Wednesday night meetings, we had at least one other meeting during the week to prep for the trip.
Seeing this group of mission-trip-friends was the highlight of my week; I truly felt that I could be myself in front of them, including our amazing youth pastor. Which, as a 14-year-old, was extremely rare. I was close to everyone in our group (there were about 15 of us) but had a few extra close friends. One of them was Steven.
As meetings for our upcoming trip went on throughout the spring, I started to notice how funny (and not to mention... attractive) Steven was. Having just turned 15 years old, I brushed it out of my mind. I mean, my parents made it clear that I couldn’t even have a boyfriend at that point (those rules never work, by the way). Steven was also two years older than me, which apparently is a big deal when you’re a teenager. I decided I was ok with just being his friend because, honestly, he was a really good one. What was I thinking, anyway? I sure didn’t want to ruin a great friendship.
At the start of the summer, our youth group had a lake party. I remember ending up on a paddleboard with Steven, and we just clicked. The conversation was flowing naturally; I wasn’t awkward (although he was, of course).
It was only a couple of weeks later that we were officially “boyfriend and girlfriend”. Yes, my parents came around and realized they couldn’t keep me away from boys until I turned 30.
Over the mission trip to Jamaica, we bonded even further by doing physical labor together every day. Hard, sweaty work has a way of showing you every aspect of a person. After that trip, I knew he had marriage potential. The rest of the year was filled with figuring out how to be in a serious relationship at such a young age. It helped to be at the same high school, of course.
Over the next 4 years, we grew inseparable. I knew I didn’t want to live without him, but the thought of marriage at such a young age seemed like a fairytale that couldn’t actually happen in real life. We had both expressed the desire to marry each other and didn’t want to move in together beforehand. We began to think seriously about marriage.
On the plus side, we could…
Be together all the time
Move out of our parents’ houses
Buy fun furniture
GET A DOG
On the downside, we would…
Have to figure out how to live together without driving each other crazy
Be very, very poor (we were both barely making over minimum wage)
After thinking about these points, the only feared obstacle was my parents.
So, Steven did what any honorable young man would do, and asked my Dad out to lunch. After beating around the bush for a couple of hours, he asked the big question - “Do I have your permission to marry your daughter?”
My Dad said yes without hesitation. See, my parents had taught us well about budgeting, and if being “poor” was truly the only concern, why shouldn’t we get married? Our personalities were so similar (or should I say exactly the same - we’re both ENFP), we shared the same beliefs, yet balanced each other perfectly.
At 19 I was engaged; at 20 I was married. We’ve flown through almost 5 years of marriage, and 10 years of being together as a couple. To this day, the string of questions I get most often goes something like this - “Together for that long? How old are you? Why did you get married so young?”
Let me just say, when you know, you know. Watching my parents' successful marriage may have sparked that “fairytale belief” in me, but meeting Steven made it real. I didn’t have to wonder what marrying him would be like - I saw him interact in so many situations, that I could easily put two and two together. And what added up was this - you can go over as many “pluses” and “minuses” as you want, but at some point, you have to make a decision.
I know I made the right one.
If you have thoughts on marrying young, I’d love to hear them. Drop a comment below, and we’ll get to swapping views.