Going to the chapel and we’re…going to get married?

Kaye Herranen

Last weekend I had a terrible scare, and it had nothing to do with Halloween. I realized that I know six girls from my high school class who are already married, some of whom even have children. And they are my age! I know an additional few who are engaged or have children. Needless to say, I was spooked.

I can’t even begin to fathom being married right now, let alone having kids! I have enough trouble taking care of myself. My main day-to-day worries are still finishing my homework and getting enough sleep.

I don’t have anything against marriage or children. I think that they can both be beautiful things — when you are ready for them, and if you want them. I don’t want to judge anyone unfairly, but I find it hard to believe that anyone would be ready to enter wedlock at the age of 18 or 19. I didn’t even get a credit card until I was 20.

Okay, so let’s say you did really find “the one” at an early age — that’s great. But that doesn’t mean you also have to get married early. You can be in a serious long-term relationship for a few years. If you really are in love, you can wait. Your love will be there in a few years and probably stronger, too.

Getting married soon after high school just doesn’t seem practical. What kind of financial situation would you be in? If I got married right now, I would be bringing thousands of dollars in student loans to the table. I don’t even have a real job, and I’m not even done with school yet.

I’m not trying to be cynical here; I just really don’t think getting married at 18 or 19 is a good idea. I hope that each marriage works out, and that the couple is happy, but I think that getting married so young can really put a strain on an otherwise strong relationship.

Dealing with finances and even living together could stress the relationship. Waiting until you are older — and maybe better able to deal with those issues — might take some of the stress out of a marriage.

Some of the people I know who got married early did so because of extreme circumstances, and that does make a difference. Some wanted to get married before their significant other got deployed.

In that instance, I understand wanting to get married sooner rather than later. Getting married before a deployment ensures financial support for the spouse, no matter what happens. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to have a significant other be deployed, or how I would react in that situation.

Getting married young is clearly no new trend, most of our grandparents got married young, but I’m wondering if this has increased in recent years.

Has the recession contributed to this at all? Maybe couples want to save money, so they move in together, and then get married quicker? Or maybe in a time of national insecurity, people are turning more toward institutions they view as stable and long-lasting?

Why so many young-adults are rushing into marriage, I cannot understand. At this point in my life, my focus is school. Once I’m done with my education, then I will feel more like a real adult, ready to take on more serious commitments. But for now, the only reason I’m going to the Memorial Chapel is for conservatory events and academic lectures.