Lately, a bunch of my friends in their early 20s are engaged to be married and are getting criticized for it. I used to believe you shouldn’t make that commitment until you have most of your life established, but after knowing these couples personally, I find myself defending them and their choice.
There has been more of a stigma towards people who get married a little younger than what is now the average age. In the past, it was the norm to get married before or in one’s early 20s. However, the standards of society have shifted and people who get married before 25 are easily dismissed as irrational and even foolish. You should have everything figured out before you get married. You’re young, you can’t possibly know what you want in life, which means you can’t possibly know what you want in a partner. Let’s not forget the fun! You’re in your 20s and you should be having fun.
More and more people believe that getting married early is a bad idea, as if doing so means you’ll be “missing out” on life. If you get married young, you’ll probably get a divorce. Now, I don’t think that’s a fair assumption, but I will admit that I have been going through most of my life thinking that I if I did it right and got married older, my relationship will naturally be better. FALSE.
First of all, the basis of which we judge a “good” relationship in this society has been pretty skewed. People have been so focused on the numeric value of the relationship rather than the actual value of it. For instance, people seem to believe that someone who’s been in a relationship for 4 yrs. must, by default, have the ideal relationship. While it may seem to be the case since the relationship has lasted a “long time”, people fail to see that sometimes couples stay together on the foundation of their desire to make it last, therefore creating something that just isn’t there. Age is another measurement for which we compare relationships to. A couple who met when they were 18 and got married at 23 cannot possibly have a more mature relationship than a couple who met when they were 25 and got married at 27, right? Age and time say nothing about the maturity of the relationship (although I agree that there is valid reason to wait to get past the 6 months-1 yr. honeymoon phase). Their is no universal numeric measurement for deciding how true two people are for each other because everyone is different with different life experiences. What if a couple gets blessed with a relationship that is both beautiful and mature in its own way? Is society justified in invalidating it just because the couple is young?
People are arguing that you need to have fun in your 20s, especially before getting married. But who’s to say that you can’t have fun in your 20s, even if you’re in a fully committed relationship and are married? Yes, your life may be slightly different from unmarried couples, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have less fun. Again, it depends on the couple and their personal reasons for getting married. There is also the argument that you should have everything figured out before getting married, as if having everything figured out beforehand will magically make for a better relationship. I think that as flawed human individuals, we will always have things to figure out in our lives. Is it such a shame to be fully committed to your partner and figure it out together?
Now, let me make one thing clear: I am not pushing for couples to get married younger; I am just arguing against maintaining our stigma for people who do. Yes, young couples will get divorced, but so will older couples. I know it’s hard because it goes against what most of society believes in now, but we should learn to put as much faith in young couples as we do in older ones. A good start is to stop judging the value of a relationship solely on its age and the age of the individuals in it.