Engaged And Underaged: 15 Spouses On What It’s Like To Be Married Before 21

via twenty20/joonweh
via twenty20/joonweh

1. “I got married when I was 19 and he was 20. Our parents were really against it at the time and my Dad hated him because he felt like his ‘baby girl’ was being taken away from him. The first few years were really up and down with the first year being like a wonderful dream even though we were pretty poor. We did have a lot of money trouble for a while but we made it without asking our parents for anything which I’m proud of. Now, five years later, I’m in college and only have 20 credits to go before I’m done. After I get a job he’s going to start taking classes to be a nurse. Through all of this he and I have learned how to work together as a team in a way I didn’t think was possible. My Dad even likes him now which makes me really grateful. It also feels like we’ve proved the haters wrong.”

—Madeline, 24

beetlejuice

2. “Married at 18 in what I thought was a very romantic walk up to the court house. Divorced at 22 on the happiest day of my life. Don’t get married until you’re at least 25, I’d say. Everybody’s just a kid before then.”

—Rick, 26

beetlejuice

3. “Married at 18, divorced at 19. As soon as we moved in together we started having arguments because we were dirt poor. Since he was only a year older than me he didn’t really have any more experience than I did. Ended up hitting me once during a fight and seemed to discover that he preferred to just hit me and intimidate me every time things got intense. It was totally dysfunctional. I was like this typical nagging wife you’d see in a movie because, I think, I viewed him as a father figure rather than an equal. I remarried at 25 and my life has been much better. I’m not sure what happened to my ex-husband. I lost track as soon as I could.”

—Ann, 27

beetlejuice

4. “I was married at 20. It’s a great way end up wasting the next few years of your life if you’re into that kind of thing.”

—Chris, 25 TC mark

beetlejuice

5. “Married at 19 and after a year he was running around. One thing I wish I’d known was just how susceptible to peer pressure he was. He worked with a bunch of guys who went to strip clubs after work like twice a week and so he started going because he thought they were cool guys. Then he moved on to lap dances and before I knew it he was buying blow jobs out of the back of the place. He’d stay out all night some nights and he spent tons of money while I was home trying to get rest and go to work. I stayed with him for two years but mostly, I think, because I couldn’t bear the thought of people telling me ‘I told you so’ about marrying young. All my friends had warned me against it.”

—Michelle, 25

beetlejuice

6. “My wife and I got married early. She was 18 and I was 20. We’ve been married 28 years and have two kids both out of college. I don’t think it would have been any easier or harder if we had waited until we were older. When you marry someone you love at a younger age I think you definitely grow to become adults together. You just have to make sure you’re good to each other and do your part.”

—Dennis, 48

beetlejuice

7. “Got my girlfriend pregnant at 17 and we got married the next year after my son was born because for some reason everyone thought that was the responsible thing to do. We were married a year and I was working full time and in school part time. She stayed home with the baby. During that year she cheated on me twice. After the second time, I moved out and we divorced six months later. Don’t try and ‘do the right thing’ if you don’t also love the other person and they don’t love you. I don’t even blame her for cheating. We were both incredibly unhappy and our whole marriage was based on ‘duty’. That’s no way to live.”

—Jack, 26

beetlejuice

8. “We got married straight out of high school so we were both 18. It was in a rural area so while I wouldn’t say it was common to get married this early it wasn’t extremely out of the ordinary either. We were also both religious and in retrospect we were pushed by our church culture to get married instead of having sex outside of marriage. Luckily, we’ve remained in love for the last 19 years.

On a funny note, my girlfriends always ask me if I feel like I missed out having sex with different people. I just laugh, I guarantee I’ve had more and better sex than any of them have with those ‘different people’.”

—Janet, 37

beetlejuice

9. “I married my ex at 18, he was 25. We were married for seven years and it was sort of good at times, I guess. I didn’t really know any different and I came from a family that wasn’t big on expressions of love. Eventually, he and I just grew apart. I was lucky in that he and I both knew this wasn’t really anyone’s fault. We still stay in contact even though he’s remarried now and I’m seeing someone seriously.”

—Kendra, 28

beetlejuice

10. “I got married at 17 in lieu of just running away from home. He was 20 and we moved to Charleston, SC from southern Florida. If I had the opportunity again I’d have done it again although the first three years were very difficult since we were both kind of hopeless romantics. It took us time to figure out that marriage wasn’t always perfect. Ten years later, things are good and we have a three year old baby girl we’re both crazy about. I have my teaching certification and he’s about to get a degree in criminal justice. It’s work but we’re doing well.”

—Lisa, 27

beetlejuice

11. “He and I were high school sweethearts who decided to go to the same college. We stayed together through all four years and got married after we graduated. I know a lot of people can’t relate to it or think there’s something wrong with us but I’ve never wanted anyone else and he hasn’t either. We’ve been married ten years and we’ve been together for sixteen.”

—Kristen, 31

beetlejuice

12. “I got married last year to a 38-year-old man. I’m 21 now. It’s worked out for us so far. We love each other very much and aside from the occasional gross ‘robbing the cradle’ comments everyone can see how happy we are. I’m not sure when 20 became the age of a child though. It weirds me out that me marrying at 20 weirds people out so much.”

—Jane, 21

beetlejuice

13. “We got married at 19 and while we’ve done okay I’m sort of afraid that’s all we’ll ever be together is ‘adequate’. We’ve been together for five years and I keep waiting for us to get over that hump and fall in love again or whatever but I’m not convinced it’s going to happen. I have definitely thought about divorce and not even because I’m mad at her. I’m just afraid we might be holding each other back from happiness at this point. She swears that she’s happy with how we are but her eyes tell a different story, I feel. I haven’t seen real joy out of her since our first year of marriage.”

—Jason, 24

beetlejuice

14. “Married at 18 and after a year my husband wanted a divorce, said we married too young, etc. I told him I loved him and asked if he loved me and he said ‘yes’ and I asked him why he was letting other people convince him he was the screwed up one when they were the ones always bitching about how unhappy they were. I then asked him to give us a year. Five years later we’re happier than ever. It always amazes me how other people can see happy people and try to make them doubt themselves.”

—Catherine, 24

beetlejuice

15. “She and I married straight out of college. We both had jobs lined up straight out of college. We rented a small place together and paid off our school loans over the next couple years then saved hard for a year. I don’t know, it seemed very natural for us and we were ready and knew we wanted to be together. This didn’t work for other people but it’s definitely worked for us. I love her more today than I did the day we were married and I don’t know that you could ask or even hope for more than that.”

—Robert, 25 TC mark

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