According to marriage statistics, fewer and fewer people are getting married, and those that are marrying are doing so later than they used to. But some couples still buck the trend and marry young, in their teens or early twenties. What are the pressures and what are the benefits?
Couples who marry young may experience doubt from friends and family that their relationship will last. Some couples may receive little or no support. Marrying in your teens or early twenties also means you will change a lot as you mature. All of these issues can put pressure on a relationship.
However, many couples enjoy the fact they have grown up together and are upbeat about the advantages of having married so young, particularly when comparing their lives to those of their friends: "I look at many of my peers who have very young children, which means they have lots of broken nights, and I feel very smug! Our children are aged between 16 and 23, so we have a great deal of opportunity to serve God together and just do fun things, like travel, that those who get married much later do not." says one husband.
Another advantage to marrying young is when grandchildren come along. "It is a real bonus being young grandparents, as we can still do most of the things that children enjoy." says another couple.
Advice from couples who married young is to:
- Embrace change - the important thing is to grow together, not apart, and to accept the changes in each other.
- Don’t have children straight away - waiting enables you to build a marriage first and also makes sure you are not under huge financial pressure early on.
- Be proud of your relationship and the stability it provides for your children.
In 1996 1,800 single men and 8,000 single women married before they reached 20 in England and Wales. In 2006 only 800 single men married before their twentieth birthday and 2,800 women.
Figures From the Office for National Statistics: Marriage, divorce and adoption statistics 2006
© Crown copyright 2009
Adapted from an original article in Families First Issue 6, by Alison Hull: Used with permission.