Is 18 too young to get married?

My family have threatened to abandon me if I walk down the aisle before I graduate!

Well it is a bit young, says our elder. Can you give it another few months?

Dear EWC

When I was really young (about 8th grade) my parents made me promise I wouldn’t get married until I had my bachelor’s degree. I was young, though boys were weird so I agreed. Well, I’m now a freshman in college, I have been in a stable, happy relationship for three years and now engaged for two months. I did two years of college during high school and have the credits of a junior so I will be getting my bachelor’s in 2021. The only issue is that I and my fiancé want to marry sooner than later. I would have married him when I turned 18 if I wasn’t so anxious about my parents and brothers… I’m so in love with this man, I know we are young and trust me, I know it’s going to be hard, and I know it’s only a year. But I don’t get to see him often and I just miss him. I probably sound like I’m still in the honeymoon phase but I’d rather go through a hard time of getting married during college and at 18 than barley seeing him at all. I’ve read so many articles and there are good and bad things that come from marrying at 18. The only thing holding me back is my family. I’m really close with them and I don’t want to lose them if I chose to marry him now. My family keeps holding the deal over my head, and my brother told me that my family would hate me and abandon me if I got married before my bachelor’s. Isn’t that a bit drastic? I need advice on what to do…

GrannyJ replies

Thank you for writing to EWC. I think you are wise to give serious consideration to this important decision. There is a lot at stake, and I will tell you what I think from an outsider’s perspective. Remember, I don’t know either you or your parents, so I am speaking from a strictly objective point of view.

First of all, you are 18, and legally able to make the decision to marry. However, I imagine you still live at home with your parents, and they are possibly helping to fund your education. Therefore, they do have a considerable vested interest in what you decide for your future. If they are paying for your education, in my opinion, they do have a right to expect you to complete the program and get your degree. As a parent of two children, that is how I see it.

I also feel (and you are not going to like this) that 18 is too young to get married. You may be the most mature, responsible 18-year-old in the world, but you are still a teen, and still maturing. You did not mention your fiancé’s age, but I imagine he is around the same age as you. Neither of you has reached full adult brain maturity, which occurs around the age of 25, and sometimes even later for guys. Will you have the maturity to handle the stressful side of marriage, living with the same person (and his habits, good and bad) day after day, and dealing with conflicts that are sure to crop up? There are sure to be conflicts because that is just a part of life.

I doubt your parents would “hate and abandon” you if you married against their wishes, but they will undoubtedly not be happy. They know you and your fiancé will eventually get married, so my suggestion is to offer a compromise. Tell them you know they want you to have your degree, but ask if they would agree to a wedding if you wait until you just have one or two semesters left, maybe even next summer. Can you wait that long? It will be here before you know it. Even if you decided to get married before graduating (against your parents’ wishes), I still think you should wait a while. If your love is true, your relationship will survive the delay. After all, it’s supposed to last a lifetime, right? Which brings me to my last point. You have the rest of your life to spend with your guy. Waiting another eight to ten months to get married is peanuts.

I wish you the best in your plans and I hope things work out for you. Give some thought to what I have written and see if it helps you decide what you need to do. Good luck, and I wish you all the best!

Letter #: 449191
Category: Marriage

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