The decision to get married is certainly not one to be taken lightly. Most people consider a myriad of different factors before determining whether or not they want to be with someone for the rest of their lives. On that list of considerations is often age. Namely, whether or not you're too young to take the plunge. After all, marriage is serious stuff—you're legally bound to another individual and pretty much anything you do as individuals will be reflected on you as a couple. Being mature enough emotionally and mentally is important, but can you really put an age minimum on this? According to women who've walked the aisle earlier than those around them expected, the answer is no.
Cherie E. and her high school sweetheart, Jared, got engaged when she was 17, and the two were married by the time she turned 18. They'd been maintaining a long-distance relationship while she finished her first year of college in Wyoming and decided that the distance was too tough to bear. "He asked me to marry him when I came home for Christmas break, and I, of course, said yes!" she describes. "Although young—I was 17 when we were officially engaged and Jared was 20—we both felt ready to dive head first into the adventures life has to offer, together." While their parents were completely on board with their marriage, others weren't as thrilled, and the couple had a number of other family members and friends saying that they were too young to make this major commitment. The couple proved them wrong, though. Cherie and Jared just celebrated their eighth anniversary last June and say it was totally worth it, although the pair do say that getting married young did come with its share of difficulties. "While friends where sneaking out of their bedrooms, Jared and I were earning a living, finishing college, and eating all the burnt meals."
Not only did Brooke O. get married young—she tied the knot when she was just 19—but she had only been dating her now-husband for seven months when they said "I do." For the young couple, it just felt right. "My husband is eight years older than me, so for him, that was a pretty 'normal' life step to take, but I took my decision very seriously and think it's made all the difference in our marriage," she says. "I'm glad I got married at 19 because it allowed my husband and I to grow together—he wasn't yet settled into a career, so we've been able to discuss where we see ourselves in the future and plan accordingly."
Rachel K., who was 26 when she tied the knot, also owes her decision to marry younger than all her friends to a feeling that it was right. "We didn't live together before we were engaged, but knew we had an unconditional love and that nothing could change how we felt," she says. "We actually got married at the church on campus of the college where we met. We now own a house and have two kids, and we're the first of our friends to have children, too!" Rachel adds that her life has been so enriched by the promises she made on the big day. "We didn't have to second guess, put our goals on hold, or make excuses for why we weren't going after the things we wanted, like owning a home and making a family. I think getting married young allowed us have confidence in each other and our relationship because we have been through a lot together already. Why put life on hold when you are so sure about something so amazing, right?"
That same sentiment was echoed by Savanna F., who says once she and her now-husband knew they wanted to get married, neither felt there was a point in waiting until they were older. "I was 24 and he was 23 at the time. After a full year of long-distance dating, we were ready to start our life together," she says. "I'm happy we're married because it's so refreshing to know that I've found my person and that we're always in each other's corner." Another reason she's happy she tied the knot young? She's glad she didn't have to keep dating. "Dating in your 20s sounds pretty awful!" she laughs.
Looking back on her own marriage at age 21, Lindsey C. is proud that she had been able to make the decision for herself at that young age. "Getting married that early meant that I had a partner to weather the uncertainty of post-college career and life choices, as well as someone who I can reminisce about college memories with," she says. "Additionally, because of our age, we were also able to have a child by the time I was 27 and I'm happy to think about what life will be like with my husband once our daughter is grown and we'll still be in our 40s."