Marriage can provide a great deal of stability in a relationship, giving spouses certain legal and monetary advantages, as well as bringing them closer together emotionally. But marriage isn't the best option for everyone, and has certain disadvantages for younger couples. The average age for a first marriage in the US is 27 for women and 29 for men -- roughly six to seven years older than first marriages of previous decades. However some couples still choose to get married much younger -- sometimes right out of high school.
Sense of Self
One disadvantage of early marriage is that younger people haven't had the opportunity to explore themselves much beyond their families, or small groups of friends. In order to develop a keen sense of self, one that is capable of contributing fully to a relationship, some discovery is needed about interests and goals. Giving each other several years to uncover these likes and dislikes will go a long way in bringing together more mature partners in a marriage.
When it comes to goals, you may know what you want to do right after high school. In fact, you may have your entire career mapped out -- right down to retirement. But funny things can happen when you go to college or start your chosen career. You may find that the path you chose doesn't suit you at all. Instead of a 9-to-5 job, you may want one that allows you to travel the world, for example. If your spouse isn't keen on going with you, it may spell trouble for your marriage.
It's easy to have things in common when you attend the same school, have the same friends, and live in the same town. Unfortunately, this can create a false picture of all the aspects of life that you share with your spouse, or future spouse. You may find that when you are alone together -- without the benefit of common pursuits -- that your true interests or perspectives just don't mesh.
Meager finances are a major pitfall of marrying too early. If you want a nice wedding, the average cost is $25,000. Then there are student loans to consider, relocating costs, and even possible child care expenses. Younger people aren't likely to be at the point in their career when they can easily shoulder such burdens. This can cause fighting and tension that leads young married couples to divorce.
- Fighting for Your Marriage: A Deluxe Revised Edition of the Classic Best-seller for Enhancing Marriage and Preventing Divorce; Howard J. Markman, Scott M. Stanley and Susan L. Blumberg; 2010
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