How young is too young...

for someone to get married/be engaged?

Not just legal ages, but general opinions.

Do you have a problem with the legal ages? What do you think the age should be?

My opinion is that any age ending in -teen is too young. I think a person has to have been around long enough to be able to look after him or herself. There are certain skills you have to take into a marriage. It’s pretty hard to have any sort of larger view of the world and your place in it if you’ve just gone from being in school and living at home, to being married. If you’ve never gone anywhere or done anything or proven anything to yourself, what good are you to another human being, as a support system or partner? I think what I’m trying to say is that you need a sense of self, and a sense of purpose. That comes, I’d say, after 25.

Anything before 23ish is too young to get engaged, and that’s pushing it.

Anything before 25ish is too young to get married.

(There are countless variables, of course. I’m generalizing.)

As a rule of thumb I think the closer someone is to 30 when they tie the knot, the more confidence I have that their marriage will last. A 30 year old knows themself better than a 20 year old (or should). It takes a while to learn what you REALLY want out of life and a partner, and I don’t think your average 20 year old has lived enough to know what they’re all about.

This isn’t a slam on the young. I was 19 when engaged and 21 when I married, and despite being too damn young we both picked the right person and we’re generally happy. But both of us just cringe when we hear of a couple of kids getting married before they’re even out of college. Yes, people who married young stay together, but overall I’d rather see someone finish their education/training and live on their own for a while before getting married.

I don’t have a problem with the legal ages. Oh, I think they’re too young, and I think if we raised the legal age to, say, even 21 we’d see a LOT fewer divorces. It’ll never happen, though.

I worked in Detroit with an engineer from India who was arranged in marrige to a girl from India when they were about six. They had no contact for 20 years. He had just completed his second Masters degree when she came to America and took a job with Microsoft in Seattle. To our co-workers surprise they got married, continued/started thier relationship long distance and he ended up quiting his job and moved to Washington to be with her. He claimed that it was a common practice in India and that he never even thought about marrying anybody else. They are still together eight later and seem quite happy. Who would have thought?

I agree with Abbie that the closer to 30 the better. I’m 27 now and am a completely different person than I was at 21. It always blows my mind when I meet someone who’s 25-ish and already divorced, sometimes with kids. My mother was already on her second husband with a child from her first marriage by the time she was 26. I couldn’t imagine. She’s on her third marriage now, hopefully this one will last. I know everyone is always changing and growing but I really think that the most change and growth occurs between ages 20-30. That’s when you really become an adult.

I always get nervous when I hear about people getting married at ages 18-22. That just seems really young to me. That should be the age where you’re just branching out on your own and really discovering who you are as a person. It’s hard to do that when you’re so strongly identified as being attached to another person. You’re going to be spending the rest of your life with this person, right? So what’s the rush?

My sister was 19 when she got married, the groom was 21.

They’ll celebrate their 35th anniversary this year.

And, yeah, they were definitely too young to get married!

Just like to add that yes, there will always be stories of young marriages that worked out. That doesn’t mean that it’s a great idea.

Regardless of age, I feel much more comfortable about people getting married if they’ve moved out of their parents’ houses and supported themselves for awhile, not together. It’s always bad news to see somebody go from being looked after by her parents to being looked after by her husband, and vice versa.

Totally. I went from Mom’s house to a dorm room to the Carmichael household, and I don’t think having a private room in college counts as living alone.

It would have been nice/fun to have had a little bachelorette pad, even if just for a couple of years (and even if I’d been engaged at the time).

My little sister got married just over a month ago.

It was 2 days after her 18th birthday. 4 days after the groom’s 21st.

She was 17 when they got engaged.

Too young? Hell yes! But what can you do? If the family had opposed it, they would have done it anyway, but we would have lost the relationship with her as well - and then if/when it all goes sour she wouldn’t have us to fall back on. So while we advised her against it, we said our pieces and then shut up, and supported her.

She’s still too young though. And you couldn’t say we’re thrilled about it. On the plus side, since most of the guests were underage, the bar tab was the smallest in the history of open bar weddings (and I think it was all my family drowning their sorrows!).

I got engaged when I was 16, married when I was 18 (ten days after HS graduation), and we’re coming up on 4th anniversary and happier than ever. I come from a long line of early marriages–my mom was married at 18, my grandma dropped out of school and married at 16. I don’t regret my decision for a second. Having said that, I’m appalled when I learn that people I went to school with, or people my younger sisters went to school with, are getting married and almost immediately popping out kids.

Maybe that makes me a hyporcrite. Maybe I think I’m “different” because instead of having kids, I went to college and I’m finishing up my degree now. Maybe a part of me recognizes that things could have gone horribly, horribly wrong. Doesn’t matter what it is, I think anything younger than 25 is too young. Not that I voice my opinion IRL. They wouldn’t listen to me anyway.

I could care less, actually. I don’t think I should have any say in what other people do, and if someone’s in love and genuinely happy, at any age, I’m fine with it.

Of course, I’m engaged, at a young age, so I’m probably biased. Just to add another example to the thread, my parents got married at 18 and 19 and are coming up on their 19th wedding anniversary.

I think it should be an individual thing.

I turned 24 in February; Bird Man is 26 in July. We get married in June. I really think this is absolutely the youngest I would have let myself get married. We definitely won’t have kids for a few years, much to my parents’ chagrin. (They didn’t have kids until they were 26 and 27 so they have no reason to complain! My grandma didn’t even care if Dad got married, she just wanted grandkids! Think Amy Wong’s parents on Futurama) I think a big part of being ready to get married is having one or two long term relationships go totally sour before you meet “the one.” That way you know more what to expect.

I absolutely agree with this. Looking back on it, I can’t believe our parents – or his – let them get married.

It doesn’t matter. It’s all a crap shoot anyway.

30, yes, and it is a crapshoot as well. But you have a better chance, IMO, if you wait. Everyone’s in a rush-rush-rush to get married, have kids, do the whole thing. What’s the hurry?

Again, of course there are exceptions.

My husband and I got married at a pretty young age, but I don’t think we were too young. We were both 22, about a month away from our 23rd birthdays (our birthdays are 10 days apart), and knew exactly what we were getting into. I’m sure there were people who disapproved that we got married young, but most people agreed with us that we were just meant to be together.

I think the real problem isn’t that people get married too young. The problem is that too many people marry the idea of a fairy-tale marriage. They marry a diamond ring, a big white dress, and a nice party. Then when the fairy-tale doesn’t continue past the wedding night, all hell breaks loose. I’ve seen these unreasonable expectations from people of all ages, even from those who lived together before getting married. Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now.

I was 25 when we got engaged, 26 when we married. My husband is 10.5 years older than I am. I was an old 26, so I felt okay about it. I had been living on my own for a number of years and had graduated college and all that jazz.

In general, I’m more hopeful about weddings when both parties are closer to 30 than to 20.

This is exactly what I don’t understand when young people want to get married. If you really love each other, then your relationship can withstand a few years before marriage. Marraige is just a word on paper that doesn’t add love to a relationship, but it is written in permanent ink.

25 is the youngest age I’d be comfortable with, preferably older.

Hell, SpouseO and I probably wouldn’t have married at all, if’n it wasn’t for his family - they’re religious, so the document was important. And we married what I now consider young: I was 23, he was 22 (I’m now 28). Probably 22 would be my minimum.

Funny, tho’ - at the time, I didn’t feel young. Hell, I was four years older than my mother was when she married. At 23, she had two kids! (And yes, my parents married young, 19 and 21, and they’re still together, 36 years later.) I was, however, the youngest sibling in my family to get married.