People will always have their own idea of what's the "right" age to get married. So we asked members of the BuzzFeed community about the things they want people to know about getting married at a really young age.
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Here's what they shared:
1."At 19, I married a 43-year-old man. I wish I understood how we would never be on equal footing. Being in a relationship with a much older man at that age made me grow up a lot faster in ways I wasn’t ready for yet. It also stunted my growth in areas that I should have been experiencing as a young woman in my twenties. It wasn’t until after my divorce at age 30 that I was able to really grow and become my own person."
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2."I met my now-husband in college when I was 19 and he was 20. We had an instant connection, and when he proposed on our first date, I accepted, but we kept it quiet for about six months. Both of our parents told us we were too young, and they didn't respect our feelings for each other. We ended up having a very small and inexpensive wedding that we paid for on our own when I was 21 and he was barely 23. We have been married for 18 years now. My advice to people is to trust your gut. Sometimes you just 'know.'"
3."I got married the first time at 18. The biggest thing I learned is that when you go straight from your parents' house to married life, you never really get the chance to solidify your own identity. You’re forever identifying yourself as someone’s kid, someone’s spouse, someone’s mom. After I got divorced, I didn’t really know who I was on my own, and so many of my interests were my ex’s interests. I went and retried everything to decide for myself who I am and what I like/dislike."
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4."We got married at 22 and 25 and started having babies two years later. Do we regret it? No. Would we recommend it? No. Everyone is different, but we had to learn how to be adults together. We had to make all those big decisions, like careers, housing, parenting, and finances, at a time when we weren’t emotionally mature enough to do so. We love each other deeply and will be celebrating our 20th anniversary this year, but we missed out on the adventures and fun mistakes that take place in your twenties and early thirties."
5."There is a difference between being married and being a spouse. My ex-husband and I got married when he was 20 and I had just turned 24. He actually enjoyed being married, but he wouldn’t follow through on things our family needed from him as a husband. He wanted complete control over the finances at first — and I didn’t mind, until he didn’t like working, so he just stopped showing up. He would also lend his mother our rent money so she could buy weed and alcohol and pay her phone bill, causing us to incur late fees on our own bills."
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6."I was married at 19 and thought we knew exactly who we were. But I was divorced by 22 because he and I just were not on the same page in terms of finances, education, and work. I took more time to travel, had more experiences, and really dug into my job. I didn't have another relationship until I was 28, and I'm now married to a man who is on the exact same page."
7."Nobody will be happy for you or root for you. We got engaged at 17 and married at 19 so that we could build our lives together. We’ve grown as people individually and as a couple, and it’s been an amazing journey. Everyone sees us as 'such a wonderful couple' now, but we really missed the excitement and celebration from others early on."
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8."I got married at 19, and to be honest, it was the greatest thing that happened to me. I think there is a misconception that if you get married young, you don’t realize or understand the difficulties of marriage before you get married. My husband and I knew each other practically our whole lives, became best friends, and dated for four years. We had multiple discussions with each other, with parents, and with other married couples about marriage. We understood what we were getting into and wanted to."
9."We married when I was 19, and we celebrate our 25th anniversary this summer. But on our second anniversary, we were told we 'won' because no one thought we would last more than two years. If you choose to make bets with others on how long the marriage will last, DO NOT TELL THE BRIDE OR GROOM EVER."
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10."My partner and I got married on a whim after dating for about five months when I was 21 and he was 25. There was no buildup, no wedding planning, no announcement. And you know what? The next morning, we realized (with relief) that the only real difference was our tax status. Eight years later, we joke that we’re still actually just boyfriend and girlfriend. I can’t say for sure if wedding hype is a contributing factor to divorce rates, but it was really nice being able to take our time."
11."I met my partner in 2002 when we were 22, and we got married in 2004. The primary reason we got married so young was immigration. He was from the UK, and we met when he was studying abroad in California. We knew the odds were against us, so we didn't take ourselves too seriously. I never changed my name, we didn't exchange rings until 2009, and we have never merged our money. For us, the key to us lasting was flexibility, independence, and being comfortable doing things nontraditionally."
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12."We met and fell in love at 17 and got married at 23 when I finished my master's degree. Because he is in the military, a LOT of people assumed it was because I wanted his medical benefits or I wanted to lock him down before he deployed. Even family members and friends made derogatory comments about me becoming a military spouse. Our marriage has survived four military moves and three years of fertility treatments. The hardest thing about marrying young was that most of our friends were or are single, and it became difficult to relate to people our age."
13."I was 19. He was 23 and in the Army stationed overseas. I left college to marry him because I knew that’s where my future happiness lay. Everyone — and I mean EVERYONE — said we were too young and it wouldn’t last. I’m 68, he’s 72, and we just celebrated our 49th wedding anniversary. We are so lucky to have found each other so young."
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14."I got married at 18 with my ex deploying to Iraq and us discovering that we were pregnant. Nobody warned me about how we would grow into absolutely different people over our twenties and would end up hating each other by the time we reached 30. I spent many years afraid of leaving from mental and emotional abuse, but we have finally come to terms with the fact that we are completely different and, 11 years later, have nothing in common anymore. I'm so thankful that we were able to separate on good terms and we both have happy, healthy relationships now."
15."I'm 15 years into a relationship with one child, and the only reason I am still here is because of our child. My partner refuses a divorce, refuses to seek counseling, and is still doing the same things he was doing when we first got together. (I had just turned 18. He's six years older.) It's better to wait until your mid- to late twenties to consider a serious relationship and children. At least let your brain finish developing."
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16."A few months after my husband proposed, we went on an 'engagement moon' (a vacation we took to relax during the stressful time of wedding planning). Weeks after we returned, I found out I had gotten pregnant on the trip. Although we were engaged for well over six months at this time, people completely disregarded that and assumed he only proposed because of the pregnancy. Little did they know we had already suffered through a miscarriage together earlier in our relationship and planned on trying to start a family immediately after we were married."
17."My culture isn't like this, but this definitely speaks to my husband's and my story. Our families have a history of marrying young with long, healthy marriages. We married at 22 and 23, and we have a son. We're so glad that we can fully enjoy and participate in his childhood without having to worry about our age slowing us down or presenting potential issues when we decide to expand our family again."
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18."I was 21 and my husband was 23 when we got married. We grew up extremely conservative and were pressured by purity culture to wait until marriage to have sex. We dated for three years before getting married, and while we were still young, we felt like adults and couldn't imagine waiting any longer. We've now been married for six years, and while it largely worked for us, I wouldn't recommend it."
"The negative effects of purity culture on our sex life are still an issue, and while we've had over a year of therapy, there are some things that could only have been solved by understanding each other's sexual needs and desires earlier on in the relationship."
19."In my culture, getting married at a young age is accepted and expected. We’re all about starting families so you can have gratification in your lifetime from seeing them grown and married. Also, we’re super family-oriented, so we believe that starting your own is a privilege and that it's something beautiful to want to build with someone from a young age. It promotes lots of character development because you have a goal in mind, which is to be mature and responsible enough to start a family."
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20."I'm LDS (Mormon) and got married at 19. Funnily enough, I didn't get married for sex, pregnancy, or religious reasons. I got married because I am so madly in love with him and we are in a good place financially! There's always a harsh stereotype that we got married because we were brainwashed into it. We are fully capable of making our own decisions, and we thought long and hard about it."
21."I was 22 when I got married, and I grew up in the Bible Belt of Texas, so it was definitely encouraged to get 'a ring before spring' (i.e., get engaged before the spring of your senior year of college). However, despite that, a lot of people were actually discouraging us about marriage, harping on 'how much work marriage is!' But we're still so in love 12 years later!"
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22."I had an arranged marriage at 18, and he was 20. It’s really nice to have someone go through the same aging process with. We’re in our thirties now and are probably more comfortable with each other than ever before. Gray hair, weight gain, it doesn’t matter. The love is still there!"
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.