A Case for Young Marriage

I’m engaged. To be married. To the man of my dreams. And, I’m 21 years old.

My parents and the rest of my family are super supportive of me, and they adore Chris. To us, this isn’t counter-cultural at all; I’m getting married at the same age that my parents did as well as many of my other relatives. Imagine my surprise when I heard criticisms based on my age. I didn’t expect my engagement to be the source of awkward silences and nervous laughter. Why do some people think that marriage is “too adult” for a 21 year old?

So a little background… I was studying abroad in Rome for four months with a group of thirty Catholic Studies students when Chris came to visit and proposed! This was an amazing moment in my life, but it was immediately followed by my fiancee’s departure back to the USA where the rest of my family also is/was. I wanted to just explode with joy, but I had no one to share it with. I didn’t want to be that girl who made everything about her, yet it was constantly on my mind. I’m engaged, I’m engaged, I’m engaged. I held my tongue and grew more lonely.

One night, our Catholic Studies group had an arranged discussion about marriage. Except that it wasn’t just about marriage, it was about how old people should be to get married. The supplementary reading was titled, “A Case For Later Marriage.”  Before it started, I knew it was going to be awkward for me, the newly engaged 21 year old in a group full of mostly single people.

The obvious answer is that marriage age depends on the couple and their discernment with God, but this group was overwhelmingly in favor of later marriage. People whom I considered friends were raising their hands and saying that our age group can’t handle the responsibilities of marriage. I know that I can’t blame these people because they didn’t know what they were saying and how it would come across to me. But, I was mortified. I shrunk into the corner and barely held myself together.


Maybe, I’m writing this because I lack the courage to tell people how I really feel. Maybe this is because people act like I’m not ready even though I know I am. Maybe, I am a little bit angry at the people who snickered under their breath, nobody here is ready for that. Maybe, I’m just sad because I didn’t hear words of encouragement. Either way, I had to write down these thoughts before they rolled around in my head one more time. These are some comments that people have said.

  • Marriage is hard work. (As in, you should wait until you’re older.)

Marriage is not going to be any easier if you wait until your older. There are always complications. There are always financial difficulties. Life is never perfect. The beauty of young marriage is that Chris and I got to grow up together. I know how Chris responds to challenges in life, and I know how he supports me when I have challenges. In my mind, this is better than waiting until we are both financially established and set in our individual ways.

  • There is no reason to rush into it.

I don’t think that five years of dating is rushing into anything. Besides, there’s no reason to postpone it either. I want to marry the man that I love! You’re ready when you’re ready. If you’re with the right person, there’s no reason to wait. You can absolutely know that you are with the right person. I knew during year one, and I’ve been dreaming about this engagement ever since. This is a feeling that I can’t explain to anyone else. It’s between me and Chris and God.

  • Young marriages often end in divorce. If you marry between 30 and 36, you’re much less likely to get divorced.

I am not a statistic.

  • The good thing about waiting until your older is that you become more financially stable, more mature, and more established as an individual. The good thing about getting married younger is that you can have sex sooner…

Oh, yes. They went there. Imagine the mortification that I experienced as I sat in this room of Catholic Studies students as this assumption was casually tossed around. I thought, these people think that I’m getting married just so I can have sex sooner. Even though I consider myself apart of this religiously affiliated group, sometimes I have to laugh that religious people always manage to offend someone…Even if everyone in the room believes in the same church doctrine. To address the comment, no, this is not the only reason why a young couple, like me and Chris, would want to get married. Young couples get married for the same reasons as anyone else. Because they love each other, they want to start a family together, they feel called by God, they are ready. So please don’t look at me and say, “I guess that I am jealous that you get to ‘do it’ sooner,” as if that’s the only reason anyone would want to get married young. Frankly, I find that insulting.

  • You need time to develop yourself as an individual before you get married. You need time to be single, so you can grow closer to God in virtue and self-knowledge.

Ahh, my favorite. Since when does being in a relationship make your personal growth stagnant? Somehow, people got the idea in their heads that they have to be a perfect person to have a perfect relationship with another perfect person. This is ridiculous! There is no such thing as perfect. Besides, people grow in virtue by showing it to other people, not by secluding themselves. You would think that being in a relationship is actually the best time to grow in faith and spirituality because you have someone supporting you, inspiring you, and challenging you.


Chris and I started dating when we were 16 years old, and I swear, I swear, that I knew during year one that we would end up together. I believe that marriage is a vocation in which the couple discerns their commitment through the grace of God. I believe marriage is a sacrament where the couple receives graces that aid them on their journey. I don’t believe that it is anyone else’s business to speculate whether a couple is ready or how to define this “readiness.” That is taking away the romance and the beauty of the couple’s courage to answer God’s call. 

I don’t want anyone to read this and think that I am criticizing their personal views of marriage, because you should do what is right for you. Everyone is going to have completely different experiences because we are all different people. So, maybe we should just stop worrying about what other people are doing and start supporting our friends at every stage of life. I know this would make me a lot happier.

Phew, got it all out. That wasn’t easy to say. I appreciate you for listening.:)

Love, Lizzie

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Our one year anniversary at 17 years old
klaesgeslawson-9538 cropped
Engaged at 21 years old.

9 thoughts on “A Case for Young Marriage

  1. Congratulations !

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    1. Lizzie Klaesges August 7, 2015 — 11:01 am

      Thank you!!

      Like

  2. Congratulations on the engagement :) we are all ready for different things at different times!

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    1. Lizzie Klaesges July 27, 2015 — 11:27 pm

      Thank you!

      Like

  3. Chelsea Davis July 4, 2015 — 6:31 pm

    This is just awesome- I completely agree with you on all fronts! Especially against the argument that there’s no reason to “rush” things so why not wait until later to marry. I absolutely think that when you truly, deep down know he/she is the one, then why wait any longer? Especially after years of dating! I hate it when people claim you’re too young to get married, because being an older person doesn’t at all mean all of the sudden things are gonna be easy peasy once married. I don’t think older always means wiser in that sense. Thanks for sharing and congrats!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This was a really good argument with well thought out responses. It is interesting that every single thing you wrote about could be applied to gay marriage as well. Maybe you should think about that.

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  5. Lizzie, you may not know me, but I know Chris and his family. I just wanted to say Congratulations on your engagement! I myself was married at 22, dating my husband since 18 and knew right away that he would be the one I married. I’m glad we didn’t wait until we were more mature, more financially stable, etc. because I got to enjoy growing into the woman I wanted to be BECAUSE of the man I married. It’s rare these days to find the one you love so early in life, but good for you. Obviously marrying young wasn’t an issue for me because that was 25 years ago and not an issue then. We are about to celebrate our 25th anniversary and I couldn’t be happier. We are very loving and supportive of each other and it has gotten us through many challenges over the years. Marriage is challenging, but nothing you can’t get through together as long as you are willing to work at it.

    I enjoyed reading your blog and wish you all the best. Do what is right for you and Chris and don’t worry about all the comments. People are usually just saying things based on what they have experienced and don’t always realize how it may come off to other people. Be positive and be happy and it will all work out.

    Life is so much easier when you are with the one you love.

    Denise Wynn

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  6. Great points Lizzie.
    The good thing about having gone this is that in the end it has likely brought you and Chris closer and only reaffirmed your decision…!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lizzie, as a 21-years old girl you look very mature in your attitude towards marriage and I feel that you are absolutely right. I am a bit older than you, but I feel the same. You should not listen to anyone accept your heart and if you know that you found your partner then go ahead. There are no general rules when it is about love and marriage. You are very lucky that you found your Prince, so enjoy it and take everything from life. It’s really interesting to read your post, you have very nice thoughts and light style, and you do think right. Thanks for sharing and my sincere congratulations, wish you happy ever after!

    Liked by 1 person

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