Monday, July 2, 2012

True Story: I Got Married At 19


This is one of many True Story interviews in which we talk to people who have experienced interesting/amazing/challenging things.  This is the story of Jordan, who married her boyfriend at 19.

Tell us a bit about yourself!

What’s up Yes and Yes! My name is Jordan. I’m a 19 year old Anthropology student at Mississippi State University. I originally hail from Monroe, Louisiana, but I moved to Mississippi as a kid. I currently work as a seamstress for a store that makes shirts for the Greek societies. When I’m not dying under a pile of homework or 200 tee-shirt orders I enjoy getting tattooed, cooking vegetarian meals, going out to see bands, traveling, volunteering, reading , and improvising funny songs with my husband.

What are the biggest misconceptions about people who marry young?
I definitely think the biggest misconception is that if you marry young you are probably from a lower income background. People often think of Teen Mom and trailer parks. Or that people who marry young come from conservative religious backgrounds. My husband and I do not fit either of these generalizations. Besides that the biggest misconception is that young marriages are immature decisions and won’t be successful. People seem to instantly discount marriage between people under 25.

How did you meet your husband?
I met my husband through my best friend. My bestie was my husband’s boss so I had seen Chris (The husband) a few times when I’d come in to see my friend at work. His beard made me go weak at the knees. We exchanged numbers and started talking to each other. We eventually ended up hanging out at my friend’s house where we just clicked. We realized that we loved a lot of the same things and that we both planned on attending MSU with hopes of becoming college professors.

When did you know that you wanted to marry him?

I don’t remember a specific moment where I just KNEW I had to marry him. We had always planned to move to MSU together and live with each other. I’m a very logical person so it wasn’t this huge passionate epiphany. It was a gradual realization that when I thought of my future I never imagined a future without him by my side. I couldn’t handle the thought of having to live without him.

Why did you decide to get married rather than just continue to date?
I admit we could have dated longer before we got married, but we really didn’t want to. By the time I was 16 I had traveled to almost every state in the US, been published, graduated high school, and enrolled at my local community college. I’ve never felt that I’m as young as I am. My husband also grew up very quickly for his own reasons. It really just came down to we both felt like adults who were deeply in love. We didn’t see the point of putting off marriage when we knew we both were ready for it and truly wanted it.

Was your decision motivated at all by religion or family?
Religion didn’t play a role in our decision. Neither of us are very religious people. I don’t really think our families influenced us either. My parents did marry at 19 and 21 as well though which is funny.

How did the people in your life react to your decision to get married?
Our parents were all welcoming of the idea and happy. Several people assumed we were getting married because I was pregnant which was untrue. All our friends were extremely happy and supportive of us. Our engagement party was actually an engagement show because all our musician friends came together and played a celebration show at our favorite bar. Everyone was just very excited. The only negative reactions I’ve ever gotten have been from people who don’t know me and my husband well.

What steps did you take to prepare for married life?
We didn’t do pre-marital counseling or take any classes though I definitely recommend them to engaged couples. We already lived together when we got engaged so we really just discussed what we expected out of marriage, our views on kids, what kind of life we wanted to pursue, our living options, budgeting, our plans in regards to education, and just the usual serious questions.

Is your life different than the life of your unmarried peers?

It definitely is, but not drastically so. I still wake up late for class sometimes, I work a part time job after class just like everyone else, I go to the bar when I’m not busy, and I still feel just as socially awkward and lost as every other college student. I’m just a college student who worries about health insurance, cooks real meals every night, and has a super cute husband who goes out with me and protects me from bros.

Have you ever questioned your decision to get married?
Of course! People who say they never have are probably lying. It has never been a serious question though. The morning after our wedding I cried for a good while I was so overwhelmed by it all. I was questioning my decision because it just hit me all at once what a huge choice it was. I very quickly remembered that I love my husband with my entire heart and mind and that I could not imagine a life without him. Other than that, I’ve never questioned my choice. I am lucky enough to have a very strong and happy marriage.

What advice would you give to others who are interested in getting married at a younger age than is usual?
Don’t doubt yourself. That’s the biggest thing that ruins relationships between young people. They begin to worry about their choice and growing up married and whether they’ll be able to experience everything life has to offer. As long as you’re really in love and growing in the same direction you’ll be okay. You’ll want to experience most of the same things and you’ll learn about life together. You don’t have to start acting like your parents and give up on all the wild adventures that come with being young. You just have a partner in crime now.  As long as you’re in love, have a good head on your shoulders, and understand that a marriage takes a lot of work you WILL be fine.

Any (respectful!) questions for Jordan?  Did any of you marry young?

26 comments

  1. ha, ironic! I had just turned 20, and my husband was 19 when we got married....today we are celebrating our 7th anniversary! :)
    Sarah M

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  2. I got married at 24 which doesn't seem as young as 19 (!) but thinking of the 24 year olds these days, I was like wow - that's young.

    I was straight out of uni, but I'd been together with my husband since I was 18 so it seemed like the most natural step for us.

    I think there are both positives and negatives for marrying young, but in the end - whether you make it legal doesn't really matter if you are in a loving, strong relationship :)

    It's just a label. Both my husband and I are still the same people we were before we got married :)

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  3. My sister got married when she was 20 and her husband was 21. At the time I thought it was ridiculous but on the day got really teary, realising what an important commitment they were making to each other. They're still happily married five years on!

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  4. To each there own! I wish people weren't so judgmental of those who get married "young." Young is so subjective!

    Congrats!

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  5. I got married two weeks after my 21st Birthday.

    In the space of about four weeks I handed in my disseration, handed in various assignments, sat 3 practical exams and got married/moved house. I was knackered and ended up with a chest infection - clearly all that stress was not good but we got there in the end.

    We've been married just over 5 years now. We're foster parents to a lovely teen boy who's a sweetie and got a really caring heart.

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  6. I, like Sig, got married at 24, which to me was, and still is, really young!

    We're three years in and for us it's just being super flexible. We're both still growing and becoming the people we want to be, and that involves a lot of change individually, and a constant re-evaluation of how your relationship works.

    It's the most fun thing ever though, don't let anybody tell you otherwise :)

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  7. I got married {pregnant} at 18, I don't think its white trash to take what you want from life and lead your own way. We have been married almost 10 years and have two great kids, waiting a few years wouldn't have changed anything.

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  8. We just celebrated our 24th anniversary, and I was 21 when we married, and my husband is 3 years older. I wouldn't recommend it for my children, but it worked for us, but I also lived on my own since I was 15 so I was much older than my years by then. We are the parents to 5 children, and I wouldn't recommend that to my children either, it is a path that cannot be lightly taken. No religious reasons either for marriage or children, but a complete trust in the Universe and myself!

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  9. I got married last September and am 20. I'm like you (the author) and was in college when I was 16 and grew up fast, so I already feel like i'm in my 30s or something!

    The last advice is great. The first thing my stepmom said to me was, 'But you're so young! What about doing fun things like traveling and experiencing things?!' I immediately started laughing and explained that, 'Hey, we both want to travel...together!' We'll be experiencing new things wether we get married or not, it's just different experiences, like cooking meals together and savings for babies instead of getting trashed at a frat party.

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  10. Thank you everyone for reading this! It means the world to me to hear positive feedback and other people's experiences.

    It's so great to see other people have gone down this path successfully. I wish more younger couples knew people like us! Advice from someone who has lived through something is very valuable. I'm so happy to see other young couples who have remained happily married!

    Congrats to YOU guys!

    Steff- Congrats, ma'am! I wish you many happy years together! Yes, I feel the whole 'you're so young how will you experience life?' thing is a huge deal to people. I'm not sure why people assume you can't experience things with a partner in crime.

    "We'll be experiencing new things wether we get married or not, it's just different experiences, like cooking meals together and savings for babies instead of getting trashed at a frat party."

    Totally agree with this one! You wouldn't marry someone who isn't into similar things as you, so you should be into experiencing the same things or at least very supportive. Even then if y'all like to party you can still party! My husband and I love doing domestic things together, but we still go out to metal shows and get trashed and act like foolish youngsters sometimes. You can experience ALL things- you just have to decide to do so!

    I would love to answer any questions anyone has and I'd like to make the offer that anyone can reach me to talk about this further at jmg483@mssttate.edu.

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  11. Oops! jmg483@msstate.edu is my email. Silly keyboard!

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  12. I married at 22, and was divorced by 26. For me, young marriage falls into the mistakes of my youth... and I think because of that experience, I'm a little jaded when it comes to young marriage.

    At 22, I don't really think I knew myself. I was just following along with what I felt I was supposed to do to appease my parents and other adults in my life, and none of that stuff was really ME... and my marriage was something that came out of a false belief that being married made you a "real adult".

    I don't think there's anything wrong with getting married young, but I think it's important that you are secure in yourself as an individual before you tie the knot. Some people are that when they're young, but I definitely wasn't.

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  13. I got married 7 months back at 29 years. My husband is 30 years old and I wouldn't change waiting till a later age for anything in the world. Having said that, however, I think any person should marry whenever it feels right to them.
    Though I was born and raised (primarily) in America, my parents are originally from Nepal where depending on the caste you belong to, arranged marriages are usually the way to go.
    They had an arranged marriage when my mom was 21 and my dad was 25, they've been married 34 years rock solid, still hold hands in the park and are very much in love... meanwhile, my grandma is 94 years old. She was married at nine with my grandpa who was 15 years old at the time. Times change so much within just a few generations! From the time I turned 21 till I got married, my grandma would constantly bug me about finding a husband... when I finally did he turned out to be literally the boy next door to her :)
    It was totally by chance, I was visiting Nepal for a trekking trip and BAM--I fell in love and I have since moved to Nepal and am living with my super conservative in-laws. Even still, I would do it all over in a heartbeat :) Congrats on finding love, I think it's the best thing on Earth.

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  14. I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks you so much for sharing your story.
    My parents were 18 and 21 when they married. They've been happy together for 32 years. I think it's a real misconception that if you're young, you aren't able to make a serious decision that's going to be affect the rest of your life. It's so untrue. Everyone is different, and maturity levels vary tremendously. I think if you feel it's right and you've thought it through, then go for it.

    I should add that I'm 26 and unmarried. I've been in a serious relationship for 8 years though, so who knows what the future might hold.

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  15. I also married at 19, my husband was 20, and we're coming up on our 5th anniversary at the end of the month.

    I think you are right on the nose with your advice for people who wish to marry young. It's not for everyone, but if you really understand what marriage is about, both practically and otherwise, and enter into it with a good head on your shoulders, you'll do fine.

    It's funny when you think about it, though. It used to be the norm for a woman to marry around 19/20 (or younger!) and only in recent years (and in western culture) has it become common to marry later. My grandparents were 18 and were married almost 60 years when my grandfather passed away. I know many people who's grandparents were even younger when they got married. I could write an essay on the societal factors that have contributed to the change (maybe one day I will!), but I will note one that I think played a huge role: The rise of "higher education".

    As it becomes more common for people to attend college, it's become more necessary as well. And if you need college, you don't want anything to interfere or distract you from it. I'll admit, being married has led to my college career dragging out longer than I would have hoped, but I think it's been worth it.

    (Oh, and I also cried after my wedding. And before. But I still think getting married to my husband when I did was the best decision I ever made.)

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  16. My mom and dad married at 22 and 23 and I was born a few months later. They were married for 20 years before deciding to go their separate ways, but neither of them regret marrying so young. My mom tells me that she's happy that I am still unmarried (I'm 25) because it was difficult to be so young and raising a family, but she wouldn't change her life for anything in the world. Being married young isn't a bad thing. I feel like in many cases, especially when it comes to the opinions of family members, the concern stems from what they experienced when they were that age. If they married young and felt as though it caused problems or loss of opportunity, they may not want the same to happen to you.

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  17. I love this story! I had just turned 20 [like 4 days before] when my husband and I were married. People told us it was a mistake and wouldn't last. Or that I would end up pregnant [like you Jordan if I wasn't already!] and never finish school.
    We'll be married 7 years this August. I have my degree. We have a 18 month old daughter and a wonderful life together.

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  18. Thank you for telling your story! I love this! It's great to hear someone with the exact same thoughts that I had when I was making the huge decision to get married. My husband and I got married last October when I was 22. I always thought I would wait to get married until I was like 30 or something. I live in Tennessee so when I was in college, a lot of my friends got married. It was such a crazy idea to me. Most of them were very religious so I understood, but I never thought I would get married so young. I had to "find" myself, and experience life before getting married and "settling down" (as if it was some sort of prison sentence) Then, my junior year, I met the perfect man who was so completely different from anyone I had ever been with. He's a little bit older and after about 6 months of being together (and 2 years of friendship), we started to talk about it. While I never really dated people just for fun, I had never really talked to any guy about marriage.
    I still sometimes think that we could have waited, but then that's only because certain career goals we have are conflicting. Then I think that if we weren't married, those goals might have pulled us apart, and that is something I couldn't bear to go through.
    People will still grab my left hand and are shocked that I am married (mostly because I look like I'm 16), but I just tell them that it was the right decision for us (and that we both wanted to get married before the apocalypse. haha). We are the ultimate team, and even though the first year has been hard (some say the hardest), I can't wait to spend the rest of my twenties and the rest of my life with him.

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  20. I loved this interview! My girlfriend and I recently got engaged. She's 19 and I'm 21 :)

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  21. I met my husband when i was 15 and was married to him 6 months later. we have been married for 21 years now and never once have i regretted it. We are best friends. He still surprises me with romantic candle light dinners and picnics. We have 4 kids together and we both spend alot of time with them. Yeah we both have our fights but one promise we made to each other is that we would never go to sleep angry at each other and would talk to each other instead of yell at each other. Another important thing is to always laugh with each other and tell each other you love each other atleast twice a day and mean it. also give them compliments all the time and always look at the good qualities your paretner has. young marriages can work just as good if not better than when people are older cus you grow up together

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  22. I appreciate you posting this! Me and my hubby got married at 19- 21 and it's been just over 7months. Yeah its been bumpy! & if it wnt for the fact that we wer married we would most likely be over so i thank god that wer married bcos it reminds us that yeah wer crazy in love we want to spend the rest of our lives together otherwise we never would have gone through with it. Once again like others have said it's not for everyone but you know if it's you. :)

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  23. I'm turning 18 this september and I'm gonna finish school next year. So me and my boyfriend were planning to get married next year when we get 19. :) He is 18 as well. We're in the Long Distance Relationship right now. I can't wait. :D I'm so inlove with him <3 <3 <3 Thanks for this words Jordan "As long as you’re in love, have a good head on your shoulders, and understand that a marriage takes a lot of work you WILL be fine. " You really inspire me. :)

    - Congrats

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  24. Hi, I am getting married in three days. I am 19 as well as my fiance. Getting married was never our idea at first when we began dating, but once we were engaged and planning marriage, we took our time to find the date, discuss the serious questions and get marriage counselling.
    Most relationships start out great, then once the fire dies down after a couple years, it usually ends cold. For my fiance and I, we started out on a real rocky road. We were into each other, but not as much as we could've been if our parents didn't push us. We learned each other's bad traits and weaknesses real fast- but for some reason, we stuck with each other. I started to give up caring so much, which he gave up some of his pride and started to care more. At first, we were not in balance with one another. But after so many hardships in the beginning, we began to understand how to handle arguments and situations through trial and error. We worked damn hard to earn each other's love and respect, but once we started to enjoy each other and really care about each other, our relationship only got better and better.
    Today, my fiance and I are so happy and we're not nervous at all about getting married soon. Although our relationship started different than most others, we still have to work hard at keeping each other happy.

    Commitment, Communication, Compassion, Conversion, and Compromise. The five C's in a marriage.

    To all getting married young, like Jordan said- work HARD in your marriage and DON'T doubt yourselves.

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  25. I am 18 and will be 19 two months before my wedding.. My fiancé is 22.. All we keep hearing from everyone is that we are young and should wait. I don't understand why people can't just be happy for us. I have been dating him for 4 years. This posting makes me realize I'm not making a mistake..

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  26. Hi I am 19, I married my husband a week before my 19th birthday. He is 30, as of last month, we are 11 years apart in age. Yet, we couldnt possibly be closer. Like what all of you have said, People assumed I was pregnant or dumb or something. Truth is I grew up wealthy, I'm in college and I met the man of my dreams and decided to not let him go. We met online on an app named tinder, a dating website that we both for some reason had downloaded. Looking back, neither of us are those types of people haha. I guess it was fated. We married soon, probably too soon, but I love him and don't regret marrying him. Everyday since I've met him has been better. He is the male version of me. We married in secret and didnt tell anyone even to this day close to a year after, my family has no idea.... they are very traditional and a marriage this young and with is big of an age gap would not go over well. However I hold steadfast to my heart and my beliefs that I did the right thing. People are so closed minded nowadays and something so beautiful and natural as finding the person you are ment to be with is looked down upon as being naive. To people like my parents, who by the way will know soon , but we intend on having another public engagement and wedding, to spare their feelings and allow for me to be older in their eyes, and more experienced. I don't know anyone my age who is married but I loved reading your story and I really was able to relate with some of the things people were commenting on here. Thanks .... my email if any of you are intrested in contacting me is shanicejudis@yahoo.com

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