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 & 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.
Update as of June 2016:
“Unfortunately my husband left me shortly before my 24th birthday. But honestly, it was the best thing that could have happened to me. I’m living in a capital city, freelancing at a travel agency, working a day job, and advancing my education even further. I never thought I’d be divorced by 24, putting together film festivals, organizing trips to Africa, and getting involved in social activism on a local level. Even though there’s stigma attached divorcing young, it can be a really amazing thing if you look at it in the right way!”