I got engaged on 5 March 2009 and married 6 months later on 5th September aged 20.
I was still at Uni and had only officially been dating Mark for 6 weeks, though I had known him for more like 18 months.
In all honesty, it came as a massive shock to me that I wanted to get married. Although it was something I wanted and had planned on happening sometime in my future, I definitely wasn’t looking for it and was quite enjoying the single life and dating lots of different people. When someone expressed their surprise that I was having a ‘shotgun wedding’ I just replied, ‘well when it’s right you just know,’ and I guess that’s how I felt – I knew what I wanted and didn’t see a reason to wait.
Mark and I were both at university and I was going to spend a year abroad so when we started to get closer and more serious it was really on my mind. Do I want to get into this? Do I want a long distance relationship? How is this going to work?
If I wasn’t going abroad then I definitely wouldn’t even have thought about discussing these things; I knew I really liked mark but didn’t want to waste my time if we were just going to break up when I moved away because I definitely didn’t want a long distance relationship. Anyway, we made the decision to get married and Mark was going to come with me to Austria.
When we announced it I think most people didn’t believe I was serious, thought I was ‘engaged to be engaged’ and had no plans to get married for quite some time.
I actually lost a really close friend over this, she thought I was making a massive mistake and just stopped talking to me and didn’t come to the wedding. At the time it really hurt me, I was the same person I had always been and, to me, getting marriage didn’t change that but she obviously thought differently.
During the time I was engaged I did have lots of comments saying I was too young to get married, what was I thinking, it’s really weird.
Since I have a religious background I do know plenty of other people who go married around a similar time to me but I knew only 1 other person from school who was married at the time and I know people thought it was weird.
But I knew loads of people from school who had a child, maybe even two or three.
I admit, I’m not living their lives so I don’t know what people might have said to them about having children young but some of these people with children were saying that I was too young to get married.
Yes, marriage is a big commitment. You commit to stay with them for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, through thick and thin. You promise to love them and nobody else.
It can last a life time.
But it doesn’t have to.
If you did get married young and decided you made a massive mistake and you want to run for the hills, then you can.
You can learn from it and either decide not to do it again or choose to do it differently next time.
But if you have a baby, you can’t just decide after 5 years that actually, it was nice while it lasted but you don’t want this child anymore. Or think, this one is hard to live with, I want a different one.
Having a child is a life long commitment, at the very least you’re committed for 18 years. That child relies on you for everything. It’s a completely different commitment yet people think marriage is the harder one.
I’m not saying that you need to be married to have a baby – just that people who choose to get married young shouldn’t be made to feel like they are stupid and/or crazy because
A) they’re big enough to make their own decisions and they know what they are doing
B) if in fact they were stupid and/or crazy – it’s ok. They don’t have to stay married.