Moran: Stigma of getting married young isn’t determining factor of happiness

Ben Moran

I found myself scrolling through Facebook a few days ago when I stumbled upon a post from my cousin. This cousin and I are the same age but we’re at very different stages in our lives.

We graduated high school together last spring, making it easy to assume that we are at about the same place in the natural progression of life, but this assumption is false.

The difference between the two of us is she is married and has a child, house and steady job, while I am closing in on the end of my first year of college. Although our lives were on a similar path until the spring of 2015, we took opposite directions, and there is nothing wrong with that.

My cousin found the love her life in high school and decided to get married. No one knew what to expect, and I’m sure people tried to talk her out of the life-altering step, but she’s happy, and her family is well off. Seeing her posting on Facebook gave me the idea about the “young marriage stigma.”

Marriage age has always been a topic of discussion that shares differing opinions. I don’t see the huge problem of getting married young. I’m not advocating for people to get married when they are 16 or even 18, but I don’t understand why the 21-25 range has become so touchy.

As of late, the average marriage age is higher than it’s ever been. Men are getting married at 29 and women at 27, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This is up significantly from the 1980 numbers, when men were at 25 and women at 22. Lower marriage rates at young ages can be contributed to a rise in cohabitation, increase in education levels and the fact that it’s more acceptable to be single at an older age, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Because of this reasoning, it’s become common in most households for people to wait to get married until their late 20s and early 30s, my household included.

I was sitting at my grandma’s 86th birthday dinner in Omaha about a week ago, and my family began talking to my older brother, who is 24, about not getting married. There reasoning was he is still young, he has to get established and there is so much for him to still do.

The flaw is a lot of people think that to have a successful marriage they need to have their college degree, a stable career and a near perfect financial situation. Having all of these would help, but they don’t present the equation for a happy marriage. My cousin didn’t have any of these and is more well off in her relationship than some adults I know, despite having a family nine years earlier than the statistic dictated. This is because she worked for what she wanted.

Age doesn’t determine a successful marriage, but the the work that’s put into the marriage does.

The argument that you have to be established before you get married is flawed because marriage doesn’t necessarily work best when you join two lives that are already established. It works best when you join two people who are willing to establish a new life together.

Making a claim like this states that one must hang the hat of happiness in a marriage on the peg of money. While money plays a roll in the ease of a union, it isn’t the only factor that determines happiness, nor should it be.

So what if this generation isn’t as financially stable as our Gen X and baby boomer counterparts were at our age? What if the growing trend is for people to not get married until their late 20s? The stigma that getting married young will absolutely ruin your life isn’t right.

If you find someone you know you want to spend the rest of your life with, who cares if you’re in your early 20s? You will grow together as long as you both put forth the effort. The stigma of young marriage, along with the statistics, shouldn’t be the predetermining factor of success when it comes to tying the knot.