The choice to get married is a wonderful one, but preparing to get married and planning a wedding is difficult enough without people judging you for how you do things.
I went to college in a community where many people married young, and the young couples always developed a sort of defense mechanism when it came to talking about their wedding and their marriage. These young couples were certainly tired of hearing these 10 things:
1. “Are you sure you’re old enough for this?”
Marriage is a big decision no matter how old you are. There’s no “right” age to get married, although the idea of waiting to get married until you’re older is a fairly new concept. Eighty years ago, waiting until even your late 20s to get married was uncommon, which certainly isn’t the case anymore.
It’s also important to realize that young women (and men) are used to making huge decisions in their late teens and early twenties. Where they want to go to school, how much (and if) they’re willing to go into debt, what they want to study and what career they want to pursue for the rest of their life are only a few of these decisions. If they’re old enough to make those kind of choices, couples are old enough to get married.
2. “Do you really want to settle down already?”
I can’t imagine anyone happily married and genuinely in love asking this kind of question. This one typically comes from friends enjoying their single life, but not always. Once you realize you’re in love and want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you don’t think about it as “settling down.” Really, the best part of your life is just beginning. Being married doesn’t mean you can’t go on adventures anymore – it’s the beginning of a brand new adventure with your best friend.
3. “But what about your schooling or your career?”
Getting married does not mean your schooling or career (or both) no longer matter. When you decide to join into a partnership for the rest of your life, you share everything. Sure, married life takes more planning and more discussion, but that doesn’t mean your career suddenly doesn’t matter to you (or your spouse). In some cases, your life goals suddenly matter more becuase you’re not just thinking about yourself.
In some cases, marriage doesn’t change anything about school or career plans. Many people continue moving on with their original plans once they say “I do”. The only difference is they now have someone at their side.
4. “Do you think you’ve dated around enough?”
I’m not sure why this seems so important to some people. Isn’t the point of dating to figure out what kind of person you want to spend your life with, and eventually to find that person? If you’ve found that person early on, why continue searching for what you’ve already got?
5. “Marriage isn’t a game, you know.”
I don’t know if whoever says this means it as advice, but it comes off as an insult. To those young couples, it sounds like you don’t trust that they know how to take their lives seriously. Sure, marriage will be tough, but it isn’t necessarily harder becuase you married young.
As a young couple prepares for marriage, they’re facing a huge, exciting change. Rather than judging them, offer a hand and see how you can help them prepare for this new chapter in their life.