I am being compensated for this post as part of the Operation In Touch Brand Ambassador Program via MSB New Media. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
According to studies, male military members are much more likely to have married at a younger age than the civilian population. More than half of are married by age 25.
HOWEVER, getting married young has also been found to have a higher divorce rate in the military population, especially among young enlisted. Considering how many stressors a military marriage must face, adding youth and inexperience may also account for this higher rate of divorce.
Well, I had a ring on my finger at the ripe old age of 24. I guess by those previous statistics, you can say I got married young. I never anticipated getting married before 25. In fact, my now-husband and I were dating for 3 and ½ years before we tied the knot. We had lived in 3 different apartments, went through 1 cross-country PCS, adopted a dog, and shared banking accounts all before saying “I Do”.
It definitely wasn’t like we rushed into anything. However, according to our friends OUTSIDE of the military, it’s like “we left the party at 9pm.”
One child, one deployment, and another cross country PCS move later… I regret nothing.
My perspective has shifted. Thanks to the host of problems military life threw at us, I’ve grown and matured in ways I didn’t even expect. Marriage is hard. Young marriage is harder. You can only imagine how hard young military marriage is.
However, If you and your partner are mentally, emotionally, (and financially) ready, there are also some perks to entering marriage at a young age.
1) There’s less baggage.
With more age, comes more experience and potentially more baggage. My husband was my first real adult relationship, all of my grown-up experiences (living on our own, paying the bills, finding a grown up job), have been with him. The repercussions of a previous bad relationships never carried over into ours because they weren’t there in the first place. Because of that…
2) We had low expectations
We didn’t spend years dreaming of the perfect partner or the perfect wedding. We consciously made the decision that because we are in love and we want to stay in love for the rest of our lives, we should commit. Our wedding was small, it was on a military base (because we had no money and it was cheaper), and our first home together was a 700 sq ft 1 br apartment in a questionable part of town. But you know what? We were happy. And we still are.
3) It’s relatively easy to combine lives
It’s not like we had to fight over furniture or routines or schedules. When we got together, we simply figured it out together and create our own system. We weren’t set in our ways so it was easier to combine our lifestyles. It’s as if we wrote one book together instead of merging two separate stories.
4) We grew up together
We went through first jobs, first moves, first house hunt, first promotions side by side. We share those memories and it’s an amazing feeling. Our attitudes, our goals, our likes and dislikes have all changed. Because we got married young, we also grew up because of each other. After his last promotion, I am so proud of the man, husband, and father he has become. I know he feels the same way about me. We’ve come so far and it’s nice to have someone see this evolution.
5) Time is on our side
Getting married in my twenties has given me that much more time to be with the love of my life. He will be the one to truly help me through my lowest and then will be right at my side when I’m at my highest. He will be the person who will celebrate each and every milestone with me and who will know exactly how far I have come.
So before you call doom and gloom on yet another young military couple getting married, take a step back and offer optimistic caution instead of judgmental concern. There are some perks to getting married young, and it’s only through support, respect, and shared wisdom, that any couple (military or not) will stand the test of time.