18 Years Ago Today

18 years ago today, I was 18 years old. It was October 26th, 1991. And I was getting married.
The first question you might ask is, WHY? What was I thinking?
I wasn't pregnant, which is what most people probably would (and probably did) assume. Our first child wasn't born until March 30th, 1993.
My only explanation is I was in love, I thought I knew it all, and I was just determined to get married, regardless of what anyone else thought.
And that stubborness is part of what kept us together for over 11 years. So many people said we'd never make it, and we wanted to prove them wrong.
But they were right.
Statistically, teenage marriages are 2 to 3 times more likely to end in divorce. There are many reasons for this, but in my opinion and experience, it all boils down to one thing. Very few 18 year olds have the wisdom and maturity to choose a life partner.
In general, when teens marry, they do so for all the wrong reasons. Pregnancy is most often the reason, but other reasons are getting out of the parents' home or to ensure that the relationship will last. I think both of those reasons factored in for us.
Fortunately, teenage marriages are on the decline. Teen pregnancy rates are still high, but the rush to get married just isn't there any more.
I know there are exceptions to this, teen marriages that end up very successful and long-lasting. Feel free to tell me your story in the comments. I do know several couples who got married very young and are still together. I think it's great that they made it, and I'm sure it wasn't easy. Even the best marriage takes work, and when you're very young, that can be so hard, and so overwhelming. And when you've made the wrong choice for a partner due to immaturity and life experiences....it's so, so much harder. Also, the fact that my parents' marriage was full of screaming arguments, dysfunction, and a total lack of respect definitely influenced that decision.
I was 19 years old, almost 20, when my son was born. I don't regret having him so young at all. In fact, that was one of the best things that ever happened to me.
But getting married young is one thing I fervently hope my children do not do. I want them to wait until they have more life experience, maturity, and have truly gotten to know their own selves, before they take that step to be joined with someone else forever. I was SO stubborn and have always had to learn things the hard way. But I want so much better for my children.
The bright side is that all the bad in that marriage made me SO appreciate the good in my second marriage. And I am so lucky that there is so much good to appreciate!
Live and learn.


Cairo Typ0 said...

Hi, i'm visiting from SITS! :)

I don't think any of us realize how much we change in our 20's. My husband and i are nothing like the people we were when we met and later married. It took us a while to accept that and embrace those changes.

Keeper of the Skies Wife said...

WE got married at 16 & 18....and yes, I was pregnant. We also knew we loved each other. We have been together 23 years....married 22 in December. It has NOT been easy AT ALL!!! It takes SO much work and dedication. We not only raised our daughters....we raised each other sort of speak. We grew up with our kids. Even though I was a teen mom and a married as a teen....I am SO against it!!! Probably because I know how hard it was back then and how much I missed out on. I had to become an adult over night. We stressed that to our girls...and thank the Lord they listened. Now 21 & 20 they are in college and living life!!


Tara R. said...

I got married well into my 20s. I don't think I was ready to commit to anyone, even myself when I was younger. I'm glad I waited and hope my daughter, who just turned 20, will too.

parentingBYdummies said...

I thought I knew who I was gonna marry when I was 18. Luckily I (or I guess I should say he) made sure that didn't happen and I was able to turn around and find the love of my life (well, no, I'm not married to Justin Timberlake, but a close second I think!). We've only been at it for 7 years, but so far so good!

Tammie said...

im so glad your second marriage has been a good one.

i got married at 19 and am still happily married, but it hasnt always been easy. i think some of the reasons its worked for us are that my husbands older than me and had been married before, so he came into our relationship better knowing what he wanted. also, i was an only child so i always had to be a bit more mature than other kids my age. that being said, my hubs and i have both grown a lot in the last 13 years and we've grown together and in the same direction. i think we are very very lucky.

i dont want my children to get married young either. in fact id be prefectly happy if they never got married as long as that made them happy.

growing up in a conservative religion, i knew a lot of kids who got married young because they thought they were in love, but really it was all hormones--they wanted to biblical speaking, be allowed to have sex. (sex before marriage was a no no.) i know of a lot of marriages that only lasted a year.

cat said...

Oh wow, that was really young. I got married relatively old (33) but I think we got our kids too late. I would really suggest having your kids in your late 20s to early 30s - but then, some of us do not meet MR Right until much later.

Kel said...

I was 19 and he was 18 my first marriage. No I wasn't pregnant and I was already away from home, but something about him made me say yes. It was wrong, we were wrong...everything about it changed after it was official, but in the end I learned A LOT about myself that I needed to know. It is not something I would ever want for my children...but if they were happy then I would stand behind them and hope that they were making the right decision for the 'right' reasons.

Brandy said...

I got married when I was 21, which is still pretty young to make that kind of commitment. Especially when I had only known my hubs for about 8 months. I'm sure people thought we were pregnant too, but no we were in love.

And still are. Twelve years later he's still my best friend & soulmate.

Ramblin' Red said...

My husband and I began dating when I was 16 and he was 19. 2 1/2 years later we got married. By the grace of God we are still married - and happily so. But most of our marriage that was not the case - too young, too selfish and just not ready. Now 11 years later, we're finally getting it right. I used to say that I would never have gotten married so young if I had it to do over again, but without that I don't know that I would have GROWN so much...so it's worth the heartache when you can make it work!

LceeL said...

Sometimes - just sometimes - it DOES work, though. I met my wife when she was 16. We married when she was 17. I was 31. We had parental permission. We had a stillborn girl three and a half years later and our first son one and a hlaf years later. So no, we weren't pregnant. We were in love. We ARE in love - thirty two and a third years later.

Sometimes it works.

Tater Tot Mom said...

I have always thought that it's completely crazy that the world expects you to choose what you are going to do with the rest of your life at such a young age. If you go to college you have to choose a major that will shape the next 70 or 80 years of your life. If you don't then you get married and find a life path...it's hard to make those life decisions when you're so young!

♥ Becky ♥ said...

I hope the same thing for my children too.
I got pregnant at 16 but didn't do the marriage thing until I was 22. Still did it for the wrong reasons but had another beautiful child out of it.
Now that my daughter is 18, I am so glad that she hasn't entirely followed in my footsteps. I can happily say that I did not become a grandma at 33. She has chosen a different destiny for her that brings no kids at all. Although I'm still hoping she will change her mind later.
I want my kids to experience their 20's like I never got to. I want them to experience more in their young lives than I was able to. I don't regret my choices one bit, only wish I would have been a little older.

shortmama said...

I almost got married at 18 as well and Im so glad that I didnt! Of course back then I thought I was mature enough and ready to handle it all, but then I ended up marrying at 21 and it was still a learning process. Learning how to truly be with someone, to live with someone.

Kat said...

I think everything happens for a reason. Like you said, you appreciate your husband so much more after having gone through what you did with the first. Live and learn. I agree. :)

Twisted Fencepost said...

I, too, married very young. And no, it didn't last. Seven years and it started going downhill from there.
Hind sight's 20/20.

Jenners said...

Sooooo true!

In college, I was convinced I had "found the one." Looking back, I realize it would have been a disaster of the highest order.

The thing is, I waited until I was 27 to get married (the first time) and it was still a mistake. There is a lot to figure out before you can truly make a lifelong commitment to someone.

I was lucky to get another shot and this one is the one that will last! If nothing else, due to complete laziness on both our sides! : )

Twincerely,Olga said...

great post! I, too got married at 18.Best thing out of it was my two girls!! You made alot of good and true points!

Grace said...

While I wasn't young when I got married... I was engaged a teen-ager. However, he is not the man I married. I wasn't the same person when I did meet my husband in my late 20s. I loved the opportunity to enjoy my single life for some time before I met and married. The down side is that I'll be old and senile when my own kids are ready to marry and give me grandbabies (God willing this will be the case).

Regardless the age or reason we first get married... it is a commitment and it is work... but the rewards can be great.

Erin said...

I was 22, married my high school sweetheart right after we discussed breaking up, NICE! But we married young, we were in love with the fact of being in love, like you to prove everyone wrong, we would make it...we were together for 10 years, married for half of that, but ultimately he said "I don't want to be married anymore" and after my brother was killed I so desperately wanted to get pregnant to fill that void, Thank God I didn't get pregnant....but I still talk to my ex sis in law, and how sad he still hasn't grown up that she has to have two birthday parties for her children because both her brothers won't come to a party where me and her other brother's ex are!!

C said...

i so agree with you on this. i got married at 17 to the man i dated and fell in love with at 13! he is 3 years older than me. so i went from HS graduation right into the marriage. he is the only man i will ever love the way i did. i threw my whole self into our marriage, gave up college that was paid for... crazy man.. and we lasted 18 years. i didnt know WTF i was doing all i knew was i had to be with him because being without him was painful. i was just a child. we got in debt to marry and never really recovered. the best thing that came out of our marriage is our 4 beautiful wonderful kiddos. i wouldnt trade that for ANYTHING.
now i am in love again but in a different way, with the only woman in my life and although i will never love the way i did in my younger years, this time will be the last time for me, and it's very good and i am happy. i wouldnt be who i am today had i not lived my life just the way i did..
great post. we are lucky to find love again for a second time.


won said...

Glad the story has a happy ending!!

Helene said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I guess all you can do is hope that your children will learn from your experiences and it sounds like they will.

I dated the same guy all through high school and we became engaged my senior year, with plans to get married the summer after I graduated. We ended up breaking up because he didn't want me to go to college and it was something I knew I had to do....I've never regretted making that decision.

Like you say, live and learn. I went on to marry another guy several years later only to end up divorced just 2 years later.

Aleta said...

Funny to read this post today, on the 27th. Today is my cousin's 19th year anniversary. She got married when she was 18. They are still together and going strong and have three beautiful children. It can work.. but they've been through a lot too...

Unknown Mami said...

Thank you for posting this, I appreciate your candor.

18, you were just a baby adult.

Karen in Texas said...

Great post Cyndy. My Mom was 18 and my Dad 21 when they married. They'll celebrate 50 years next August. Her sister married at 16 after knowing my uncle for just a month and they'll be going on 49 next year. That said, I've seen all the teen marriages my cousins and their kids have gone through fall apart too. You just never know.

Lisa said...

Thank you for posting this. I devoured every single word, and every comment that's been posted. I just, I don't know, NEEDED TO HEAR that sometimes it works out, and even if it doesn't work out, it's still okay.

We got married at 22 and 23, which everyone around us considered young. Thought we were gonna last forever...now I just don't know.

Wow, sorry to be such a downer, this really was GREAT POST!

Rhonda said...

I was having babies already at 21, but my mom had already had me, her fourth, by that same age. she is still happily married to my Dad, but they are definitely a minority.