Young Marriage-how young is too young?

Status
Not open for further replies.
M

magdelena_paris

Guest
Hi, i have a question. I’m 20 and my boyfriend is 21 and we’ve been talking about marriage. We’ve been together for almost 5 years and have been through more trials and tribulations than some married couples go through in their lifetime and through it all we have been able to maintain a very wonderful relationship. We love each other so much. So my question is, how young is too young? Right now I am attending college and have 3 years left of my program, which by then hopefully i will be a biotechnologist, and Jim is currently working for his plumbing ticket. I say that we are ready for marriage, but he’s too worried about what other people may think. He has it in his mind that people frown on young marriages because most end in divorce…however, 50% of marriages end in divorce anyway, who’s right?
 
Well, I was 19 when I married my husband and he was 28 and we have been married for 11 years. It has worked for us but he was older and ready for marriage and I think women tend to be more mature than men at nineteen. But…if both of you don’t feel ready, don’t push it, you have to both be ready, take marriage classes at your church and make sure you are both really ready to make a lifetime commitment to this. We had some tough times to begin with, those first few years can be really hard and add some kids and it will for sure put some stress there. After 11 years and four kids my husband is not just my lover but my very best friend and that is how it should be but I know people that got married when one or both wasn’t sure if they were totally ready and they have either divorced or had some really hard times. Take the marriage classes at church, they are so helpful and it doesn’t mean you have to run out and get married just because you took the classes, the classes can help you see if your ready to get married and if there are any problems you need to work on.
Good Luck!!
 
I was 20 My wife was 19 we have been married for 12 years…

the age is not the issue, but the maturity,

Never, no matter what, allow divorce to be an option in your discutions…
 
I was 21, my first wife was 23, and our marriage lasted 18 years before the divorce. Looking back, I think we were definitely too young.
 
Thank you very much for your replies. We are both very mature. I basically grew up raising myself and have had to deal with a lot of issues and so has my boyfriend. We’ve learned how to deal with many responsibilities before most children and teenagers realize that somethign liek that can happen. I believe I am ready, I’m sure he does too (from what he’s told me) he just thinks that people will look down on us…I guess that can be interpreted as him not being ready.
 
My husband and I have been married for 9 years. I was 21 and he was 22 when we got married. I don’t think we were much worse off than my brother and his wife in the early years. They were 31 and 32 when they got married. We were actually less set in our ways, if that makes sense. Financially it was tough at times but we also had some health issues entering into the mix. (my husband has type 1 diabetes and epilepsy). Prayer is very important. While I can’t say we made it without scars we have done very well. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
 
I believe you are at a good age. Maturity does play an important parts too.

Five years, wow. I recommend that, if you are sexually active, that you both stop. Build a relationship right. Sex is for within marriage, as God had designed. Prior to marriage, all other virtues should be practiced, so as to lead into and carry into the marriage. Example, if you can’t control your sexual desires and abstain before marriage, when the time comes in the marriage for such a thing, you most likely wont be able to or will have a very difficult time doing so.

This is a very good way to see if you both are ready and also (sorry for saying this, really) to see if you are really meant to marry each other.
 
Thanks, Cephas, that is good advice…We are sexually active, i guess that comes with living together…I will discuss that with my boyfriend. We’ve done it before and things were fine, we lasted about 6 months then decided together that we should continue. During those 6 months we had no problems (except problems that were beyond our control at the time, and they were numerous). But thanks again for the advice I really appreciate it!!!
 
40.png
Cephas:
I believe you are at a good age. Maturity does play an important parts too.

Five years, wow. I recommend that, if you are sexually active, that you both stop. Build a relationship right. Sex is for within marriage, as God had designed. Prior to marriage, all other virtues should be practiced, so as to lead into and carry into the marriage. Example, if you can’t control your sexual desires and abstain before marriage, when the time comes in the marriage for such a thing, you most likely wont be able to or will have a very difficult time doing so.

This is a very good way to see if you both are ready and also (sorry for saying this, really) to see if you are really meant to marry each other.
I was thinking along the same lines. 👍 So I’ll just say this is good advice, you should really follow it.
 
You should also go to the Vatican website and check for a document on “De Facto Unions.”.

I am just a concerned brother who wants both you and your boyfriend to live a life of grace. If you are living together, you should both stop receiving communion at Mass.

you can email me if you want to ask more questions or make the dialogue private. :cool:
 
I would agree with others on several points. One maturity is a key issue. Cephas is right as far a sexuality goes, from experience it is better to learn how to love one another aside from the sexual act, and then to add that later to enhance the love relationship. I believe to be the number one issue though is the committment. As someone said earlier, divorce is not an option, so you have to work through your problems. We have been married for almost 24 years. We have had our ups and downs, expect them (especially if you add kids). You will have to make it through many down times. The down times are what make you actually grow as a couple, and after these times your marriage is just that much stronger, closer and more loving (each down time will be less severe and the up times more precious). My husband and I both were 21 when we got married. Yes we were young, but I don’t believe age to be the issue as much as committment. Too many couples just give up when things get tough. I also agree with taking the church classes to help you, work on issues that you may not even know that you have with each other. Hope this helps.
 
Cephas, Fr.Leo, Pkk: Thanks for your comments!! I’m not fully confirmed in the church so i don’t recieve communion anyway. My boyfriend isn’t catholic, he’s protestant and he doesn’t really believe in communion. He feels that recieving Christ and then sinning(which is inevitable, is like lying to Christ and is blasphemous). He has his beliefs and i have mine, we’re both completely supportive of eachother’s spiritual growth. That was a discussion we had earlier in our relationship that we had to deal with. I’m pretty much aware of the info needed for catholic/protestant marriage, except for the dispensation(???), i don’t knw what that is, can anyone explain?thanks
 
As I read through all these messages, the more complex the situation seems. First, do yourselves a favor and look into becoming Catholics so you will have the benefits of the Grace of the Sacraments to strengthen your union. If you’re really interested, go to an introductory RCIA class, or just talk to a priest and ask him about it. You might learn interesting things that help you.

Then, take one of the “marriage preparation” courses that really gets you to dig deep into whether you two will be successful together and are in sync with what marriage means for yourselves and as part of society. Engaged Encounter is good. I do not even hesitate to suggest the six or eight week courses offered by many Protestant churches, because the issues relate to psychology, sexuality, family, finances, philosophies, etc.

Living together, especially so young, is really just like playing house. In my young days, I did live with a man, and I also later married another man. Then later I came back to the church. Marriage and living together are vastly different experiences. You are right to be asking questions, keep seeking.
 
I agree with Agnes in saying that the situation seems quite complex.

I want to point to some statements made that are worrisome to me as a Catholic and which to me point to the fact that you are not yet ready for marriage.

First of all, to engage in sexual intercourse before marriage is a mortal sin. It also endangers the survival of any eventual marriage. The stong feelings, excitement and novelty that are experienced by a newly married couple who have never had sex together or lived together, which assist them greatly in adjusting to their new state are already used up by a couple that has been having sex or has lived together. I am speaking from the standpoint of someone who fornicated before marriage and I can now see that my husband and I act like people who have been married for 20 and not 2 years. It would have been so much easier if I had listened to and obeyed God and the Church.

Secondly, you say Magdalena that he has his beliefs and you have yours. Can I ask whose beliefs the children will have? How do you think it will affect the children not to have parents who attend the same church, pray together and live their faith? Once again, I am speaking from the standpoint of a child whose parents did not share the same beliefs. It was not easy, nor was it pretty and basically I think it is simply unfair to subject children to these mixed signals.

Thirdly, I can’t remember who but I think it is one of our Cardinals who said that in a Catholic marriage there are three people: God and the couple. With the attitude of he has his beliefs and I have mine how do you propose to get down on your knees together as a family and pray through the storms of life and tribulations that almost all families experience? Praying to together is not only comforting but it strengthens the union in my opinion.

I am sorry if I sound harsh but in my humble opinion, simply as a lay person, you do not sound like you are mature enough to get married. Could I suggest you visit the “Ask Father Question Box”, where many sincere answers and Catholic answers have been given to complex questions about marriage.

In the meantime, as others have said if you really hope to marry this man, stop having pre-marital sex. Flee occassion that might cause you to sin like being alone together in certain surroundings. If you are really contemplating marriage now is the time to really be praying very hard, hoping to discern God’s will. A prayer for you and other young people in similar situations.
 
I would add to all these comments that if you find yourselves saying that you can’t or won’t stop engaging in pre-marital sex, then you are definitely not ready for marriage. In marriage, you will undergo many trials that are far more difficult than abstaining from sex. So if you can’t give up the sex now, then you’re not really ready for a serious and lasting marriage.
 
Thank you all for replying. I’ll try to touch on all your comments.
  1. My boyfriend in a pentacostal and very into his religion. I never went to church growing up, except for a catholic church for about a year on weekends when i lived with my Nana after my father died. My parents (mother and step-father are athiests). When i was 12, I turned to wicca and was wiccan for 6 years. Then my boyfriend todl me about Christ and i have been findign my path ever since, which I realize now is catholicism. We’ve discussed both of our spiritual plans. He remains a pentacostal, and i will be attending RCIA as soon as I can. Both of us will not be catholics.
  2. In regards to children. We’ve discussed that if we were to be blessed with children, they will be raised catholic but will be given information about the pentacostal church, when they are old enough to understand the concept of denominations and are old enough to understand choice in their beliefs.
  3. I do not believe that living together ruins a marriage. In my Family Concepts class, we learned that 50% of pre-marital cohabitation ends in divorce. We also learned that 50% of all marriages end in divorce. In doing the math, it equals out. Both of us have firm beliefs that divorce is NOT an option. We know that marriage is a sacrament and involve 3 people, to end the relationship between 2 would end the relationship with 3.
  4. Premarital sex is a hard issue. That being said, I have not yet discussed this piece of advice with him. I intend on taking our days off tomorrow to discuss this with him. I am completely willing to do this and i’m pretty sure he will too.
  5. Maturity. In order to judge someones maturity, you must know the entire story, and i haven’t even touched lightly on that in this thread. It would take too long, though if anyone is curious, i would gladly tell you about it. But I am not playing house. I know the level of commitment involved, how much time and effort it takes to get through problems, and the how hard finances can be. This has all come up since we’ve been living together. that being said , we haven’t been through every possible problem that a couple can face, but we’ve had our share.
I appreciate all your replies. Sorry if my response sounded a bit harsh, i’m having a sick day. Thank you.
 
Your response is not harsh but I am rather confused as to how you intend to raise your children Catholic when neither you nor your boyfriend is Catholic. If you do intend to raise your children Catholic, I think you would be well advised to learn more about your faith since from what you have said it does not seem you know much about it.

It would be wiser I still feel to take time to grow in your faith and grow in maturity. The idea of “we will tell our children about this or that when they are of age for them to choose for themselves” does not work. You are in fact an example of this not working from the history you have shared with us. As I said before I am an example as well. Children learn more by the example lived by their parents than by what they are told. Furthermore, pentecostal churches do not have the fullness of truth and are often in direct disagreement with the teachings of the Catholic Church.

The decision is yours to make but believe you me, some mistakes are really hard to correct and hard to live with.

It might help for you to remind your boyfriend that fornication is a sin for all Christians. It is really hard, especially is one has gotten into the habit, the solution is to avoid situations where one would be tempted, like watching a romantic movie in a darkened room alone in the house.

Studies have shown that there is higher divorce amongst couples who previously lived together. It seems incongorous but makes sense when one learns of the reasons I gave. The fact is that people who are already living together and having sex have nothing to look forwatd to, it just becomes blah blah blah routine.

I find it quite strange that anyone who wishes can simply participate in marriage preparation classes. In my part of the world, there are certain conditions one of which is that the couple must both be baptised, confirmed Catholics. It’s much harder to obtain a dispensation and it turns out that might be a good thing because there are certainly much less divorces.

A prayer for you for the Lord’s will, which is always better than ours to be done. Also hope you are feeling better soon.
 
When I was growing up, my Dad used to have a saying that drove me crazy. It was, “Don’t confuse me with facts, my mind is made up.” I hope that is not the case here, and I hope I am not wasting my time when writing a response.
40.png
magdelena_paris:
  1. I do not believe that living together ruins a marriage. In my Family Concepts class, we learned that 50% of pre-marital cohabitation ends in divorce. We also learned that 50% of all marriages end in divorce. In doing the math, it equals out.
Well, quite simply, they gave you incorrect information. The literature is simply overwhelming on the harmful effect of cohabitation. Depending on the study, cohabitation increases the risk of divorce by 35% to 100%. Here are a couple of articles:

Stability Across Cohorts in Divorce Risk Factors
Statistics show divorce rates are much higher for those who cohabitate

Aside from divorce rates, however, there are two other reasons to stop cohabitating. First, it is a grave sin. As part of becoming Catholic, you are learning that marriage is a sacrament. One of the blessings of this sacrament is it confers a special grace upon married couples. You do not want to start married life in a state of sin.

Second, cohabitating makes it difficult to discern marital decisions. Why? Well, we learn that the marital act has two aspects, the procreative and the unitive, or as I call it, “babies and bonding”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen men or women stuck for 5 or 7 or 10 years in a relationship that everyone else could see wasn’t a good match. Why were they stuck? They were having sex, and the bonding blurred their ability to decide on their marriage partner. That is why couples that are having extra-marital sex should cease for 18-24 months prior to marriage, so that a proper decision can be made without the “fogging effect” that sex can have.

You seem concerned about divorce rates, and I am assuming that you would like to marry once and have a lifelong spouse and partner. The best way to beat the divorce statistics are to do the following:
  1. *]cease having sex outside of marriage.
    *]attend church together, get married in the Church, continue going to Mass together as a family, and pray together in the home.
    *]No contraception
    *]tithe 10% to God

    Families who are faithful to Catholic teachings on contraception have an almost non-existent divorce rate. As Janet Smith says, “If you get God, sex, and money in the right place, everything else is easy.”

    I would suggest reading: CONTRACEPTION, WHY NOT, by Janet E. Smith PhD

    Finally, regarding:
    40.png
    magdelena_paris:
    1. In regards to children. We’ve discussed that if we were to be blessed with children, they will be raised catholic but will be given information about the pentacostal church, when they are old enough to understand the concept of denominations and are old enough to understand choice in their beliefs.
    I believe this is a pretty naive view of teaching the faith to children. When several choices are presented as morally equivalent, rather than one faith being presented as the Truth, all it does is confuse kids. There is an age where faith is formed prior to the ability to reason like an adult. Even though children from age 7-12 are above the age of reason, they still think magically in many ways. It is around age 12-13 when kids really start to reason more like an adult. My kids belief in God and the Church were completely formed before they had the mental capacity to evaluate and judge differing theologies. There is a reason we have the phrase, “Childlike Faith”. Presenting them a “religion menu” simply serves to kill their faith in any religion.

    Finally, when you are weighing what decisions to make, don’t forget for an instant that you will bear a special burden on any consequences. After all, 90%+ of custody cases go to the mother. Believe me, having children changes everything. And a single mom with children accounts for almost 70% of the poverty in this country. Without any doubt whatsoever, the best way to ensure you and your children have the best possible circumstances in life is to choose a good husband and stay married.

    I mean these words in a charitable way, although they are blunt. But it is literally the rest of your life at stake.
 
From a practical point, reading through your posts on here, I think that waiting for you might be a good idea.

I have never met a 20 year old who didnt think they knew what was best for them or knew the right thing to do. All I can tell you is this: If I would have married the people “I knew were the right one” when I was that age, I would be in big trouble today. If it is right now, it will be right five years from now. Immerse yourself in prayer. Study the riches of the Catholic faith. The more you grow spiritually the more you may find that you find other people more attractive for different reasons.

God bless you
 
Bob,

please allow me to say how beautiful and inspirational I find your post, even though I’m already married. Very very well said, especially the explanation about the children. I was raised in a “mixed” marriage but thank God my Mum stood by her promise to raise the children Catholic and my Dad also honoured his promise to let her. All the same I can still see the ‘confusion’ in my siblings. My two year old daughter has already started to genuflect with me as I come into the church or leave it. . Sometimes I am scared by the huge responsibility I now bear. Thank God thank God thank God for His grace; mercy and forgiveness for indeed it would be impossible to be a good parent without it. It can really get scary. Sorry for the thread drift.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Back
Top