By Davina Dummer, BounceBack Editorial Staff
Scarily-high divorce statistics show that nearly 50% of marriages end in divorce, and that 60% of all couples who marry between the age of 20 and 25 divorce. This leads to a few questions: Are we not taking marriage seriously enough? Are couples getting married too young?
Related: Tale of a Starter Marriage
As we grow up, most of us are taught that marriage is a stable union between two people who are deeply committed to each other and to building a life together. It is a wonderful journey for two people to embark on - and this is true. Marriages should be full of love, companionship, trust, support and laughter.
However, when we are young and developing is also the time to be free to develop fully as individuals - to pursue a career choice, to travel, to be independent. These are things which you can do in a couple, obviously, but will definitely be limited once you start a family. When we are younger and in our 20s, sometimes we don't have a strong sense of who we are as an individual. This makes it easy sometimes to lose ourselves in our relationship. Most couples who marry young face divorce because of emotional immaturity and limited life experiences.
A couple who started as 16-year-old high school sweethearts may feel that marriage is the next step in their early 20s. While this can work, it is also important to recognize that some issues may arise. For example, if you have not dated around because you have always been with the same person since high school, you may find yourself wanting to meet new people or to learn what it's like to be with other people as you grow older. It is important to date around - that way, you can really appreciate your partner when you learn that the grass is not greener on the other side.
It is also important to have financial security. Weddings can be expensive, and things like buying a home and starting a family require significant amounts of money. When we are younger, we can get around without spending much money, but once you are committed to being with someone else, it is important you are both financially stable. There is nothing worse than fighting about money, or living from paycheck to paycheck. It can build resentment or lead to stress and can cause a strain on relationships. As we get older, we learn how to budget and how to finance the personal lifestyle we've grown accustomed to, making it easier to manage money. As crass as it may sound, financial dependence can be a huge relationship strain on couples.
If you look at what a commitment marriage is, you should never want to rush into it. Divorce is hard. All breakups are, but divorce can become a lot messier, especially if there are children involved. There should never be a rush to get married. Yes, it is a wonderful step, a declaration of love to and for each other, but it does not protect you from infidelity, it does not provide more security, and it cannot help salvage a relationship. It is a serious commitment and should not be entered into lightly. When we are still young and evolving so much as individuals, it may be better to save the next step of marriage until we are older, more mature and stable both financially and emotionally, both individually and as a couple.
Davina Dummer is a writer and acting coach originally from England, who runs the Malisa Theatre Company, a Theatre school in New York City. She is currently writing her first novel.
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