Home Opinion OPINION: Why I got married at 18

OPINION: Why I got married at 18

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College campuses are fraught with heartbreak, drama, people coming together and falling in love; especially at BYU-Idaho. I am positive you could ask anyone on campus for an awkward date story and you would get several.

In December 2017, I got engaged. It was my first semester in college, and the proposal happened less than six months after I graduated high school. I knew it was coming, we had even talked about a wedding date before he proposed. So we decided to get married in April 2018, even though we still were in our freshman year of college.

The BYU-I student body has 20,226 students on campus. Of those, 4,808 are married — 23%. The 2003 US National Census said, on average only 7% of undergraduate students are married.

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The number has gone down since then; BYU-I has the highest percentage of married students out of any other college in the US. By being part of the 7%, I have a unique perspective.

While I will always defend my decision to get married so young, like all other relationships, it comes with challenges.

Being an 18-year-old bride in Rexburg didn’t feel weird because everybody knows about the culture of “BYU-I Do” and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ values of eternal families and temple marriages.

When I went home to Southern California for Christmas, being an 18-year-old bride felt weird. Suddenly, people were questioning everything I did and challenging the validity of my relationship. It made sense to me though, I know it’s crazy as heck. In a generation of people fighting to be noticed, I accidentally made myself stand out just by doing the “traditional” thing and getting married.

People told me it would hold me back, that I was throwing my career and life away, that committing to being with someone forever before I was 25 was crazy since my brain isn’t fully developed yet. And I think for some people that is true. I do not recommend marrying their high school sweetheart to everyone.

When you’re dating as a teenager, you are learning how to act in a relationship and what it all means. First dates are fun; first kisses are even more exciting. But I am not sad to be missing the next five to 10 years of parties and breakups because I have a household to run and bills to pay. I get to do those things with my husband, who is my partner and best friend. I am not being held back by marriage.

I did not go into marriage saying, “If we have any trials, then I think we will be okay.” I said, “When we have hard times, he is the one I want by my side to get through it all.” It is not lost on me that 50% of marriages end in divorce.

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People warned me that getting married young is hard because you have to try to grow up and grow closer to each other at the same time. After a year of marriage, I know that it takes work to do both, but it was something I wanted to do.

Getting married as a teenager brought its own set of challenges, but every relationship is unique. It doesn’t mean I was jumping the gun too soon. I got married because I knew we were equally committed to making our relationship happy and successful. I got married because I have the most fun with my husband out of anyone else on the planet. I got married because we challenge and support each other to become better people.

I got married knowing that I would have a relationship that was challenging, loving and strong; one that would get deeper every day because it is a blessing. So what if I was 18 on my wedding day?

I got married at 18 because I wanted to commit myself to my husband in a way that would last forever. We made the decision to get married because we were in love, and what better reason is there?

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