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Monday, March 10, 2008

The Age (old) Question

(Sorry for the lack of photos. Google is giving me issues uploading.)

It's been a busy few weeks with my planning trip to Destin,
fiance's mom's visit from Atlanta, and then my birthday this past weekend during which my best friend /bridesmaid's visited from Atlanta as well. I've done some really fun stuff like order my dress and take a great class at Paper Source, but right now (since I can't get photos to uplaod), I want to talk about age.

As a girl, I always wondered how old I would be when I got married. At 13 I thought I'd never get married. At 16 I promised mysel
f I'd wait until I was at least 27 when my dad told me I would really have a grasp on who I was and who would compliment me best by that time. And here I am, only a few days a
fter my twenty-third birthday, planning a wedding. This is the year I'll be married. Though I'm completely happy with that, some people tend to think I'm a bit young to be making this decision. My dad forgot the 27 rule when he met Mr. Shirlington (and even told him he knew Mr. Shirlington was the one for me while we were only dating) and couldn't be happier for us.

But I couldn't help but
feel a little out of place at vendor meetings or dress shops where people looked at me just a little differently when I told them I was 22 and getting married, and I doubt my recent graduation to 23 will change things. It's almost as if they don't think my marriage will last. I've been told over and over I'm "such a young bride"...which makes me feel like people see me as looking more like a second grader in a white first communion dress than a grown woman....and even sometimes like they think I'm being (gasp) irresponsible. They also don't know that I do other grown-up things like own a home, pay all my bills on time and cook my own dinner every night. I have a strong grasp on reality and am not expecting a "love will get us through anything" fairytale marriage.

So I started to wonder how young I actually am according to other brides out there. Here are a
few facts from Dr. Phil's website. Some of them are a bit depressing, but it really gave me insight into some of the negative response I have received.
  • The average age of a woman getting married in the United States is 27. — Bride's Magazine
  • 59 percent of marriages for women under the age of 18 end in divorce within 15 years. The divorce rate drops to 36 percent for those married at age 20 or older. — "Cohabitation, Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage in the United States," M.D. Bramlett and W.D. Mosher ( a good one!)
  • 60 percent of marriages for couples between the ages of 20 and 25 end in divorce. — National Center for Health Statistics
  • The average age of a man getting married in the United States is 29. — Bride's Magazine
So the odds are against us, but the odds have been working against me my whole life and I've done just fine, and for the record, am doing much better than many 27-year-olds I know. How old are you guys? How young is too young? What's the best age to get married? Are you tying the knot at the age you always thought you would?



14 Comments:

Blogger EthidiumBromide said...

I was engaged at 23 and will be married at 24, and we occasionally encounter the "too young" thing. But we've been together over 5.5 years now, and we didn't want to become one of those couples who say "Oh yes, we've been dating 8 years now...".
I've always found that amongst all my family members and parents of friends, there is a HUGE correlation between how soon you have children after marriage and divorce. It's actually really scary how well the correlation exists in people that I know. That said, I always made a firm rule that I WOULD NOT have children any sooner than 5 years into a marriage, so getting married at 24 means I'll probably have my first child around 30, which works fine for me.

Monday, March 10, 2008 4:33:00 PM  
Blogger Nikki said...

It just dawned on me last week, that as a little girl, I used to always say I wanted to get married when I was 26. It just seemed like the perfect age to me... not too young, not too old. And I just turned 26 and my wedding is in 7 weeks! Weird how that worked out...
My fiancee and I were together over 5 years before we got engaged, and have been engaged for almost 16 months, so we've been together 7 years!
I think how long you've known each other, and how strong your relationship is, matters more than your age. I knew he was the man for me, very early on, but we decided to wait to marry until we had truly gotten to know ourselves and grown up. About 2 years ago, we knew we were ready for marriage. Shortly after, he proposed. We look back to 3 or 4 years ago, and while we knew we wanted to be together forever, and would marry someday, we can now see how we didn't know each other near as well as we thought we did at the time, and we can see how much we've grown and matured since then, and how much stronger of a relationship we know have.
I think taking time in the relationship matters more than your age.

Monday, March 10, 2008 7:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Melissa Jade said...

Engaged at 22, will be married at 23. I feel very similarly in most vendor situations. I never had a sweet 16, prom, or batmitz-whatever- so i have NO idea how to respond to all their questions. I try to be competent but certainly get the "wow" look whenever we enter a new place (could be because husband2be is a bit older than I am.30...)

I always thought i would be older but he came when he came... =)

Monday, March 10, 2008 8:17:00 PM  
Blogger Loaf said...

I'm 25, will be 26 when I get married. My partner is 29, will be 30 when we wed.

I'm in grad school, and I can't imagine getting married fresh out of college at 23 (and still in school), but that's just me and where I was in life then. Aaaand....I'm still in grad school. (Damn PhD...)

I didn't think I'd be married until I was in my 30s if ever....but it's also not technically legal for us to get married, since we're lesbians. Off to Canada!

Monday, March 10, 2008 11:09:00 PM  
Blogger Miss Shirlington said...

I feel the same way. It's all about where you are in life and I totally agree that if you are getting married young, it's smart to wait a while before having kids. Thanks for all the feedback!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 9:12:00 AM  
Blogger Caroline said...

I just turned 30 in December and will be getting married close to my 32nd birthday. My fiancee is 35 and will be 37 when we actually get married. He got married the first time at 24, however, proving the statistics right at least in our case. I never really thought I'd be past 30 when i got married, but like melissajade said: He came when he came. Also, my cousin told me on the occasion of her second marriage that i should wait until 30 "by all means." Looks like i'm following her advice after all!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 9:53:00 AM  
Blogger Photography by Blair said...

Okay wow, this is exactly how I feel. First off, people that know me / us - know that we are very responsible and have a fantastic out look and a good set of heads on our shoulders. We are both 22 and have full time low paying jobs while he’s going to school full time, and I am pursuing my photography part time (I get the same thing from people in that field as well). And some how after paying our high rent, car payments, bills up the wazoo , we some how pulled together the entire wedding 100% on our own financially .After our 20 month engagement and 7 years together, I hate that people can still make their remarks. I don’t understand how people can place judgment. Besides all that we have been together since we were 15 and know each other pretty well, and I would say we have seen most of the good and bad at this point with all that has happened in our lives. Its really upsetting to me how people think they know it all. In reality we have out ish together more than most people I know. I say, to each their own! :)
Besides all that, I don’t want to have kids till we are financially ready, and till he has his career steady and strong, but I do not want to wait too long. Having parents who are older, and one who passed away at a fairly young age (from cancer). I would like to have them and be able to enjoy them while still being able to keep up with them for a long time. I would love to be a mid-late 20’s mom! :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 1:36:00 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Bowie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 3:29:00 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Bowie said...

I turned 29 just two days after I married on Feb. 9 of this year! I actually genuinely thought I would NEVER get married and even told this to my husband on what ended up being our very first date. I always thought that if I would be married it would happen at around 25 and when that never happened - because I wasn't ready - I became very settled into the life that I had and didn't think that marriage would fit in with what I had made for myself!

Despite other people's stories, the statistics, etc.... I'm very happy with my decision to 1) marry someone afterall and 2) wait until when I did. Mr. Bowie and I actually just discussed this the other day as we both agreed that for us to have the wonderful relationship that we have, it was best for us to meet each other and marry exactly like how it happened!

I have a best friend who was married fresh out of college though and the friends and family who have married did right before their 25th birthdays none of them are divorced!!! Different strokes different folks. You just never know.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 3:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Coach Amy said...

I wrote an e-book called "30 Very Good Reasons Not to Marry Until you are 30". I wrote this to help 20 somethings see that they need to live life a little before settling down. Why get married so soon? Why not hang out together? I was married at 25 when I thought I knew myself. I was divorced at 36. I wanted to have a family and by the time I was remarried- having a child became more difficult. You think it's fun getting married. Once your married are you ready to do the work? I recommend premarital coaching from an objective person. Not only your clergy. Do you and your partner have the same vision of the future? Do you want the same things? How do you want to be with one another when things get a little rough? Can you live together? Just remember, if you want to be married only once, your chances improve when you are older. -- Coach Amy www.heartmindconnection.com.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 11:36:00 PM  
Blogger EthidiumBromide said...

Coach Amy, what about those of us who want to be married for several years before starting families? According to your rule, if I waited until I was 30 to get married, then I wouldn't even TRY to have children until 35, and that makes it even more difficult.
Just because you had a negative experience doesn't mean everyone else will, or that everyone else should wait. You ask why get married so soon -- it sounds like lots of us have been together for 5-7 years already, which means we're not rushing it. We didn't meet someone great last year and decide what the hell, let's get married! A lot of us have already waited to find ourselves. Yes, I'm only 24, but I'm also a 3rd year Ph.D. student in a very tough and demanding biochemistry program. Yes, my fiance is only 25, but he's graduating from medical school the week before we get married. I'm pretty sure we're set to make it through marriage if we can deal with finding time to see each other when we work opposite 80 hour/week schedules and still find time to see each other despite being in grumpy and miserable and exhausted moods. I have friends who rushed into marriage -- dated for a year, engaged for 9 months, married -- but when you've been with someone approaching 6 years, I see no reason why you should wait around and twiddle your thumbs. My parents were married at 22, and their 35th anniversary is the day after my own wedding, and they couldn't be any happier.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008 7:01:00 AM  
Blogger Miss Shirlington said...

Coach Amy,

That's exactly the problem. Mr. Shirlington and I had a conversation about how it would have been easier if we had met later in life...because our whole lives are changing - the transition from college into a career, moving away from our families, etc. That stresses our relationship. But he's an engineer and works for a company that will transfer him to another country in a few years. If we're not married, they won't pay for me to go with him. And not only that, I'm not about to go globe trotting to a place I don't know anyone or speak the language with someone whom I don't share a life committment. That was my exact mentality when I made the decision to move from Atlanta to Washington DC last year with him.

I think what it boils down to is that you have to really know what you want out of life, and we do. We both compromise for eachother quite willingly and share the responsibilities of life together. We read lots of books about marriage and aren't going into this just because I want to have a big party. Marriage is not fun. Marriage is constant work, and we know that. We have to work on our relationship NOW and we're not even married yet. We live together (have for almost a year and a half now), share the bills, make huge life decisions together, and have been through lots of major disagreements and trials. And we love each other still because we've decided to, not because we're feeling love every second of every day. We know the reality of this, and just because I'm 22 and he's 25 doesn't mean we won't last. 40 percent of marriages in our age bracket are fine, and I know we're in that 40 percent.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008 9:40:00 AM  
Blogger Meg said...

Oh, don't worry about it, Miss Shirlington. The day folks stop telling you you're a young bride is the day they start wondering why you haven't gotten married yet!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008 1:27:00 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

My grandma thought it was wierd that I wasn't getting married at 18 (she's divorced), my mom doesn't really want me to get married at all (she's also divorced), but I don't care about any of them, I'm getting married at 23 because I've found the man I love and want to give all my joys and sacrifice all my sorrows for. We haven't known each other for years, we don't live together, and we're praying for a honeymoon baby. :) Don't worry about the odds or statistics or people's looks -- in our fallen world the odds will always be telling against hope. If you build your marriage on knowledge, love, self-examination and self-sacrifice, you have every reason for unreasonable hope!

Friday, March 14, 2008 8:42:00 AM  

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