A very old school friend of mine is getting married in a matter of weeks and the lead up to the event has got me thinking, when is the right time to get married? The friend in question is 21 years old (like me) and got engaged when she was 20. The majority of people’s reactions to this seems to be that of shock and abhorrence, with many exclaiming “you’re so young!” However, who’s really to say that 21 is too young to be getting married?
I think that it’s your life experiences and mentality that determine how old you are on the inside, not necessarily the number of years you’ve been on the planet. It also ultimately comes down to what you want out of life. My friend has expressed her desire to get married and have a family since we met at the age of 11, whereas some others are terrified at the thought. I personally cannot imagine getting married at this age. Having recently graduated from university there are lots of things I want to accomplish first. However, if a person feels ready to settle down with someone and take that step in spending the rest of their lives together, what’s to stop them from doing so?
Many have referred to age as being “nothing but a number”, so if emotionally (and financially) ready for marriage then why not? 50 years ago getting married at 21 and even younger was seen as the norm. It’s true that times have changed, but the women’s movement is about choice after all. In today’s society 21 is seen as too young to marry because people’s goals and objectives are different now. It is no longer frowned upon for a woman to pursue a career instead of motherhood and frankly, the vast majority of 21 year old’s cannot afford the cost of a wedding! However, contrary to the common assumption, marriage doesn’t have to mean the end of your life. In many cases it may signify the start of it – the start of a new life with your spouse in which you can chase your dreams together as opposed to solo.
I have come to the conclusion that age is often a state of mind and if a young person feels that they are ready to get married, we shouldn’t condemn them for it – instead we should look at the circumstances that surround their decision. Despite what others may say (and I admit a little initial doubt of my own), I am beyond happy for my friend and will be delighted to walk down the aisle behind her (as a bridesmaid)!
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