Deciding if and when to get married is a deeply personal choice, but that doesn’t stop family, friends, coworkers and perfect strangers from chiming in with their two cents, especially about couples they deem “too young” to tie the knot.
Sure, a recent data analysis suggested that divorce rates are higher for couples who marry before their mid 20s. But the statistics also indicated that’s true for couples who marry after their mid-30s. And none of that makes the comments, even the well-intentioned ones, any less annoying to hear.
To that end, we recently asked HuffPost readers who got married young to share some of the judgmental comments they’ve had to endure over the years. Below, see what these couples ― all of whom are still together ― have heard again and again:
1. “Are you pregnant?”
“Proud to say that I’ve been with my husband since I was 17. We married at 21 and 23 years old and while we’ve had to work hard to mature together instead of apart, the only annoying thing that was said about us is that we must be getting married because we were pregnant. It was as if the four years of intentional relationship building together and the love we had cultivated was nothing. It was very disrespectful. We knew we were young but also knew what we were choosing, even in our youth. The extra sting in the words is that we still haven’t had the privilege of becoming parents after 18 years of marriage and so some days, the old silly memories feel like a taunt.” ― Charis K.
2. “You might not be the same person 10 years from now.”
“Age has nothing to do with your level of commitment. People always tell me, ‘You might not be the same person 10 years from now,’ but that could be said for any marriage. My parents got married when my mom was 30 and my dad was 35. They were amazing for each other back then, but now, they are completely different people and facing a divorce. As long as you truly love someone and want to work anything out, no matter what, any relationship can make it. I look forward to growing and changing WITH my spouse.” ― Emily E.
3. “What’s the rush?”
“Well, there isn’t a rush. Life isn’t a race but if I’m happy and know the man I am with is the man I want forever, why wait? My fiancé and I have been together since we were 18. We bought our first home weeks after my 22nd birthday. By the time we are back from the honeymoon, I’ll be approaching 25 and he will be 26.
Time flies by. Life flies by. I want to make the most of it. We have created a life together ― why wouldn’t I want to marry him! I think some people look at marriage as an ending point. But for us, it’s just the beginning! I’m excited for him to become my husband and for us to grow into a husband and wife.” ― Jessica D.
4. “You’re making a bad decision.”
“My husband and I secretly eloped in 2008 after only knowing each other for about four months. I was 19, he was 21. The friends that I did tell asked if I was pregnant, when I told them I was not, they told me I was making a hasty and poor decision. His work ‘friends’ also placed bets on how long we would last, among other rumors they spread about us. Was the decision hasty? Sure. But poor? Definitely not. We are still very happily married and have a beautiful 6-year-old daughter. My family still resents us for our decision, but I have never regretted it for a single moment. We have really grown up together. Not only as partners, but as individuals. It’s been an amazing experience despite all of the judgment we endured.” ― Megan M.
5. “Don’t you want to play the field?”
“Our 13th anniversary is this year. We now have three daughters. We were never on-again-off-again. It was always him and me from that first date. We heard numerous things: ‘You’re too young.’ ‘It’s just a high school romance.’ ‘It will never last.’ ‘Don’t you want to play the field more?’ We weren’t too young. It wasn’t just high school to us. It has lasted. No, we didn’t want to play the field. We just wanted each other. We loved. We still do.” ― Jessica M.
6. “You’re practically a child bride.”
“I was married at age 22 in 2000. Still happily married 17 years later. I was called ‘child bride’ by every single one of my vendors. Ended up telling them all that if they used that term again, they’d be refunding my deposit. My family knew better that to say anything, as my fiancé and I had been together for seven years when we got engaged. True high school sweethearts.” ― Sarah G.
7. “You’ll never finish college.”
“I was married four days after my 20th birthday (swore I’d never be a teen bride). He was 22. Found out a few years after our wedding that there were bets among his brother and friends that we wouldn’t last. Others said I’d never finish college (I now have a Master’s). We were in college and got engaged after five months dating. We’ve moved 17 times (eight different countries), waited ten years to have our two daughters, and are still thrilled to be together. We’ve been married for 31 very happy years now!” ― Marlene D.
8. “I got married young and it was a big mistake.”
“Not married yet, but engaged since November. He’s 21, I’m 22. The worst comments came from my grandmother. Not only did we not get a ‘congratulations’ but instead, we got an angry rant including comments like, ‘You should be 28 ― better yet, 38 ― before you ever get married. I got married young and it was a big mistake and I’ve regretted it ever since.” (She’s still married and was standing next to her husband). Your mother married young and it obviously didn’t work out for her. Neither did one of your aunts but the other one smartened up after the first failed marriage and hasn’t married since.’ Thankfully, his family is not only supportive but excited.” ― Tessa W.
9. “Is this a green card marriage?”
“My wife and got married recently, I’m 24 and she is 25. We were the first ones to get married in our social group, and a lot of people didn’t know how to react. There is also the extra layer since my wife isn’t an American citizen, so a lot of people assumed we were only getting married for the green card. This was so deeply offensive to us. Just because we got married young didn’t mean our marriage was a sham so she could stay in the country. Usually they would phrase it as, ‘If she was American would you REALLY be getting married now?’” ― Molly W.
10. “Bet it won’t last more than a year.”
“I got married to my husband at 18 years old. He was 19 at the time. First, everyone assumed I was only getting married because I was pregnant. When they realized I wasn’t pregnant, they started making bets on how long we’d stay married. Most people bet on less than a year. Ten years and three kids later, we are still happily married; there’s nothing sweeter than having my best friend by my side as we grow and change throughout the years.” ― Erin K.
11. “Don’t you want to see the world?”
“We have heard, ‘Wow didn’t you want to see the world?’ Or, ‘Man, you didn’t have any time to be single then.’ But we are each other’s best friend and we couldn’t imagine living life without each other. It’s been extremely annoying and at times discouraging. We, at this point, put them in their place. The most devastating thing you can do to a couple is doubt their love for each other.” ― Rebecca C.
**Note: Some responses have been edited/condensed for clarity.