According to researchers, almost half of all marriages in the U.S. end in divorce or separation. While it doesn’t mean that there isn’t such a thing as happy ever after in American unions, it’s fair to say that only 6 in 10 first marriages survive the median 7 years. What happens during that time that causes many young couples to reconsider their vows?
More often than not, people are around 30 years old when they choose to go their separate ways. If you take into account the 7 years mentioned above, it seems that a lot of couples get married directly after graduating or in the early stages of their adult life. You’ve probably heard countless comments about marrying young. But it is unclear, however, why young brides and grooms struggle more than anyone else to preserve their relationship. The idea that you’re too young to truly love someone is absurd. There is no age to love and be in love. More importantly, there is no reason why someone in their 30s should be somehow better equipped at an emotional level to build a stable relationship with their partner. You don’t need to be old to love better!
However, for anybody who has married young, the struggle is real. While age and maturity have nothing to do with your emotions and the stability of your couple, life can get in the way of your happiness. It doesn’t mean that marrying young inevitably leads to a dramatic conclusion. On the contrary, a lot of couples manage to keep their relationship afloat year after year, despite marrying in their 20s. What’s the secret? There is no miracle recipe, but many have come to realize they need to stay attentive to their circumstances and their partner to avoid problems. Here are the best tips for young marriages to get old and happy together:
You need to be ready for grown-up conversations
When you get married at the beginning of your adult life, chances are that your marriage is going to be the first shared grown-up decision you will need to take and discuss together. Even though planning for a wedding can be stressful and overwhelming, a lot of couples manage to go through the motion of scheduling and budgeting smoothly. Indeed, it’s not uncommon for couples to hire a wedding planner who can provide guidance and support to manage your budget and get your documentation and party together. However, outside of your wedding plans, there is no guidance available to manage the other grown-up decisions and conversations you will need to have. That’s where things can take an ugly turn. Failing to touch base with your partner to discuss your plans for the future is the most common cause for a divorce. Whether you want to save for a deposit on a property or to start a family, the key to keeping your marriage solid and strong is to be willing to plan your future together. It’s about sitting down and discussing your options and how you can achieve your goals as a couple. Failing to plan together means you are likely to grow apart rapidly.
Changes are okay
Let’s get real. The person you married when you were 23 is not the same person now that you’re 30. The truth is, you’re not the same person either. But that’s okay. Everybody changes! As you grow older, your style evolves. Ultimately, your style is a reflection of your personality and your interests. As such, it’s fair to say that the things you thought were cool as a student may not be the same things you turn to for comfort and confidence as a professional. Your fashion sense and makeup tastes have grown. However, it doesn’t mean that you are a fundamentally different individual. You are still the same person, but you are further onto your path. The same principle applies to your partner. Couples that are afraid of change are going to struggle to stay together.
Remember, life is a journey. Moving forward is all about being able to adapt to your surroundings and your priorities. You can’t expect your partner to have the same dreams and attitude they had when you first met them at college, nor can they expect it from you. In other words, changes need to be celebrated and encouraged.
There will be tough times
Are happy couples always happy?
The answer is no. Of course, everybody will face challenges in their relationship at some point. The truth is that life can be highly stressful, especially as you are in the process of building your career. Long hours in the office and a demanding boss can cause a lot of pressure. Unfortunately, stress doesn’t only affect your health or performance. It also impacts your relationship. Ultimately, nobody can let go of their worries at home, even though your concerns may not be related to your home life. Whether you are struggling with your new job or dealing with the burden of student debts, you can’t prevent stress from affecting your life. However, what you can do is understand how it could damage your couple. It’s essential to be able to discuss your issues openly and let your partner knows when something is bugging you. It doesn’t mean your problems will be solved. But it helps to make you both aware of your stress, giving your partner a reason for your behavior and reminding you to let the work worries in the office.
Take your decisions together
There are two types of decisions. Shared decisions that require your joint input to go through, such as buying a house, for instance. And individual decisions that relate to one individual but will affect the couple in the long term. While a lot of married couples discuss shared decisions together, many forget about individual decisions. When you refuse to let your partner know about the personal events in your life, such as getting a job promotion or buying a new car, you ultimately create distance between you. Additionally, you also ignore how your choice might affect their life.
Imagine taking a new job that requires a longer commute time. It means getting up earlier in the morning and coming back home later, which, in essence, shorten the time you and partner can spend together. It influences shared plans, dinner time, bathroom schedules, and your intimacy too. Denying your partner the chance to express their opinion is cutting them out of your life. No marriage can survive this imposed isolation.
Me-time vs. Us-time
Me-time is necessary for every relationship. You need time to recharge your batteries and be selfish, whether it’s only a few minutes in the bathroom or a coffee between friends. However, while me-time is detrimental to your mental health, it’s not the only thing your relationship needs to stay strong. You have to be ready to schedule events or nights for the two of us where you can focus on building togetherness. A couple that fails to plan some us-time isn’t going to survive in the long term. It doesn’t have to be much. You can choose to make one evening of the week your date night, whether you spend it at home or in a restaurant, for instance. Simple things such as joining a dance class together can do a lot of good to your relationship. It’s about putting ‘us’ on top of your list.
Sometimes, you just meet someone else
How can you be married and meet someone else? Contrary to popular belief, meeting someone when you’re already married is a frequent occurrence. Falling in love with someone else is, without a doubt, a tricky situation. However, it is often the result of a struggling relationship in the first place. For people who married young, the lack of experience can affect their perception of love. Meeting someone new could make you realize that what you had with your spouse wasn’t built on love but mutual affection! Perhaps it is also the occasion to realize that liking your partner isn’t enough to build a strong and lasting relationship.
However, more often than not, taking the time to know your partner and build a trustworthy bond will keep the threat of extramarital affairs at bay.
Accept your faults
You may not want to think about it, but you will get things wrong in your marriage. But nobody expects you to be perfect. What your partner expects from you is that you do as best as you can. As such, making mistakes is also part of the deal. Being able to apologize for your wrongdoings and learn from them is what keeps your marriage alive. Whether you were short-tempered and hurt your partner’s feelings or you forgot to schedule us-time, accepting your error is the beginning of a stronger relationship. You can’t afford to play a blame game to win every argument. Instead, being willing to make amends to fix your mistakes shows commitment to your couple.
Young marriages can survive just as well as any other. However, you need to be ready to put your relationship first if you’re going to make it last. It’s all about building something strong and beautiful together, and that means sharing decisions, discussing your worries and fears, and being able to make time for each other in your day. How old you are doesn’t affect your marriage. But how attentive you are to each other will!