Married To Young

I wanted to share this story with those younger folks out there that especially women that have this young romantic idea of marrying a handsome man get the house with the white picketed fence, 1.5 kids and a Volvo.  Back when I was 19 I met a women, started to date in the course of than dating I was pretty certain that I got her pregnant so I did the honorable thing and proposed marriage to her.  Honorable or not it was one of the biggest mistakes of my life, many people tried to tell me this at the time but I was 19, in the Air Force so I was a "man" so I knew what I was doing.

My first wife was a high school dropout, which did have a driver’s license and never held a job.  I being young, idealistic and a romantic had this idea that I could swoop in on my white horse and "save" her.  It took me time to realize that saving the damsel in distress only gives you a distressed damsel.  It is now 20 years later and to my knowledge those 3 main facts about her have not changed, the truth is that a person has to be willing to save themselves.  Ladies don't take the man that is rough around the edges and try to "change" him, it does NOT work it only builds tension and resentment for people on both sides of the relationship.

Getting back to my story, we were married for 5 years and it was apparent to everyone but me that this was heading for disaster.  In those 5 years we produced 3 children.  We truthfully were good at only one thing together and that was under the sheets.  In the end it was not enough to hold it all together.  To a certain degree I believe that we had the 2 additional children to spite our parents who were all predicting doom and gloom.

To give you an idea of the conditions that I lived, my wife did not work or drive so it the house was her responsibility but she did not like cleaning.  So I would wake up to go to work, come home at lunch time and see my toddler son many times still in his crib with the same diaper that I but on him last night of course filled with yuck.  My wife was still sleeping and she would wake upon and insist that I make her lunch too.  One day my son got out of his crib and decided to make in snow inside the house with baby powder, which powder stayed on the ground until I got home from work so I could clean it up.  The house was so bad that we were infested with vermin of all types including mice and rats.  I did my best to keep it clean but she had no interest in helping. 

And we would fight all the time over every different issue that you can think of, money, household, family, kids you name it.  The fights never got physical but they came close.  Therapist later told me of the "cycle of violence" tension leading up to a flight or argument, then the argument the blowout per say, then the honeymoon period - the makeup session per say.  In bad relationships this cycle happens over and over again with decreasing time in between occurrences.  Ours was occurring at least daily at the end.

About 5 years after we were married I was stationed on the Island of Guam; it was a remote assignment meaning that my family could not accompany me.  Away from the household the "spell" was broken and I took a deep self assessment of my life, I realized that the marriage was had changed me in to someone that I wasn't, so I decided to end the marriage.  This was not an easy decision because I was stepping into the great unknown, what would I do? What would happen?  What would happen with the kids?  How would this affect them in the long run?  But most importantly I was ashamed that I would get the big "I told you so" from my family.  But I had to go through with it to save myself and it I was not squared away then I could not help my kids.

Shortening up the story I did get divorced and I did gain full custody of all my kids and I remarried (but that is a different story).  My 5 pieces of advice that I would like to share with anyone about marriage is:

1.  Be prepared to get married - forget the romantic notions and look at is as if you are entering into a legal contract (because you are) do you have the finances, maturity and self discipline to enter into the lifelong contract?

2.  Be ready to work - marriage is hard and must be worked on every day, you must be willing to compromise on some issues but NEVER compromise on your moral beliefs, if you do that then you are marrying the wrong person

3.  Listen to other BUT consider the source - other people can provide a 3rd party look into your marriage and see things that you are too close to see

4.  Like the person before you love them - you must be friends before lovers, you will spend more time hacking out bills then under the sheets with your spouse

5.  The wedding does not make the marriage - because you have a $20K wedding with all the bells and whistles does not mean that the marriage is going to last longer than a $50 wedding with the Justice of the Peace and a meal at Taco Bell. 

I hope that I have struck a chord with some of you and maybe made you think of your own situation.  Of course your replies are always welcomed.

Thank you

dsova dsova
36-40, M
18 Responses Mar 6, 2010

oops!!!!!!!!!! really

Thank you for sharing your story. Your 5 tips are well noted and appreciated.

Thank You, Now I know why I am still single at age 53. I am still waiting for God to send the right person for me and I for him. Your advice is very helpful. I am glad you shared your story. I made a lot of mistakes thinking men wanted to marry me. I am single, my one child is 28 now. I am still waiting on the right man for me. I have not given up. My experiences make me wiser, forgiving and humble.

Many Thanks dsova. I hopefully would like to get married soon, God willing. However the person is living in another country and i'll have to make major sacrifices to join them overseas.
So your advice has been very helpful.

You are so right I was married befor to and I was not happy we was not friends and I soon lernd it was time for me to leave

You are so right I was married befor to and I was not happy we was not friends and I soon lernd it was time for me to leave

Thank you so much for sharing your experience, it's a need to know view point .

Thanks so much for you post!<br />
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This is actually one of the most insightful articles I have yet to read on Experience Project.

I think that as a general rule, it's true that marriages made at a young age are more likely to falter than those made at an older age, but there are always exceptions to it. I married the day after I turned 20 and my husband was 22. We had a very happy marriage that lasted until his death 17 years later, and we'd still be married now, 32 years later, if he had lived.<br />
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Your ex-wife sounds very immature, even for her age.

She sounded depressed if not flat-out mentally ill, to me.

I am (almost) 50, have never been married and only recently even thought about it. But the operative word here is "thought". Would I? Nope. It has nothing to do with love or death till we part, it has to do with finances. Really. I was living with my ex for almost 18 years and like someone else said, we basically grew up together. I have lived with a male (platonic) friend for the last 14 and we work hard to keep an even keel. <br />
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As far as getting married, yes age makes a HUGE difference! At 18 your ideas about reality are so different from when you are 28 or 38 or 48 etc... if you really think that age doesn't matter, write down where you expect to be in 10 years and next year do it again and see what has changed.

Sounds like my brother's marriage, but he is still married. He and his wife aren't happy, but I don't think he is getting divorced. Maybe it's because of religious beliefs or money, but he isn't happy. My sister's marriage isn't happy either; she is staying married merely for the kids. My other sister has been married twice and divorced both times.

Tell her from someone who was one of those kids: you're not doing it for us! I always wished my parents had split sooner; I couldn't stand all the constant bickering and tension.

Not everyones the same though. Yes you definitely have to be friends 1st, but if you have a true love it'll outlast any problems. I married at 16, he was 19, & we have been married 11 years. Yes, it's hard work, we grew up together, fell together, changed together, came together, & now we are still happy with our choices & try hard everyday to make sure we & our children know our struggles so they don't marry early. What works for some doesnt work for all. My hope is that my children finish school & get through college 1st. But I won't stop them or get into their relationships.

Me and my bf are very serious and go through fights just like everyone elses relationship. I think you make a good point in what you say but like some of the othet comments I feel as though age does not matter, that if you spent some time with this person to know their flaws and background and know what your getting urself into, than get married. Frankly, marriage maybe just the sign to see if you can live and work togeather as a family. I know I might b just 19 yrs old but I am madly in love with my bf as he is with me.

I dont think it matters about the age I think its more about knowing thay person and at least being with them for three years before you get into all that. I think that marriages can go wrong at any age whether it is 19, 30, or 50 both people have to be equally yoked before they settle down.. Good advice dsova!!

I have found not getting married is usually the better solution, but thats just me. <br />
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but if you just have to get married, your dead on buddy. Personally I think if you want to get married wait till your thirty, lived your life, do the things you want to experience get it all out of your system then consider getting married.

I really like what you have to say. Thank you so much.!

I've found several "questionnaires" like the one at this link; they have GREAT points to discuss BEFORE you get engaged/married. Many people forget how these ideas can affect their relationship and never talk about them beforehand: <br />
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This was great. Recently my boyfriend and I have been talking about marrige we have a very healthy relationship but ur 5 to think about just made me realize what mess we can make if were not stable before entering marrige or sure!