Marrying Young: A Military Tradition

Leaving the party early, quitting at halftime, checking out, GAME OVER.  I’ve heard it, you’ve heard it, and we’ve all heard it. The “it,” I’m referring to is the unavoidable train wreck that young marriages are “supposedly” going to result in.  Knowing that this way of thinking is the norm for the general population, I stood in front of my Sociology class relatively calm waiting for my power point presentation to load. As soon as the title page displayed I saw the grimaces, I heard the snarky remarks, and for a split second I debated faking a technical difficulty. In big black bold letters the title page read, “Married at Eighteen.”

military weddingI’m guessing some of your reactions are going to be similar to that of my classmates so before anyone’s blood pressure rises to an unhealthy level, hear me out. I was married at eighteen (just a month shy of nineteen) to a handsome soldier who was twenty-one at the time. In the civilian realm marrying young is abnormal, in fact, marriage itself is becoming abnormal but in regards to the military world young love is somewhat of a tradition. When looking at the demographics it’s apparent that military marriages have steadily been pursued at younger ages when compared to civilian marriages.  According to statics young marriages are more at risk for divorce, occurrences of emotional and physical abuse, separation, and a number of other unfavorable factors.  I’ve never been one to be a negative statistic.

In lieu of advocating for all the hopelessly in love teenagers to grab their GI, run to the nearest courthouse, and seal the deal after reading this; I want to serve as a voice of caution yet optimism for those of us who may not have followed in the footsteps of marriage at a “socially acceptable age.” I will never pretend that my marriage is perfect (who’s is?), but I consider it to be quite successful, supportive, and loving even though I married at a young age. After reading a recent article by army spouse, Traci Moran, (Orange Shorts and Dog Tags) and the comments that addressed the stupidity and awful nature of being married young I felt prompted to embark in conversation concerning the nature of young love in the military.

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