Crazy? No. Lot’s of people are madly in love at 16, lots of people want to get married when they’re 16. Lot’s of people also find that who they love at 16 is not going to be who they love at 26, 56 or 86 though. It’s important to give yourselves time to grow as people before legally binding yourselves to one another.
If you’re meant to be together forever, you can wait to get married for a while. Finish school, go to college if that’s what you want to do, work for a while, move in together when you’re 18, pay bills together, do laundry together, have a car tire explode on the freeway, have a pet die, have a pregnancy scare, freak out about how you’re going to pay rent AND eat AND keep the lights on, have a big fight about how you feel about each other’s friends, feel jealous about someone they work with, experience life for a while with each other and see how you manage. Figure out how you both handle stress and boredom and anxiety. See if they are someone you can live with for the rest of your life.
Being in love is amazing, being in love and still liking each other after some shit goes down is harder. It’s easy to think everything will be sunshine and roses when you’re 16 and don’t have to worry about bills and rent and what to make for dinner and car insurance and a job you hate and being too tired to have sex.
If it’s for life, you’ve got time. Be engaged for a super long time. Be engaged for 10 years if you want. But make sure this is the person who is going to grow with you and not away from you.
That’s my biggest advice for young people who want to get married. You grow SO much during your late teens and 20’s. So much stuff happens. And it’s natural that as you’re growing and learning about yourself and how you react to real life that you might discover that you’re growing apart. It’s no one’s fault, it’s just how it happens. I know people who met their partner in high school and got married young and built a life together and are still married in their 50’s and 60’s. But it’s SO rare. And I can tell you that although I know it can happen, I’ve seen a lot more people who thought they wanted to be married at 18 or 20 who ended up divorced by 30 and who missed out on HUGE experiences they could have had if they hadn’t been trying to make a life work with someone who wasn’t fitting with them anymore.
I was engaged at 18, I didn’t marry that person. He met someone else while he was dating me and broke up with me for her. They’re married and have three kids. That worked out for them. I was with someone from 21 to 28, we didn’t get married. He’s married now and I’m married now to different people. We’re both happy. (I think he’s happy. I don’t talk to him but mutual friends have said he’s happy.)
I can’t imagine being married to anyone except who I am married to now. I was 30 when I got married. I’m glad I waited. I experienced SO much just between 28 and 30 that was important for me to do so that I could be healthy and an active participant in a relationship. If I had gotten married at 18 to that first guy I probably wouldn’t have gone to college, I wouldn’t have moved out of Alaska, I wouldn’t have traveled or been a music writer or a victim advocate or a radio DJ or a sex advice blogger. I would have been a wife and a mom in no time, I’m sure. That’s what he wanted. He wanted a family right away. He found someone who wanted that with him and I am SO SO SO grateful he did find that person for him and that I moved on and was able to experience all the amazing things I did. And now I’m ready to be a wife and a mom. And I found a partner who is ready with me and is growing and learning with me. We met at the best possible time in our lives for things to work with the two of us. (Fun fact: we went to junior high and high school together but where such radically different people in high school that we would have NEVER worked out romantically. It took FIFTEEN YEARS for us to cross paths again in a way that put us together romantically. Amazing, right?!)
So, be engaged. Be engaged for a super long time. Be in love. But don’t forget to live your life in the meantime.