Marrying Young

Kate says . . .

We started dating when I was 16 and Brad was 17. We went to different colleges and finally got married 6 years later at our parent’s request to finish college first. We were married at ages 21 and 23. We married young. We were kids and we have the pictures that prove it.brad and Kate marry young

I don’t regret it one bit. There are benefits to marrying young that I believe our society has left behind. I realize that not everyone meets the person they feel they are to spend their life with, while they are young and there is nothing they can do about that. You should not just marry someone while you are young because you can. On the other hand believing you need to wait until you are established (not sure what everyone means by that) and in your 30’s to marry does not have to be a trend. So what exactly are the benefits to marrying young?

We Grew Up Together

I know many people say this, but it is true. I have done as much growing up with Brad next to me as I did with my siblings. Even more in many areas of my life. We have learned so much about life, love, people, hurt, lose, grace and God’s amazing love for his people. We experienced much of our adolescents and all of our adulthood together. It has been an amazing, confusing journey. It has refined us and revealed much about who we are. Even though our story wasn’t easy in the beginning, growing up together has been a precious opportunity I am so thankful we did not miss. I hope our kids have the same opportunity that we did.

We achieved our dreams and goals together

We all dream and have goals we want to accomplish in our lives. Being married young has allowed Brad and I to experience those things together. Being each other’s number one fan and supporter. Having my other family and friends around me was a blessing, but none quite as unique or special as having Brad with me for all of them. Just doesn’t get any better than sharing those dreams with the love of your life!

Fewer relationships-less baggage

Our journey has not always been easy. In fact at times it was downright hard and heartbreaking. Sex was not always fun or easy. As we have shared openly, we waited to have sex until we were married. I am positive we crossed lines we should not have while dating for 6 years, but we managed to wait. Sex was still a challenge for us. It was a challenge and we didn’t have any baggage of past partners. I am thankful that we did not also have the hurdle of past sexual relationships to get over as well. There is no guarantee that if we do as God asks, that everything will be easy. But when we follow what God asks, we have the best opportunity for living the marriage God desires.

Experienced the life stages together

Teens, 20’s, 30’s and soon 40’s – we have gone through all of them together. The emotional, spiritual and physical changes that come as we grow and change. Brad is soon turning 40 and I won’t be far behind him. I cannot wait to celebrate the amazing man of God I am married to, this year and every year as he grows and changes. I am in awe of who he is and that he chose to spend his life next to me!


One of the biggest reasons I am thankful to have married young is simply, grace. Marriage and my wise, handsome, forgiving man have taught me so much about God’s love for us and his grace that covers ALL of us. Brad is a beautiful tool that God has used to shower me with grace. And there is simply nothing I can better do in life than to grasp onto grace.

Did you marry young? Do you agree?

Did you purposefully wait till you were established? Why did you choose that? Let us know in the comments!

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24 Responses to Marrying Young

  1. We married when we were 20 and 23. It seems young today, but we didn’t think twice about it back then. We just celebrated our 31st anniversary!

  2. We became a couple at seventeen while we still in high school. We got engaged at nineteen and married at twenty. I agree. We have grown up together, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and soon 60s — nearly forty wonderful years! Soon after we were married, I started my first full-time job as a teacher of six and seven year old children. I had to grow up — fast. I changed a lot, and quickly; but since we were already married we grew through those changes together. Thank God my wonderful husband as we now face the challenge of looking after my mother, who has dementia, and can easily wear me down!

    • Hi HisWifeForLife,

      It is amazing to grow with our spouse. It’s not always easy at times, but I believe if we grow and change together (not that we make the same changes) then we don’t look at our spouse and think “who are you?” It is a beautiful thing to face challenges together. I am sorry to hear of your mom’s dementia, but I know that God has a plan for your marriage through that. Just like he did when we cared for my uncle who was dying of cancer. Thanks for sharing! Blessings, Kate

  3. My husband and I married young. I was 20 and he was 22. We celebrated 18 years this year. It was what we both wanted. I’m sure it made our parents a little nervous. We were (and still are) both homebodies, had (and still have) faith in God, and didn’t have a “wild” stage in life. I’ve even had a friend call me an “old soul”. So I think that may have helped our parents be at ease. Our story is a little similar to Brad and Kate. Although we knew each other in high school and were friends, we didn’t date until after high school.

    • Hi Tiffany,

      I think it made our parents nervous too, because we hadn’t really dated many other people. But God is for our marriage and wants good things. So thankful for you sharing your story! Blessings, Kate

  4. I agree that there are definite benefits to marrying young. We started dating inhigh school at 17 and married at 22. No regrets here at all! Millennials don’t seem to be very marriage minded and that is a shame.

  5. I had turned 20 a month before I got married. We’ve definitely had our ups & downs. We both had a child from a previous relationship. I was also broken sexually. Last year I told my husband I wanted a divorce. He told me no. I did everything I could to make him not want to be with me. I sought out help in Feb & by the end of the 5 days that I was gone, I knew that I wanted so much for my marriage to work out. In Aug, we celebrated 15 years of marriage.

    • Hi Allyson! Thank you for sharing! I am so thankful that you and your hubby are still on this marriage journey. What a beautiful testament. By chance were you are the Women at the Well intensive. Our dear friend Shannon has done so much for the kingdom where marriages are concerned! Just curious. Blessings, Kate

  6. Rob was my first boyfriend – we were 15 and 17. We married at 19 & 21. It’s so true that we grew up together… I think, after 31 years of marriage, we’re still doing that “growing up” thing! 😉 We’re now in our 50’s with grown kids, and heading into the abyss of grandparent-hood next month. (How is that possible? I still feel like that 19 year-old! Inside, anyway.)

    We are so thankful to have each other, and the memories of 3 decades to build on. We can’t imagine being anywhere other than beside each other.

    As a side note… (maybe a post you might like to tackle?)

    After a recent conversation with some millennials about marriage, we are intrigued by their reactions to two words: commitment (negative response) and loyalty (positive response). Apparently these particular millennials have an intrinsic aversion to the concept of commitment, yet yearn for and are searching for loyalty….

    Any thoughts on this, Brad & Kate?

    • Hi Lori,

      Man are we incredibly thankful for you and Rob! Your marriage and ministry is incredibly and a testament to God’s plan for marriage. 🙂 That is some very interesting truths about millennials. I will have to chew on that a bit and throw it around with Brad! Now that you put words to it, I see it is very true. The thing that intrigues me is how that came to be. What cultural shifts, parenting and perspectives on marriage have brought that about. You’ve got me thinking. 🙂 So thankful for you and Rob. Blessings, Kate

  7. Really good stuff, Brad & Kate. I wish we had married at younger ages. We were 28 and 31 when we got married.

    But, I do know I would have been a terrible husband if i did get married anytime before when we did say I do. Not becoming a believer until 24 years old, I don’t think i had any clue what a godly husband looked like. Same with Kristen, who also became a believer later in life.

    Most of our friends married young, so we’re actually closer friends mostly with couples 3-5 years younger than us since our kids are the same age.

    I do hope my kids walk with the Lord all the days of their lives and marry much younger than we did (and are much better prepared than we were!).

    • Hey Scott,

      We are incredibly thankful for you and your wife and the wonderful timing of your marriage. We know that our story and young marriage cannot be everyone’s story. You should NOT just get married young, to get married young. On the other hand you should not avoid it because there is so much else you need to accomplish or because commitment should be for when you are in your 30’s. In the town we grew up in we were considered “very young” when we got married. You needed to have your education and career before you got married. We submitted to some of that but if we could do it over, we would have gotten married sooner. It has given us much perspective and wisdom on the expectations we will and will not put on our kids. 🙂

      As for the being prepared part . . . we have said so many times that we wish we had been proactive about being better prepared for our marriage. Hence why we want to be a part of the church revolution that is preparing and educating those who are about to be married as well as those who already are. Merge and re|engage are good stuff! Thanks for all you do for marriages and for sharing! Blessings, Kate

  8. Kate,

    Thanks so much for this!

    Sure, I know the stats on “young marriages”. I also know most of those couples marry for very bad reasons – reasons which are bad regardless of the ages of the couple.
    On the other hand, a disproportionate number of the great marriages I know are people who married young.
    When you weed out the one’s who were doomed for reasons other than age, a lot of young couples do fantastic!

  9. We married at 19 & 23 after dating for 4 years….that was 21 years ago. Our vows have been put to the test with illness and life, but we’ve always been on the same team, and loving each other through the challenges.

    One of my favorite things is the growing up together and formulating life’s goals and dreams as we’re living. And I also like that there are very few stories we have that don’t include the other. Not too much back history to fill in.

    Now saying all that, does it give me pause to think that my 10 year old could be getting married in 9 years?? Yes! But if it comes to that, I think her dad and I will be her biggest fans.

    Thank you for your Truth-filled blog!

  10. We were both married at the age of 21. Both of us were mature for our age. We now have been married for 35 years.

  11. We began dating at 18 our senior year and married, after a mildly rocky courtship at 22. We both had growing up to do. That, along with finishing college was hard at times, and sexually, we had problems. But, 15 years and nine children (2 of those in heaven) later, we are so much closer than we have ever been. I couldn’t have dreamed our relationship could be this good, thanks to God’s grace. Sometimes I think we got married too soon, that we were not ready, but I’m hanging on to God and trusting that He will continue to hold us up.

  12. My husband and I started dating at 17 & 16- got married at 18 ( 30 days before hubby’s 19th birthday). We will celebrate 34 years come January. I will agree that getting married early served us in good stead. Our children are 19,15 and almost 14 and no of them are planning to marry as early as us but that is ok. Marrying early has given us a chance to grow together.

  13. Yes, I agree, marrying young is really good that I encourage any man that has the means to take care of a woman to go ahead and marry early. However, one must be matured in mind and in character to be able to withstand the other side of marriage.

    I said this because if a man is not matured in mind and character, not necessarily in age, he will mess up with marital challenges that come his way. It takes matured minds to handle maturely marital challenges.

  14. In traditional cultures, men and women had a lot better idea of the roles, responsibilities, and (reasonable) expectations that marriage carries at a lot younger age. I know a couple of one such culture that was married at 14, and that presumably by arrangement (i.e., they were not “in love” when their union began); They’re well over 60 now, and it is amazing to see the affection, consideration, and understanding between them (and they, incidentally, are not even Christians).

    Marriage, to a large degree, is what you make of it, and if someone is mature enough to understand that, and godly enough to know their true Source of continual help and wisdom, they’re likely mature enough to marry.

    Trouble in the modern age is that we want to have it all: the “perfect” education/career/timing/economic level/etc, and ultimately partner. Practically none of these even exist, much less so in combination. The likely effect of expecting the non-existent to create fairy-tale unions is predictable.

    I was 42 and my wife 33 when we married (after knowing one another only about a year), and while we trust it was His timing and purpose and we are quite satisfied in our marriage 5 years on, we often could wish we’d met each other earlier, partly for some of the same reasons outlined above.

    It should be remembered that His goodness and grace and wisdom do not suddenly have to kick in at 27 (the statistically “most successful” age for marriage in North America). Raise your kids right… teach them very early on what really matters in life, both by word and example.

  15. I was 30 when i married. I didn’t plan it to be like that but that is how it was. I think there a lot of changes in society that make it harder to marry young, especially financial ones. There is brain research that show the part of your brain that is responsible for making good decisions doesn’t fully mature until the mid twenties.
    I’m not sure people who wait until later always have more baggage. I barely dated in high school.My daughter who is a senior has not started dating. I think if one is involed in a serious dating relationship in high school that comes with tradeoffs.
    I don’t think there is one perfect age to marry I think it is highly individual.

  16. I was just thinking this week about how young my husband and I were when we got married. After knowing one another for only 6 months we were married at 18 and 19. He was in the Navy and being transferred to Hawaii for 3 years, so I HAD to go with him. 🙂 We recently celebrated 36 years of marriage and there isn’t a thing I would change. We have had our difficulties, like all marriages, but like a previous person said, we grew up together. We have built a good life together thanks to our stubbornness and the grace and love of God. We have 4 children ranging in age from 35-26 and with them grown and living their own lives, we are still young enough to enjoy our marriage as we did when we were younger. Thank you for the great read this morning.