Outside the wedding bell curve

Story and graphics by Lauren Vuchetich, NewsNetNebraska

“I never saw myself getting married in college but I love being married while in school,” Lauren Honeywell said. “It’s so good to come home to some stability, it’s a constant in my life.”

“We talked about marriage really early on, we saw ourselves together in the future right from the get-go, we kind of just made the mutual decision we would get married then went with it,” Honeywell a UNL family sciences major said.

Honeywell met her husband, Joshua, through a campus ministry group and eight months later they were engaged. “Then three months after that we were married.”
The National Center for Health Statistics found that about 60 percent of couples who get married at ages 20 and 25 are will get divorced. That’s 10 percent higher than divorces that occur between couples who marry at the average age or older.

“Generally, the younger you get married, the more likely you are to get a divorce. There are several variables to this, maturity, financial security,” Shala Hruska an intern for Nebraska Health an Human service said.

The National Marriage Project of the University of Virginia states that
one of the main struggles young couples run into life experience and emotional immaturity.

Honeywell acknowledges these struggles, “Getting married young also means that we are still in the egocentric line of thinking, so you have to be extra intentional about sacrificing which is hard because at times I only think that the way I am affected is important.”

Many college students don’t have a solid plan for their future, but the average American 26-year-old is (the average age of marriage) is more likely to have a firm idea of their future.

“The average of age of first marriage has been pretty consistently related to college graduation for quite some time. I do think young couples want to be more financially stable and settled within their career before they marry,” Sheree Moser a University of Nebraska-Lincoln family sciences professor said.

“Marrying older you are more settled and constant. You are more
likely to have an established career,” Hruska said.

Honeywell said that married life can be yet another excuse to procrastinate in college. ” It’s hard with work, homework, class, church and socializing. I’m really trying to learn how to be more intentional.”

One of the things that has been shown to strengthen marriages is common memories that a lot of young couples haven’t yet developed. Honeywell said she and her husband are very careful about making time for each other to strengthen their bond.

“Being married under the average age doesn’t have to be a scary thing,” Honeywell said not all young love should lead to young marriage, “Just because some people get married young doesn’t mean that it’s right for everyone.”

Data gathered from cdc.gov.

To beat the statistic of high Moser says pre-marital preparations should include counseling, an act that has proven to help marriages last longer, “The longer the pre-marital counseling, the lower the rate of divorce so I would recommend any couple getting ready to marry to get involved with some kind of counseling or therapy.”
“I taught a ‘Relationships’ class at Lincoln High for 20 years and we studied everything about the characteristics that would help make relationships strong and positive throughout life. I think the most important thing people need to remember is that any long-term relationship requires working on it from both of the parties,” Moser said. “If that means going to pre-marital counseling, then it should not be too much of a sacrifice considering the investment in a life partner. Work includes communication, honesty, trust, loyalty. All of the character traits that are common to any good relationship.”

Moser says the mentality toward marriage has changed in recent years and may have to do with younger people’s decision to marry, “One of the new concepts in the marriage literature that scares me is the ‘starter marriage’, a first marriage that lasts fewer than 5 years and produces no children. It’s almost like there is a ‘do-over’ attitude contrary to the commitment level that should be involved in a union that is promised to be life-long.

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