In these days, adolescents primarily focus on the smaller things in life, such as finishing school and graduating, dating, and possibly finding a job. They see the world in a different light compared to most adults. Teens are eager to embrace new and exciting experiences, and enjoy their youth before adulthood hits them. At least that’s the case for the majority of them.
For many years, it was very common for teens to legally get married under the age of 18. Many factors can contribute to teen marriage such as family, wealth, religion, or cultural reasons. However, couples may marry young because they feel like they are ready for a lifetime of commitment. Although teenage relationships and marriages are often romanticized, they can still be an unpropitious choice for adolescent couples. Marriage carries a higher level of responsibility than what adolescents can manage. Marriage itself goes beyond just loving relationships and understanding; it comes with a more grounded side, which is finance. Though teens are likely to get a job, their income would not be enough to sustain those finances. Unlike adults who marry after they find a stable job and are more than likely already living on their own, teens are much too often dependent on their parents for financial support. This easily makes marriage at a young age a major challenge. Especially when you have to balance between adolescent decisions and adult decisions.
Former West Salem High School student, Violet Vaughn happened to be one of those few who decided to take such a leap in life. Opposed to your typical high school relationships, Vaughn was happily engaged for two years. She says the relationship between her and her fiance at the time was like “switching on the radio to hear a good song”, “Different things click for different people and it was nice to have someone that was music to me”. Even with facing obstacles of being engaged young, Vaughn expresses what it was like to have that commitment in high school, “I felt relieved, and I felt comforted to know that I had something to look forward to. I feel like so much boy drama happens in high school, but I already had someone… It was also nice to have someone who spoke the same way as me, so when I was done at the end of the day I could talk about it with someone who understood”. She briefly mentions that it meant she didn’t feel like she had to fake, because she already her someone.
However, the couple did come across complications further into the engagement, “I don’t know if being a year younger was much of an excuse, but he was a year behind me with just about everything. Getting a car, getting a job, being responsible, maturing…. It got hard to be the only supporting role in the relationship, and became a tender spot in our relationship.” she states.
Though now separated, Vaughn still has some final advice to give, “You have to give your heart to get a heart. Which should include trust, forgiveness, courage, support, fight, and loyalty. Those things, and ALL THOSE THINGS, are going to make it last”.
Marriage is shockingly one of the leading causes for teenagers not being able to graduate from high school. For teens, this means simply depriving themselves of basic education needs and imperative skills of socialization. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control Prevention, 48 percent of those who marry before 18 are likely to divorce in 10 years, compared with 24 percent of those who marry after the age of 25. Needless to say, is getting engaged young the right decision or do teens to mature more before proceeding to take on a lifelong commitment?