Married Young – How We Made it Work

My husband and I got married when we were 21.  We spent two years as married college students.  Many people were unsure about us marrying while we were still in college. They didn’t think it was a good idea for many reasons (money, balancing marriage and school, insurance, and babies), but we were committed to making it work.  These are some things that helped our marriage thrive in the first few years:

Michelle and husband 2Everything is a Team Effort
My husband and I made sure to do lots of things together.  It helped us grow and form our expectations for married life.  We budgeted together.  We planned the meals together and shopped together.  We never spent money (except pocket change) without discussing it with one another.  Although we each had our own friends, we made it a priority to spend time together first, which strengthened our relationship.

Trust is Essential—in Big things and Small
It starts with revealing your small, embarrassing habits—things almost no one knows about you—to your spouse.  When you live in a 600 square foot apartment, nothing stays secret for long anyways.  Trust your spouse not to judge you, and don’t judge them in return!  Trusting my husband in small things helped me trust him in big things, and he says the same thing about me.  We felt sure that the other person would always do the right thing in any situation because we really knew each other.

Talk About and Plan for the Future
Even if things seemed bad at the time—we were eating ramen noodles for dinner again, or the heater was broken in January and wemichelle and husband couldn’t get in touch with our land lady—we always planned for the future.  My husband had a job to look forward to after graduation.  We knew kids would be in the picture (now we have 3).  We loved to talk about our future, and the dreams we had of our growing family helped us to get through the difficult moments.  So talk about your dreams and plan for ways to achieve them.

Since I haven’t said it outright, communication is the key ingredient in all of these things.  If you don’t talk to your spouse, you can’t connect with them or support them.  Talking about how we feel, what we want, and what we’ve done still shapes the main part of our marriage today (even with all of the distractions of everyday life), and that connection with your spouse is what marriage is all about!

I’ve heard that the first years of marriage are the hardest.  What are some things you married folks have done to survive and thrive when the going gets tough?

Michelle
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4 Comments

  • We also married at 21. In 1977. It does take communication, teamwork and creativity. I do tell others to wait. Make sure you are ready for hard work, commitment and you know what your life goals are. Then commit forever and communicate and find ways to make it work. Ninteen cent a pound turkey legs were a common purchase of ours. We did date night. Without a babysitter! Most Fridays the kids went to bed at 8:30 and then we made our dinner together, had dinner together, then watched a movie or played a game. When the kids were older and could stay home alone, we went down to the corner grill at 10pm on Friday night for half price appetizers. The key is to figure it out together. To do that you communicate.

  • My husband and I got married at 22 and 21, right after college. We felt some pressure from the culture at large to wait longer, but I’m so thankful that we’ve had four great years together. When things do get tough, we talk, talk, talk until we’ve come to an understanding of each other’s sides. One helpful phrase to remember is “You are not my enemy.” My husband says this whenever I am tempted to feel that way. It reminds me that we are on the same team, even when there are frustrating circumstances.

  • Making time for date night once or twice a month and also taking time for yourself and not feeling bad about it. The latter was especially hard for me as a mom because I felt like any time I was away I should rush because I needed to be home to take care of my family as the primary parent. It took love and support from my husband for me to really recognize that it’s ok to have time by myself away from the family now and then to concentrate on my interests or just get together with a girlfriend for an hour or two. Having that time apart helps me recharge and also gives us things to talk about outside of work and how the kids are doing. And, even though date night takes planning and can add up quickly when paying for a babysitter, it is time that helps us concentrate on the romance of our relationship and really focus on that connection.

  • I agree, communication is so important. My husband is my best friend and closest confident. Even when he was deployed, we talked as much as possible. We even went through a Bible study together long distance, which was so cool. i loved getting to the end of our time apart and feeling even closer to him.

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