The Pros and Cons of Teen Marriage - Guest Post



Julia Asel Thomas is our guest blogger today.  She is the author of a new book, Loving the Missing Link, a chronicle of a young girl from a small town, which is part of the WOW blog tour.  Like her character, Julia is also a small town girl.  

Small towns are interesting and wonderful places.  Unlike the big cities, in a small town everyone knows everyone.  There are certain expectations and certain "ways" of doing things.

In small towns, many teenagers can't wait to get away.  Often, they resort to running away from what they see as an oppressive life to marry.  Once in the "real" world, though, things change.

Julia writes today about teen marriage - a topic of some concern in both small towns and big cities.  I believe you will find her words filled with wisdom.


~~~~

Let me start by saying that I would never advise two teenagers to get married. It is a risky business starting out together with so few resources and so little experience. However, for all of you who have already tied the knot and for your families, who are understandably worried, I would like to take an honest look at teen marriage including both the positive and the negative aspects. 

Pro: You’re young! 

As a young married couple, it is easy to enjoy the simple things in life. Many of the things you can afford to do are things you are probably physically suited to do. You can enjoy taking a long walk in the rain, going to concerts in the park, or taking a cross-country road trip in your beat-up old car. When you are older, the rain might seem more of an inconvenience than a treat. As you get older, you will probably prefer going to concerts where you could get a more comfortable seat. And, as a more mature adult, you are more likely to be too busy for a long road trip. Flying is just so much easier. But, as a young couple, the world is new and you are not afraid to enjoy it. 

Con: You’re young. 

Being young can also be a downside of teen marriage. You may feel that you have a deeply committed relationship with your spouse, and you actually might, but older couples are likely to belittle your relationship because of your age. As a teen, you have fewer legal rights within the system. Plus, you haven’t explored the world enough to know exactly what you want out of life. 

Pro: Everything is fresh and new for you. 

As a teen couple, you can find pleasure in things that seem old hat to others. In Loving the Missing Link, the two main characters, Cheryl and Jerry, have a marvelous adventure just test driving a car. They get so excited about Jerry’s getting a promotion that they start jumping on their cheap bed until it breaks. That’s not the kind of reaction most people would have as they get older. 

Con: You lack experience and resources. 

While there are young people who have had more experience in life than others, most people who get married young have trouble making wise decisions about their financial affairs, about when to have children, and even about the place they call home. In my book, Cheryl and Jerry struggle with homelessness for a short time because they don’t have the resources to just check into a hotel when their home is lost in a natural disaster. When you are a teen couple, it is hard to plan for emergencies when it takes everything you have just to make ends meet. 

Pro: You grow up together. 

As a teen couple, you will teach each other many things if you are positive and stay together long enough. If one of you is better at social situations and the other is better at budgeting, you are both young enough to learn those lessons from each other if you are willing to work at it. One of the most important things to take away from Loving the Missing Link is that your spouse can help you become the person you were meant to be. 

Con: Your personalities are not fully formed. 

Teenagers have to grow up during their teen marriage. Your personality will alter as you mature. If you get married as a teenager, you are taking a gamble that you will still enjoy each other’s company once you really know who you are. 

Con: Many teen marriages fail quickly. 

According to a 2008 New York Times article, teen marriages were two to three times more likely to end in divorce than marriages that were entered into after the age of 25. I’m sure the numbers are not much different today. The problem is even more evident when the teens get married because of a pregnancy. There are just too many issues and responsibilities for two teenagers to have much of a chance to stay married. 

Pro: Some teen marriages last and last. 

In Loving the Missing Link, Cheryl and Jerry have problems but do not split. Would they have broken up if the story had continued? That is hard to say. One thing I can tell you is that I married my husband when I was 18 and he was 19, and we have been together over 37 years. So, it’s not impossible. 

I guess what I am saying is, if you haven’t already gotten married as a teen, think hard about what you are about to do. But, if you have already gotten married, don’t despair. Your fate is not sealed nor your future set in stone. You can make a teen marriage work if you are committed to it and willing to suffer some hard knocks along the way. Marriage is always a gamble. No matter what age you are, you have to be willing to accept that risk and take it as a challenge to make your marriage the best it can possibly be. 

Author Bio: Julia Asel Thomas writes stories with vivid descriptions, authentic dialogue and revealing narration. Her debut book, Loving the Missing Link, presents the engrossing and moving story of a young, small town girl who grows up, lives and loves while trying to find a balance between despair and hope. 

Like the protagonist in Loving the Missing Link, Julia Asel Thomas knows small town life. However, Julia’s experiences were quite different than Cheryl’s. Julia is the middle child of seven children and the daughter of a church organist and a business manager. Growing up in the small town of Hamilton, Missouri, Julia’s family enjoyed a reputation as a bright and interesting family. Julia thrived on the quiet and carefree life she lived in that gentle place. 

When Julia was in high school, she earned a scholarship for a trip to Cali, Colombia as a foreign exchange student. The experience, although it only lasted a few brief months, had a profound influence on the rest of her life. After her time abroad, Julia realized in a very real way that, although customs may differ from culture to culture, the substance of human emotions is constant. We all need love. We all need to feel secure. We all have happy moments and sad moments. Back from Colombia, Julia become ever more interested in capturing these human emotions through music and writing. 

After high school, Julia took a break before going on to college. During this time, she married her husband, Will. Will joined the Air Force, and Julia accompanied him to bases around the country, taking college classes in each town where they resided. Their two children were born in Las Vegas, Nevada, while Will was stationed at Nellis Air Force Base. Married in 1976, Julia and Will are thrilled to celebrate each new anniversary and look forward to staying together for life. 

Julia began writing fiction at the age of ten, when her 5th grade teacher gave her the assignment to write about “My Worst Day.” Julia took the opportunity to concoct every possible disaster a young child could face during the course of a normal day. The teacher loved her work and asked her to read it to the class. From then on, Julia wanted nothing more than to be a writer. 

In 2007, Julia began earning her living by writing articles, press releases and website content for a number of clients. As she settled into a routine of working every day on her writing, the old urge to write fiction resurfaced. In 2012, Julia started with a story she had written in 1985 and continued it to create the story in Loving the Missing Link

After Julia’s husband, Will retired from the Air Force, they moved back to Missouri and now live in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Find out more about this author by visiting her online: 
Author blog: http://lovingthemissinglink.com/ 
Author Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7171277.Julia_Asel_Thomas
Author Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/JuliaAselThomas Author Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/juliasselthom

Comments

Julia Asel Thomas said…
Reverend Linda,
Thanks for featuring my book and my post on your blog. This was a wonderful opportunity to share thoughts on a subject that is important to me - both as a person who got married as a teen and as a mother and grandmother who wants the best for her children. And thank you for your kind comments. Best withes in all you do!

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