I am currently 23 years old and I’ve been married for about a year and a half now. I have a beautiful baby girl that is 2 years old and I love my wife and daughter more than anything on Earth.
Getting married at a young age is a difficult thing to make succeed, but once you get the whole process down it will be the most rewarding part of your life.
I met my wife in high school at the age of 15, she was only 12 at the time. I met her through her brother whom I attended school with. He invited me over to play some games with him one day and it turned out to be a good friendship over the years. While spending time at his house, sometimes I would stay over for days, I started to become friends with his family. Over the course of the 2 years that would follow, I was a good friend of the family and spent quite a bit of time at their house.
During the time spent over there, his younger sister started to become quite fond of me, and I of her. Knowing that she was much younger than me, and my friend’s younger sister, I was more than hesitant to even begin trying anything with her. So, we became good friends as well.
It wasn’t until my senior year of high school, her freshman year, that we began dating. Still, she was much younger than me and I got plenty of criticism for it believe me. The relationship began rough, but all high school relationships are weird anyway, but she was determined and pressed on to be with me.
As many relationships go, in the early stages of it I had trouble staying with 1 girl. This isn’t anything I’m proud of, but that’s just how it went. I broke her heart several times before finally wising up and getting it together.
We continued dating after I graduated and everything was going well. When I was 19 she became pregnant, yes she was 16. I was mortified at the news and we constantly denied it to ourselves what was going on. Finally we told the family and much to my surprise her mom was excited and he brother didn’t seem to mind as much as I thought he would. Our daughter was born in October when my wife was 17. We named her Lily.
When my wife graduated high school her family moved into a bigger house in town and I moved in with them. Let me tell you, that is a terrible idea now that I look back on it and if you can avoid living with more than 1 family in a household you should. But we were young and hadn’t established ourselves enough to live on our own yet, not to mention she just graduated. I was having trouble staying in college while working, and because I’m terrible at waking up in the mornings.
Finally about a year later we managed to get our own place, and it was exciting for both of us. We finally got to live on our own.
About 6 months into living in our own place, a friend of ours was having some trouble and needed a place to live, so we both agreed to help him out and let him move in with us for a while. Everything was going smoothly for a while, but our relationship began to slowly deteriorate and we both became very stressed out. As our relationship deteriorated and we both started to become doubtful, I did something I hadn’t thought I’d ever do again. I gave into temptation and slept with another woman. A few months later I told her and shit hit the fan.
Through some miraculous bargaining I convinced her to stay with me and that we’d work through it. The next day after this all went down, I had to kick out our friend who had been staying with us for over half a year. He didn’t take it well and he isn’t really in contact with us anymore, but you’ve got to realize that when you get married, your commitment to your spouse is more important than any friend you’ll ever have, especially if you have a child.
So, the months dragged on and things seemed to be getting better, but once again after several months our marriage hit a snag and things began to slowly drop off again. We were having people over all the time for parties and movie nights, I was spending a lot of time at work, and I was having a lot of trouble trying to find time to spend with my family.
My wife is very close to my family, and she began discussing our problems with my grandmother. This is of course very annoying to have your family know about your problems, but after looking back I’m very grateful for some of the advice she’s given us about how to make our marriage work. She suggested we watch a movie, Fireproof to be exact, and that it would help our marriage out. Me being the arrogant man I am, I just shrugged and said “Sure grandma, we’ll watch it.” So, after about a week we sat down together one night, watched the movie, me being the sap I am cried several times during it, and in the end I was surprised at some of the good advice and lessons I learned from the movie.
Overall, our relationship is still rough, but we’re determined to make it work. So, I will lay out some tips here that I believe are essential to making a young marriage work, or any marriage for that matter.
1. Your wife should be your best friend.
This can be viewed however you want, but I think this is the most important thing in making a marriage work. This doesn’t mean she should be your only friend or that you shouldn’t spend time with other friends, but it does mean, and I truly believe this, that your wife should be your best friend. When planning activities, errands, your work schedule, or anything you can think of, you should always ask what she thinks first. You should hold her opinion on any subject that matters to you highest above anyone else, unless it’s fishing or hunting, or building a house. But if your wife happens to be an expert at any of those then negate this last sentence.
2. Eliminate parasites in your marriage.
Let me first explain what a marriage parasite is. A marriage parasite is ANYTHING that creates a barrier between you and your wife. A parasite can take on any number of forms. Personally, my marriage parasites that I’ve dealt with were: certain friends, laziness, lack of attention, video games, and work.
The hardest parasites I’ve had to deal with in my marriage were my own friends. Personally, I think this is the hardest thing in my life I’ve had to deal with. People I’ve known longer than my wife were interfering with our relationship. When you say ‘I do’, you’ve got to realize that everyone aside from your wife is #2 when it comes to anything you’re going to do ever again. My friends were inviting me out all the time, coming over to hang out, or constantly nagging about my relationship and how stupid it was for me to be married this young. In several cases, it was my friends that were causing the biggest grief for me while trying to make my marriage work. I finally realized that this was causing huge problems and needed to be dealt with.
3. Carrying your own weight.
What I mean by this is simple. You’ve got to help your wife. This means doing the dishes when you don’t want to, folding laundry, cleaning the bathroom, anything that needs to be done you need to be a part of.
4. Make time for your wife.
I don’t care if you work 8 hours every day, you need to spend time with your wife. Most importantly, she needs to come first. The first thing you should do when you get home from work is give her a kiss and begin a conversation. I don’t know how many times I’ve gotten home from work and proceeded directly to the computer. This can’t be how it is. You have to put yourself 2nd when you have available time and spend some quality time with your wife. Even if it’s only helping cook dinner and then eating, you’ve got to put her first. The first thing on your mind when you clock out at work should be, what am I going to do with my wife when I get home. Find something you can enjoy doing with her, and it doesn’t have to be sex all the time (and probably shouldn’t be unless she’s a nympho) and make time immediately for whatever it is you plan to do. If you can’t think of anything to do just ask her what she wants to do.
5. If you have a kid, find something you can all do together.
Suck it up and go to the park sometime. This will make your wife extremely happy. I personally hate going to the park, but there are just those times that you need to put yourself 2nd and do something for your family. A day at the park, if that’s what your wife wants to do, will make her happier than any amount of laundry you do or dishes you can clean. If you just take one day out of your week to get out of your house and do something together with your family, this alone will do wonders for your relationship. Once a child is in the picture, making your kid happy is the easiest gateway to making your wife happy.
Now of course this article is all about my own personal experience; every relationship is different. If you’re young like me, the hardest thing about making a relationship work is doing the things you don’t want to do. I’m young, I like to go out with my friends, I like to drink, I like to party. But reality sets in when your marriage starts to hit a downward slope and you need to realize that you’ve got to set aside some of the things that personally make you happy for the things that make your family happy.
My marriage is far from perfect and I’m sure we’ll have plenty of hard places in the road ahead. Marriage is for life, and once you get the hang of it it will be the most rewarding thing you can build.