Getting Married Young (Part 3)

Part 1: How I Met My Husband

Part 2: That Summer

I got into Cal Poly (which, frankly, I think shocked both of us), and packed up my gear and headed North.

The campus was so large that I think it was a good 6 months before we ever accidentally ran into each other.

We obviously hung out before that, but it was always scheduled.  It was a long time before we bumped into eachother unplanned.

(Which, by the way, I loved because it helped me feel better about following my boyfriend to college!)

There were some bumps along the way.  But nothing that any normal relationship doesn’t go through.

We spent time together, I hung out with his friends, I made new friends, it was cool.

I still did the whole frat party, up until 3 in the dorms thing…while Andy hung out with his buddies playing video games or whatever.

We knew early on that we wanted to get married.  It was just the way it was.  I don’t think either of us romanticized it…it just was what was going to happen, you know?

But we also knew we were really young…and that we were going to have to give each other freedom to fully experience “College Life” or else there might be regrets later on.

It was sort of like “okay, we’re really young, but if we want to make this work, we have to let each other do our own thing because that’s what seems to mess people up 3 kids, a minivan, and a mortgage down the road.”

Translation: Andy had no interest in the party scene…so that meant that basically *I* was the one given lots of freedom.  :)

(And let me be clear: that freedom had boundaries, so don’t let your imagination run too wild folks!)

At some point, marriage came up.  Okay, from me.  Not gonna lie.

And eventually we got engaged after 3 years of dating…at 20 years old.

We set the wedding date to June 22, 2002…which was the summer BEFORE we would be graduating college.  We’d be 21.

This was a controversial decision.  For lots of people.

It was really interesting in a college/higher education environment to be engaged.

People were aghast at that gold ring on my finger.

I actually had a (very well intentioned) professor call me into her office and sit me down to discuss “throwing away my life”.  (While weird, I know that she only did it because we were “close” and she felt comfortable talking to me like that.)

It got to the point where I actually found myself sitting on my left hand sometimes when on campus.  Not because I was ashamed…just that I really didn’t feel like getting into it…again.

Why so young?

Well, by the time we said “I Do”, we had been dating for 4 years.

I would guess that we pretty much *knew* we were in it for the long haul by the 6 month mark.  No lie.

Andy gave me a promise ring for my 18th birthday.  I remember him saying “You know, if we weren’t 18, that’d be an engagement ring.”

And at some point we were just waiting for the sake of waiting.

Some people suggested waiting until after we graduated.   We had worked way too hard to get to that point in our academic careers to drop out at the 11th hour.  So that was really a non-issue for us.  Besides, we were both in the thick of school.  It wasn’t like one of us was plugging away in the library until 3 a.m. while the other was channel surfing and going to bed early.  We were in the same place and I think that made a HUGE difference.

Others suggested that if this “was really meant to be” that we wait until we were graduated and both had established careers.

Some suggested waiting until we were at least 26.

All of these suggestions are with good reason.  They all have solid arguments behind them and they all warranted some thought.  Everyone was well-intentioned and honestly looking out for our well being.

The statistics were against us for sure.

But, we felt like waiting was only waiting for the sake of waiting and essentially putting off the inevitable.

Kinda like that waiting for the perfect time to have kids thing.

And, we’re both kinda old souls anyway.

I do NOT suggest that every 21 year old out there is mature enough for marriage.  In fact, I think that is rarely the case.

Would I freak out if one of my kids came to me saying they were getting married at 21?  Depends.

It was the right decision for us.

It actually worked out really well to be married that last year.  Andy was in a crazy intense Senior Aircraft Design Lab and worked until 3 a.m. and was back out the door by 6…and I had arranged it to make my senior year as easy as possible, so I was able to take care of him and deliver meals to his lab and make that year a teensy bit more comfortable for him.

We graduated from college on the same day.


It was 5 years into our marriage before we had Henry.

And our new story began.

I don’t know that had we waited any longer that anything would have been any different, except that we’d be celebrating a different anniversary.

This June will be 8 years.

So folks, that is the story of how two 17 year old kids who didn’t even really like eachother all that much, went to Disneyland, fell in love, went to college, and got married.

We totally grew up together.

We are still growing up together.

I love that.




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
I'm a mom to four. A wife to one. I believe in story. I love telling you about mine and would love to hear yours. There's really no sense in wasting our suffering and not sharing in each other's joy. We're all in this together...even if it doesn't always feel like it.

Latest posts by jeannett (see all)


  1. 1

    so sweet! love the wedding pictures and i love that you graduated together and were married. thanks for sharing.

  2. 2

    i LOVED this little series… i love your guys’s story <3 we got married pretty young too when i look back, i am like wow we were babies (23)!! you guys really were but sometimes you just KNOW. this june will be 5 years for us!

  3. 3

    What a lovely story!!! I have been dating my boyfriend since high school too. We’re graduating from college in May. It looks like it will be a couple years before marriage is possible. I was totally ready three years ago, though! Someone asked me after our freshman year at college, What are you waiting for? I said, For us to be more mature. But we’re growing up together regardless. It’s been awesome and I’m so glad you guys have had a similar experience!!

  4. 4

    Love your story! My step-sister’s is somewhat similar… although she and her husband didn’t go to college. The timeline is nearly the same. They got married just before she turned 21 after dating through high school, had a daughter 5 years later and just celebrated their 9 year wedding anniversary. It is possible… despite what others may think.

  5. 5

    ahhhh! I love it, but the pictures wont load! am I the only one??

  6. 6

    Beautiful pictures. Ahhh, so sweet! Okay, this whole wait until you’re x,y, z to get married is crazy. Chris wanted me to be graduated and done with my credential program. Agonizing. He finished a little earlier than the rest of our pack because he wasn’t worried as much about his GPA – just wanted to get it done. He still got mostly A’s, B’s and a couple C’s. Anyhoo, I was the girl who was so jealous of you all with your wedding rings/engagement rings on in class. I figured, we know we’re ending up together – what are we waiting for?!?

    I love how Andy said if you were 18, it would be an engagement ring. So romantic! And he isn’t usually the romantic type, is he?

  7. 7

    I was 21 too when Phillip and I got married. I love “growing up together” and even though getting pregnant 4 months into our marriage wasn’t part of my plan I felt that getting married young prevented a whole lot of selfishness issues. I was for him, he was for me and we’ve been that way for almost 10 years of marriage. It just keeps getting better doesn’t it? I love these stories. Thanks for sharing.

  8. 8
    Lillian says:

    Thank you for posting this. I was the person who originally asked the question. I love the story of how you met, and how you never thought it would be anything serious, but now you’re happily married with three darling kids. I met my husband when I was 16 and he was 18 and we did the promise ring thing also. And we waited until I was 21 and we got married. We’ll be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary this May and we’ve been together for almost 16 years. We have two sweet girls who are 6 and 3 and we’re beating the odds also. Sometimes getting married young doesn’t work out, but sometimes when it’s right, it’s right.

  9. 9

    Unrelated – Hey, Jeannett, did you know that Starbucks is re-naming their sizes? I hear they’re adding “plenta” and “micra” or something like that. Just for you! Enjoy.

  10. 10

    I just read your whole story… after finding you from Joy’s Hope. And, you’re right, I should have taken the day off when I first stumbled upon Joy’s Hope to read her story. Now, I’ve read your story – in three parts. Loved it. It’s a fairy tale, funny, sweet, and real. Cheers to you.

  11. 11

    I came across from Joy’s Hope, too. It’s a small world: I recognized the pics of your hubby. I was also an Aero major and was in that same Senior Aircraft Design Lab. Fun times. Your story is similar to mine, I got married that December during Christmas break. I remember not feeling too odd when I found out that two other guys in the class were married.

  12. 12

    Just arrived from Joy’s Hope as well… loved reading your story! My husband and I met at Cal Poly! (he was ME, me Modern Langs). We got married 2 weeks after I graduated and he still had a year left of school. Wouldn’t change it. We miss SLO tons.
    Glad to have found your blog!
    Go Mustangs! ;)

  13. 13

    i love your story!!! we got married young too….only our story is MUCH different. :o)

  14. 14

    Nothing wrong with getting married young as long as you’re a good fit. My husband and I are celebrating our 20th anniversary this summer after getting married at 21 (me) and 22 (him). Now we have three kids and run a family business together. And yes, we did grow up together, which I think actually helps a lot. We didn’t start out with pre-formed expectations or a huge series of disappointments already behind us, which means we had fewer issues to deal with.

  15. 15

    I love this story. I actually very recently wrote a post similar to this one, because my husband and I met at 17, got married at 21, and we are both still in college. With a kiddo. It has definitely been a challenge, but so worth it.
    Here’s the link to the post.

    I would not be excited if my son wanted to get married before he was done college, but I’d still support him.

  16. 16
    Shellie says:

    We dated since sophmore year in high school, married 2 years after high school and will celebrate our 28th anniversary this summer. I was 19 and Scott was 20 but it worked for us. We waited 10 years to have kids (and are glad we did now that they are teenagers!) We did grow up together and are sad that so many who married after we did are divorced/remarried. Marriage is not always easy but with the right person it is always worth it!
    Great story, thanks for sharing…

  17. 17

    Read it all. I was married at 20. Happily. 7 years later, still stinkin’ happy. I love your story. You guys are adorable!
    .-= Kimmie´s last blog ..Dessert Stand Jewelry Display =-.

  18. 18

    You guys are so funny, talking about getting married young at 21! There’s…uh…a whole midwestern population that considers 21 OLD. Seriously. I was 19, my SIL was 19, another SIL was 17. My MIL and her mother were 16. Our pastors were 19. A friend and her husband were 18. Another couple at church were 18. And these are marriages that have lasted. Hubby and I are going on 15 years, my SIL’s are going on 18 years and 13 years, our pastors just celebrated 17 years, the one friends celebrated 18 years, and the other friends celebrated 30, I think it was. My in-laws are celebrating 40 this year, and hubby’s grandmother would have celebrated 60 next year if Grandpa hadn’t died last year. Some of us were high school sweethearts, while others were, believe it or not, middle school sweethearts. One friend (not in the list above) told me that he got engaged to his girlfriend at 14. Personally, I wouldn’t give any credit to a 14 year old boy that told me that…except he and his wife are now grandparents, so…uh…apparently they were. LOL!

    So…rest easy…you didn’t get married young after all. 16 and 17 is young.
    .-= Katie´s last blog ..Earthworm miracles… =-.

  19. 19

    I love your story! I was *that* girl that followed my high school sweetheart to college, married after my freshman year (my parents asked me to just give them one year), graduated on the same day, and we’ve been married 13 years this month! I like your perspective on it all, and I feel like that was my thought on my own relationship, once upon a time. Thanks for sharing.

  20. 20

    I know I just commented, but I had to comment again. ;) Apparently we have a bit in common. My husband and I got married on June 2, 2002. I was 20. He was 21. He actually graduated about a week before our wedding and I didn’t do college. When you know, you know! We didn’t see the point of waiting any longer. Our story is different in the fact that we became parents about 18 months after we got married.
    Emily @ The Modern Saver´s last blog post ..Taste of Home’s 5 cookbooks are back!

  21. 21

    Ohhh I’m so glad it all worked out. And hey, at least you dated for 4 WHOLE YEARS before marriage! Me – just 18 months! But ok, I was 24 when we got wed. You two were brave to go against the grain! ;) xoxo
    charlotte´s last blog post ..the way to my heart post

  22. 22

    I love finding stories like these, especially because I feel slightly alone in the whole “young marriage” thing sometimes. I’m 20 and got married last summer. Similar to you and your husband, my husband and I are still in school and very serious about our goals. But, I couldn’t imagine NOT being married to him and I certainly didn’t see the logic in waiting for the sake of waiting.

    Thanks for the post!