Seventeen and Engaged

Why Marrying Young is the Right Choice for Me

Audrey Tian, Designer

Ever since I answered “yes” to my boyfriend’s proposal back in December, I have received a variety of opinions on our decision, many of which I never asked for.

Being a senior in high school, there is plenty to keep me busy and stressed, between school, work, extracurriculars, college plans and a long-distance relationship due to my now-fiancé, Caleb, being in the United States Air Force.

So why on earth would I want to add the stress of getting married to that list?

One important thing to consider is that I’ve been with this guy since the beginning of my sophomore and his junior year here in high school, over two years ago. We discussed and decided this relationship was worth the potential challenges of long-distance a few months before he was scheduled to leave home.

After eight long weeks of basic training, during which our contact was strictly limited to writing letters, it became clear to me that Caleb was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

Let me take a step back. This is the part where people start to think, “Audrey, honey, you’re seventeen. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.”

I get that, I really do. I know seventeen is awfully young to think I have my whole life planned out ahead of me, and I don’t. I’m not claiming to know everything about life or adulthood by any means, and I don’t expect this to be easy.

But after basic training ended in October, Caleb and I started talking more about marriage, especially once he received his orders to Anchorage, Alaska soon after. We discussed the possibility of myself attending college near him, and the benefits and setbacks of marrying so soon.

After some light research, I realized I could easily go with him and study at University of Alaska Anchorage, which offers a program I’m already planning on pursuing. It could work.

So when Caleb came home for Christmas, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him, I said yes.

There’s a difference between love and commitment, and both are necessary for a serious relationship to work in the long run. Love is a feeling; commitment is a choice.

So here I am, seventeen and engaged, planning a wedding for next winter.

Concentrating on my academics has already proven challenging with the distraction of engagement, but somehow, I’m making it work.

I want to clarify that I am not advocating for young marriage, rather explaining why it works for Caleb and me. The support from our friends and family has helped immensely, so if you ever find yourself considering the early marriage route, talk to the people closest to you and listen to what they have to say. For many, it’s found to be better to wait.

In a society where marriage straight out of high school is commonly looked down upon, I expect that the challenges have only just begun. Despite the pressure of society, we are confident and happy with our decision and are looking forward to our future together.

Emily Hales