Getting Married at 21

It has been been over a year and a half since we stood in that tiny room at the courthouse and said “I do”, in front of a Justice of the Peace and three of our friends. Since then, I’ve learned a lot about myself and matured in many ways, and I have marriage to thank for that.


When Jesse asked me to marry him during a trip back to Vermont the summer after my Junior year of college, I was ecstatic and so surprised. We had talked about the subject of marriage before, but it still seemed distant to me. I was still in college and marriage was for older people, right?

Growing up in Vermont, it was definitely unusual for people to get engaged and married in their early 20s. Even though friends and coworkers shared their excitement with me over the engagement, in the back of my mind, I could tell they were judging me because of my age.

Our family of course had doubts at the time we got engaged. During such a happy time in our lives, it was sometimes difficult for me to block out the criticism and opinions of others. There were also many situations where people questioned our choice.

Why would you want to be married at this point in your life?


You’re so young though! What’s the rush?


I could never get married at 21.

Were we somehow missing out on life experiences by making such a big commitment at a young age?

Parents have a right and a responsibility to question their children’s decisions, and now looking back, I am grateful for that. I know mine and Jesse’s parents only want the best for us and the fact that they voiced their concerns to us show how much they care and love us.

I’ve learned though, that I don’t need to defend our choice to get married at a young age to anyone. I have nothing to prove to anybody, except myself. In the end, the only thing that matters is mine and Jesse’s commitment to one another and the confidence we have in our relationship.

After being together for almost 7 years with a year and a half of marriage, I can confidently say that we are extremely happy with the life we have made together. We are constantly planning trips, adventures, and places we want to visit together and I am so grateful that we have our whole lives ahead to share these experiences.

I never had any doubts in my mind that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Jesse. It wasn’t because Jesse’s a Marine that we decided to get married earlier than what’s considered “normal”. We were at a point in our lives when it was just right for us and that’s different for everybody, regardless of age and time together.

As we approach our 7th year together, and 23rd and 24th birthdays, we have so many milestones to look forward to, both as a couple and individually. With college graduations, promotions, and big moves on the horizon, I am so happy that we found each other when we did and we have had the chance to grow up together.

Junior Prom, 2010
Cedar Creek Falls, 2016

4 Comment

  1. Bonnie Destakasi says: Reply

    Jesse has never been anything but extraordinary so it is no surprise that he met an extraordinary young woman, and shares an extraordinary love with her. The way my son looks at you is what dreams are made of, and the way you make him happy is all any mother could ever want, and age has nothing to do with that. Be extraordinary, my sweet Emma and my beautiful Jesse. The world needs people like you to show us the way. All my love. Over the brim.

    1. Emma says: Reply

      That means so much to me, thank you, Bonnie. Love you!!

  2. Pearl Ann Schwartz says: Reply

    Your writing gave me a lot to think about. I realized that you’ve spent almost 1/3 of your life with Jesse! Although you said that your early marriage has matured you, so has living alone in a new place, so far from friends and family.

    With the right person marriage is a wonderful adventure. May you and Jesse share it for a long, long time—always finding new things to love and appreciate in each other.

  3. Emma says: Reply

    It definitely is, thank you, Hanni. Love you!

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