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Young people may marry for the wrong reasons

Security and stability can make some relationships seem more real than they truly are, especially at a young age.

There are few who won’t admit it feels good to say, “Sorry, I’m taken,” and setting a Facebook status to “in a relationship” is an added bonus.

But at such a young age, honest love can be difficult to recognize. Statistics show that when young people decide to act and marry without thinking things through, it can often result in failure.

Younger couples can lack the personal experience to distinguish true love – and it’s already a vague term. Many people will stay in a relationship because it feels comfortable. They also often believe they will stay with their high school sweetheart forever.

This is seldom the case.

The latest statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics show that based on the age a woman marries, the divorce rate after 10 years increases when a woman marries earlier.

Forty-eight percent of marriages under the age of 18 end in divorce in 10 years, and 40 percent of marriages between the ages of 18 and 19 end in divorce. This is significantly higher than the average for all ages, which is about 35 percent.

Even waiting a few more years for marriage seems to produce more favorable results. Only 24 percent of couples married when the woman was age 25 or older resulted in divorce after 10 years.

And relationships beginning in school aren’t as common as many people think.

Harris Interactive surveyed couples in January 2006 and found that an average of only 14 percent of the surveyed couples met in school. That percentage decreased with age, but even among couples aged 18 to 27, only 34 percent met in school.

It’s important that people marry for the right reasons and for the right feelings. People can get caught up in a feeling of security and value the relationship more than the actual person they are with.

Instead of completely understanding true feelings of love, a person might mistake these emotions for simply being in love with a person’s actions, history or faithfulness.

Young people cling to the static comfort they experience in a stable relationship, regardless of how they truly feel.

The facts show that youthful perspectives or thoughts about who a person will “end up with” have a small chance of actually coming true. These same perspectives also have the power to blind and lead people to stay in their comfort zone with someone they have been dating for a while.

Some couples will insist they are in the minority and that their relationship will survive. Relationships have very real benefits, and the poor chance of survival is no reason to end it.

Still, young people should think about their relationship and take divorce rates into consideration before taking any rash actions, and one must know that a relationship might not last forever. Couples should wait until they are older and more aware of the ins and outs of their relationship to marry.

Jenna Cummings is a sophomore majoring in psychology.