I always make an effort to watch both the Democratic and Republican Conventions, and last night I watched Governor Palin give her speech as the world watched. At the end of the speech, Governor Palin's whole family joined her on stage. Included in that group were here pregnant teenage daughter and her daughter's boyfriend.
As I watched the young people on the stage, I thought about what I'd heard in the news the same day: The plan is for these two young people to marry. I have no idea whether this is true, as I don't know anyone connected to the family. It does pose an interesting question, however, for the rest of us...
Can a teenage couple make it? Can two teenagers marry and have a long, successful marriage?
We can look at the the odds and consider our instinct, all of which tells us it doesn't seem likely. The reality is, though, that young couples are more likely to make it if their family vigorously supports their marriage, and if neither member of the couple changes significantly. If, for example, both stay in the same area, do vocationally what they always planned to do, and continue practicing the same cultural traditions they had in the past (church, etc.), they stand a better chance.
I know a lot of people who believe that people shouldn't marry until they are older. This belief suggests that people don't know who they are from a young age. I would argue that some people will change less than others during their 20's, the period some believe is critical for figuring out who you are. Those who may change less than others during this period are often people close to their families, who stay in the same area where they grew up, and who are actively involved in some type of organized religion. These factors can help root these individuals. If they marry young, these factors can reinforce the importance of their marriage.
For young couples to make it, they need significant factors that will help them weather the storm because we all know the road ahead can be rocky.