matiasmcHormonal high school students look to beat the odds with their teen soulmates.

by Matias Grotewold

There comes a special moment in most lives to go down on one knee, pull out a ring and profess love for a significant other, effectively taking the first step toward trading marriage vows. Consequently, there are also an increasing number of moments when words—and sometimes plates and vases—fly, and both the ring and relationship are flushed down the toilet. According to the American Psychological Association, over 40 percent of marriages end in divorce — and that includes marriages between emotionally mature adults. Yet time and time again, immature high school students start this journey prematurely and get engaged in high school.

A 2012 Slate magazine article by Brian Palmer titled “Should You Marry Your High-School Sweetheart?” says that those who marry during their teen years “have only a 54 percent chance of remaining married for 10 years”. Compared to a 78 percent marriage survival rate for those who wait until 25 to marry, teenage marriages are risky and unlikely to succeed.

It is appallingly improbable, considering the hormonal, irrational and sexual personalities of teenagers, that a passionate, spur-of-the-moment engagement will last. The thought of having found a soulmate and taking the first step towards marriage may seem cute, but in all honesty, it’s premature, perverse, and lacks the level of commitment expected in an engagement. By the time that next hormonal cycle kicks in and the first petty squabble results in a full-fledged fight, the engagement is over, and everlasting love is replaced with perpetual sadness. How will a teenager ever recover from the trauma of a terminated engagement?

This is not to say that a relationship that begins in high school will not last. Some couples date for years and do manage to sustain a lasting relationship through their pubescent age and some people even go on to marry their high school sweethearts and live happily ever after. And for our grandparents and great-grandparents who lived in a time of lesser globalization and communication, this occurred far more frequently.

The grim reality is that times have changed, and relationships have too. According to the Huffington Post, divorce rates today are over 200 times higher than they were a century ago, and although some people may go on to marry their high school sweethearts, divorce rates are higher among couples who marry early.

The solution? Time. It’s crucial to a relationship, especially a young one. But high school students just seem to be counteracting the benefits of time by jumping head first into engagements, thus dooming them to failure.

Who doesn’t want to find their Prince Charming when they’re most emotionally vulnerable, right in the midst of puberty?

It might feel nice to have that sort of bond at first, but the shine wears off. Teenagers would rather not feel like they’re married and already stuck in a life-long commitment.

Raging hormones and generally irrational, undeveloped personalities tend to not fit well with a married lifestyle. So why take that first step towards marriage by getting engaged? I’m no marriage counselor, but time seems to have a defining effect on a relationship, serving to prove it faulty or fulfilling. There is no need to jump head first into an engagement with somebody who might end up not being the perfect soulmate.