Feb 012004
 
Authors: Jamie Way

Ammon Larsen may be the exception to the rule, but he is

happy.

He is now 25 and expecting his first child in June. Although

Larsen and his wife were married when he was only 22 years old,

they maintain a healthy relationship to this day.

“I was ready at age 22 … but someone else may not be,” Larsen

said.

Larsen and his wife met during the summer at a job while Larsen

was attending BYU. They dated for one year before they got married,

and he said the key to their success was their mutual willingness

to put forth a great amount of effort and pay attention to one

another’s needs.

“It’s more than just fair, or just a contract. It’s marriage,”

Larsen said. “I give more than what’s fair. She gives more than

what’s fair, and we have more than enough given to the relationship

to really build something beautiful.”

Larsen, who is currently a graduate student in the Marriage and

Family Therapy Program, said he dated a lot casually so he knew

what he was looking for when he found it. It is important for

people to take care of themselves and care about one another in

order to have a successful relationship, he said. He also said that

selfishness is one of the biggest factors in failing

relationships.

“I need to take care of myself and make sure I’m strong so I can

be there for my wife, but it’s also very subjective from person to

person,” Larsen said. “My relationship may look very different than

other people’s.”

Independent attorney Lloyd Boyer of Englewood said that he did

not recognize a trend as far as age was concerned with his divorce

clients.

“It seems to be fairly across the board by age group, but if the

people are able to hang on, if they’ve put up with each other for

30 years, they’re more likely to keep putting up with one another,”

Boyer said.

The primary problem with young marriages is that often people in

their late teens and early 20s are still in a growing stage,

developing their sense of selves, said psychologist Cindy Swindell

of the University Counseling Center. They are still developing

their style, values and interests.

“When people are … married early on it’s possible those

changes could wedge them apart,” Swindell said.

Although there are many young marriage success stories, some

experts believe that young marriages may have more struggles. She

said it is important for any couple having problems to seek help.

Often the problems are completely solvable, but couples are not

educated on how to solve them.

“Generally speaking, younger people have a tougher time,” said

Holly Arnold, a counselor in Boulder.

She said that while there are exceptions, it is wise for most

people to wait until their mid to late 30s before they get

married.

“Communication is huge,” Arnold said. “If your communication is

good and your commitment is good, than you can work through

anything.”

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