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Young Couples Face Adversity

Newlywed  Kourtney Nossett embraces her husband on the day of her wedding.  Nossett is one of two seniors at PGHS to  betroth  over winter break.  Photo contributed by Kourtney Nossett.
Newlywed Kourtney Nossett embraces her husband on the day of her wedding. Nossett is one of two seniors at PGHS to betroth over winter break. Photo contributed by Kourtney Nossett.

For most high school students, their plans after graduation include either continuing their education in college or trade school, or joining the work force. However, students at PGHS are finding love early, and beginning their adult lives with a partner.

Teen marriage is defined as, “the union of two adolescents, joined in marriage from the age of 13-19 years old.” Many elements contribute to teen marriage such as teen pregnancy, religion, or peer pressure.

Senior Kourtney Nossett recently had her wedding over Christmas break. At 18, she believes her story is different from the stereotypical love story of Romeo and Juliet.

“I don’t look at our relationship as Romeo and Juliet. Our parents approved of everything, and [Ryan] asked my dad for permission,” Nossett said.

Two-thirds of teens who get married live away from their spouse. This is because of things such as college or financial issues.

“We actually live together now. [I] plan on going to college; nothing will stop us from following our dreams together,” Nossett said.

Along with marriages, a few engagements took place over the Christmas break as well. Senior Katelyn Keyser, also 18, believes her recent engagement is a jump-start to their lives together.

“He proposed to me on New Year’s Day. We decided to get married now because we’ve been together for four years and we’ve talked about it, but he surprised me when he asked me [to marry him]. We’ve been together for so long,” Keyser said.

During the early 2000’s, 4.5% of teens aged from 15-19 were married.. In Virginia, the law states that “if either of you are under the age of 18, you must have written, notarized consent from a parent or legal guardian.”

“Both of our families approve [of the engagement],” Keyser said.

According to the Virginia Department of Health in 2012, 216 marriages were recorded in Prince George County. None of those marriages were amongst teenagers. In the state of Virginia there were 774 recorded marriages involving 18 year olds also in the year 2012. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, almost half of marriages that involve teenagers from 18 years or younger divorce within the first 10 years.

Though she got married at age 23, guidance counselor April Ford does not believe in the word “divorce.”

“Neither of us believes in divorce. When bad things happen, we work together and try to get through it,” Ford said.

Along with Ford, there are others who think strongly of the divorce rate.

“I don’t base our marriage] on statistics. I base it on how I feel about him and how he feels about me,” Nossett said.

The greatest advantage to being married at a young age is that the couple will have more time to build a family, versus a couple who marries later on.

“I’m excited to have kids. We’re waiting a couple of years so we can pay off student loans,” Ford said.

Now the young pairs are looking toward what the future has in store for their union.

“I’m really happy about the engagement. I’m excited to plan [the wedding]. We plan to get married next year in the spring,” Keyser said.

One student in particular, in regard to her recent wedding, believes nothing can make her happier than right now.

“I feel like the happiest girl in the world. Ryan makes me so happy; I love him,” Nossett said.


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