Created By: Pichu-kun on August 8, 2017 Last Edited By: oneuglybunny on October 8, 2017

Misaligned Young Marriage

Two people marry in their teens or early twenties but it doesn't work out.

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trope
Kirito: Hey, do you think getting married was the worst mistake of our lives?
[Beat]
Asuna: W-W-What do you mean? Don't you wanna be married to me? I wanna be married to you! DON'T YOU LOVE ME?!?!?
Kirito: No! I mean, yes! I mean—
Left-Brain!Asuna: What the fu... What the hell are you doing?! THAT WAS OUR OUT!!
Right-Brain!Asuna: I dunno, I panicked!

Once upon a time, it was normal and actually expected for people to marry in their early twenties or even as young as their preteens. In a time where life expectancies were low and many mothers died during childbirth, getting married while they were young and fertile was the best option for most adults. Within the last 100 years or so, however, this tradition has fallen by the wayside, especially in western countries. The need to get married as soon as possible is no longer an issue for many people. Courtship periods typically last years before an engagement occurs. If anything, getting married too young is seen as rash or a waste of youth. People are expected to have a few years of freedom and self-discovery before being tied into a committed marriage.

This trope is what happens when characters get married young, however it doesn't turn out as they had hoped. Maybe two teens feel they're meant for each other and marry as soon as legally possible. A few years after marriage, however, they realize that wasn't such a good idea. They thought they were the perfect couple, but it was just young love and they ultimately grew apart. Or maybe, they feel constrained by their marriage and want to go out and live their lives. It's even more troublesome when a child is involved. Maybe they aren't ready for kids or didn't even want kids.

This type of marriage can end up in multiple ways. The couple can end up staying in a strained marriage, other times they get divorced, while often times the father simply runs off. This also occurs with mothers, however it's more common for the dad.

Also see Shotgun Wedding, Fourth Date Marriage, Awful Wedded Life, and Starter Marriage. Contrast with One True Love and First Girl Wins.


Examples:

Anime & Manga
  • Ash's Disappeared Dad hasn't been discussed much in the Pokémon anime, however the novels Pocket Monsters: The Animation went into detail on him and Delia's relationship. The books were written by the lead director of the Kanto arc, Takeshi Shudo, however are only semi-canon as they contradict the anime multiple times. According to the book, Delia's mom married Ash's dad in her teens and ended up giving birth to Ash at nineteen. Ash's dad however ran off one day on a Pokemon journey and never came back, likely failing (like many trainers) but still refusing to return home.

Fan Works
  • Sword Art Online Abridged spoofs the cliched romance between the teenaged Kirito and Asuna by portraying them as two kids in way over their heads, doing what they think adults are "supposed" to do in a sexual relationship. The episode in which they marry involves a Masochism Tango where each one tries to heap more and more responsibility onto the relationship (adopting a child, then attempting to adopt two, then three, then an entire orphanage) to force the other to back out. They finally talk things out at the end of the episode after witnessing the death of their "daughter", and agree that while their marriage was the worst mistake they've ever made, they want to stay together and see where it goes.

Film — Animation
  • The art book to Treasure Planet explains that this is why Jim's dad ran off. He married the then-seventeen year old Sarah when he was nineteen, who ended up pregnant not soon afterwards, but ended up feeling confined in his marriage as he wasn't ready for a wife and children yet. Despite Jim trying to please his dad, he was very distant towards Jim. One day when Jim was eight he ran off for good. Jim hoped for years that he'd come back home however he ultimately realized his dad was gone for good. This led to Jim becoming a bitter and angry teenager, especially at himself for not being good enough for his dad.
  • Subverting this is one of the plot points in Frozen. Barely eighteen-year old Anna meets twenty-three year old Hans and they decide within a few hours of meeting to get married. Everyone else believes this to be a terrible idea, especially since they only just met. They end up calling off the engagement once Hans' true nature comes out and he reveals he was just using Anna to get access to the Arendelle throne.

Film — Live Action
  • Nick Hurley from Flashdance exploited the All Girls Want Bad Boys allure to latch onto a rich heiress, and rise from the Wrong Side of the Tracks to a construction mogul. However, Nick never felt comfortable with the hoi polloi, and he has divorced Kate years ago. This almost derailed his romance with protagonist Alex Owens when Alex saw Nick with Kate at an opera gala. Nick later explained that this rendezvous was just making nice-nice with his ex, since both are members of the Pittsburgh Arts Council.

Literature
  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall: Helen Lawrence marries Bad Boy Arthur Huntington believing she can redeem him though The Power of Love. She quickly learns that she cannot and suffers through a miserable marriage for several years. She finally runs away when he threatens to corrupt their young son.

Music
  • Adam Again's frontman Gene Eugene and backing singer Riki Michelle got married in their late teens. The stress of a marriage they weren't prepared for crept into Gene's songwriting, and the band's last two albums were significantly darker than their prior work: Dig (written as their marriage was falling apart) and Perfecta (written right after their divorce).

Western Animation
  • Rick and Morty has this for Beth and Jerry, with the added complication that they married shortly after Jerry got Beth pregnant. Fast forward 17 years, and they have a very strained relationship that teeters on a divorce every so often.
  • Subverted in Jem. One episode had it appear as if Kimber, who is still a teen, was going to marry one of her boyfriends. Jerrica thought it was foolish and rushed, but decided to support her sister anyway. In the end, though, Kimber broke off the wedding while at the altar.

Community Feedback Replies: 9
  • August 9, 2017
    Arivne
    • Corrected spelling (Misalinged).
    • Corrected punctuation (added periods at the ends of sentences).
  • September 1, 2017
    Twoeyesshort
    • Rick And Morty has this for Beth and Jerry, with the added complication that they married shortly after Jerry got Beth pregnant. Fast forward 17 years, and they have a very strained relationship that teeters on a divorce every so often.
  • October 8, 2017
    oneuglybunny
    Film
    • Nick Hurley from Flashdance exploited the All Girls Want Bad Boys allure to latch onto a rich heiress, and rise from the Wrong Side Of The Tracks to a construction mogul. However, Nick never felt comfortable with the hoi polloi, and he has divorced Kate years ago. This almost derailed his romance with protagonist Alex Owens when Alex saw Nick with Kate at an opera gala. Nick later explained that this rendezvous was just making nice-nice with his ex, since both are members of the Pittsburgh Arts Council.
  • September 13, 2017
    NubianSatyress
    This might make a good page quote:

    Kirito: Hey, do you think getting married was the worst mistake of our lives?
    [Beat]
    Asuna: W-W-What do you mean? Don't you wanna be married to me? I wanna be married to you! DON'T YOU LOVE ME?!?!?
    Kirito: No! I mean, yes! I mean—
    Left-Brain!Asuna: What the fu... What the hell are you doing?! THAT WAS OUR OUT!!
    Right-Brain!Asuna: I dunno, I panicked!

    And here's the corresponding entry.

    • Sword Art Online Abridged spoofs the cliched romance between the teenaged Kirito and Asuna by portraying them as two kids in way over their heads, doing what they think adults are "supposed" to do in a sexual relationship. The episode in which they marry involves a Machoism Tango where each one tries to heap more and more responsibility onto the relationship (adopting a child, then attempting to adopt two, then three, then an entire orphanage) to force the other to back out. They finally talk things out at the end of the episode after witnessing the death of their "daughter", and agree that while their marriage was the worst mistake they've ever made, they want to stay together and see where it goes.
  • September 13, 2017
    JoeG
    The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall: Helen Lawrence marries Bad Boy Arthur Huntington believing she can redeem him though The Power Of Love. She quickly learns that she cannot and suffers through a miserable marriage for several years. She finally runs away when he threatens to corrupt their young son.
  • September 20, 2017
    GirlofMassDeconstruction
    Can this be covered by Starter Marriage?
  • September 20, 2017
    NubianSatyress
    Fixed my own typo with Masochism Tango.
  • September 21, 2017
    Pichu-kun
    ^^ Related/Subtrope but not identical.
  • September 21, 2017
    MetaFour
    Music:
    • Adam Again's frontman Gene Eugene and backing singer Riki Michelle got married in their late teens. The stress of a marriage they weren't prepared for crept into Gene's songwriting, and the band's last two albums were significantly darker than their prior work: Dig (written as their marriage was falling apart) and Perfecta (written right after their divorce).
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