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Too Young to Get Married?

Too young to get married? Thoughts on letting our daugther get engaged.

I wanted to post the photos of the proposal without a lot of commentary. As promised, today you get to hear the full story.

Why We Let Our Daughter Get Engaged at Seventeen

BEN! called me and Chuck months ago and to let us know he wanted to marry Adalia. More than that, he called to ask if he could marry her. This call was no surprise to us. BEN! had made his intentions known previously in comments and conversations. We all knew it was just a matter of time.

{I want to state it clearly here, BEN! and his family will remain minor characters in the stories I share here on the blog. I am happy to share funny stories and photos (as I did when he and Aaron visited before), but it isn’t my place to blog about his family. I already feel kind of sorry for him marrying into a blogging family.}

Too young to get married? Thoughts on why we let our daugther get engaged at a young age.

At First, We Said No

BEN! let us know that he wanted to propose to Adalia when came to visit him in New Zealand. Chuck and I initially said “no”. We told BEN! Adalia needed to be 18 and graduated from school (which in her case, means high school diploma and AA degree). He said he understood and was fine with that.

Some time passed and Chuck and I had many conversations regarding the marriage and proposal…and Chuck finally told me he was only against the engagement taking place in December because of what other people would think of us allowing our 17-year-old to get engaged. And he decided that wasn’t a good enough reason for him to make BEN! hold off. I felt the exact same way. It was only the judgement we would face from others that made me hesitate.

Why We Changed Our Minds and Said Yes to the Proposal

For one thing, I would have meant another trip here for the proposal (a huge investment in money and time off of work for BEN!) when we already knew they were going to get married. And we had already agreed to a wedding in May…so Chuck called Β BEN!, let him know he was free to propose on this trip.Β too young to get married?, engagement photos, little earthling, little earthling photography, bellingham photographer, bellingham family photographer

But Isn’t she too young to get married?

Don’t they have a lot of growing up to do? How do they know it will last?

Those are all fair questions. I got married when I was 19 and am still married 18 years later. My mom was 17 when she got married and has been married to my dad for over 40 years. I am not sure how long my in-laws have been married, but my husband is 42 and they were married years before he was born. BEN! and Adalia come from families (and a faith) that expect marriage to be a lifetime commitment. A commitment to God at the center of their marriage and a community that supports that attitude. Β Do they have a lot of growing up to do? Yes, but so did Chuck and myself, and frankly, I am glad I did that growing up with my husband. We had a ton of fun along the way.

Why Not “Forbid” Them to Get Married?

We could “forbid” them to get married for a few more years… but we won’t.

BEN! and Adalia are in their prime, in love, and committed to God and each other. I am thrilled that they will have this time together. I am sure they will grow and mature and have a fabulous time along the way.

I am also well aware that there are people who will assume Adalia is getting married so young so she can “escape” from our home. Anyone who knows her, or our family, will know that isn’t the case.

too young to get married?, engagement photos, little earthling, little earthling photography, bellingham photographer, bellingham family photographer

What exactly does BEN! do for a living?

BEN! is an apprentice farrier and blacksmith. He makes a good living and will get pay increases as he proceeds through his apprenticeship. He lives alone in a house he rents, about an hour from his family home.

One reason for my accompanying Adalia on this trip was to meet BEN!’s family and see where exactly it was she would be living. Yes, they will live in New Zealand where BEN! is established and has steady work.

What will Adalia do in New Zealand?

Probably work to start with. Perhaps pursue midwifery or more doula work in the future.too young to get married?, engagement photos, little earthling, little earthling photography, bellingham photographer, bellingham family photographer

What’s BEN!’s family like?

BEN! has four brothers (one is his twin) and one sister. All of the photos in this post were taken on his family’s property. They owned a tree cutting business for years. BEN!’s siblings are just as crazy adventurous as he is. They skydive and fly and ride motorbikes for fun.

Can you really get to know someone just through phone calls, emails, and Skype?

Yes. Chuck and I also met on a Teen Missions International trip. Before Chuck proposed we had never even been on a date together. Or kissed. But we had written dozens and dozens of letters. We had bared our souls to each other. We had people warn us that we “didn’t really know each other” and we “hadn’t spent enough time together” to justify getting married. And none of that turned out to be true. We got married and had a grand time living together.too young to get married? or just right? Engagement photos in New Zealand.

Why the heck did BEN! propose in the presence of mermaids?!

This summer when BEN! was visiting, one of the younger kids asked me if mermen were real…I said, “I don’t know, why don’t you ask BEN!? I’m pretty sure there are mermaids in New Zealand.” BEN!’s response to the question was, “I don’t’ know, I’ve always been too busy looking at the mermaids!” The kids got a kick out of that and Adalia pretended to be offended. Then on our way home from a camping trip in Leavenworth, on a drive that lasted about a million hours, BEN! answered a question in a game about animals with Β “mesmerizing mermaids” as a joke. With that, his fate was sealed. We began sending BEN! pics of books about mermaids, stickers with mermaids, you name it. It became one of those solid, inside jokes.

Why Ben Came Up with Such and Outrageous Proposal

Because the proposal wasn’t going to be a complete surprise to Adalia, BEN! decided he needed to be a little over-the-top with the proposal to catch her off guard. Since so many jokes had flown about mermaids, he decided to include them (with the help of his awesome and accommodating friends). He knew Adalia would get the joke immediately. When she initially saw the mermaids, she assumed BEN! was just “proving” that they had mermaids in New Zeland. She had no idea a proposal was to follow.

too young to get married?, engagement photos, little earthling, little earthling photography, bellingham photographer, bellingham family photographer

So there it is, my friends. Feel free to ask questions in the comments if you have any. I will answer at my discretion.


  1. Jennifer

    Beautiful. Love it. Congratulations BEN! and Adalia! You two know each other more than most people do going into an engagement. Good job Chuck and Renee, you’re inspiring.l

  2. Anna Woerner

    My husband and I met and married in 13 months- this happened when I was 20/21, and I was told even then that I was too young (never mind that the naysayers were all 21/22 when they married…). I think one of the greatest advantages of marrying young is, like you said, you DO grow up together! And it’s fun! Congratulations to Ben and Adalia!

    Two questions- when you said a May wedding, is that May of this year? And how old is Ben?

  3. Mary

    I don’t think any of your regular readers were a bit surprised, lol! It has been so fun and refreshing to see the relationship blossom over the past year or so. My future husband proposed when I was 17. It caused a lot of raised eyebrows, not just because of my age, but because of his too. He was 33 at the time. We have had 10 1/2 amazing years together. I thank God for every day. I certainly had a lot of growing up to do (he did too πŸ˜€ ) but there is only one way to grow and that is to live. We’ve had tons of adventures, done things and gone places I never would have imagined. We’ve been blessed with 4 children and a 5th blessing due next month. I wouldn’t have missed this ride for any degree of “education” or career. Congratulations Ben and Adalia!!!

  4. Karisa

    My husband and I spent a total of 2 weeks together in person before we married. We wrote tons of letters and emails. We talked on the phone all the time and video chatted a little. I was 20. Here we are 6.5 years later. πŸ™‚

  5. sonja schneeflocke

    this is just such a great story!
    congratulations to you all!
    i met my husband at 17 (he was 23) – we got married a long time after – as a matter of fact, just in 2012…we’ve been together for almost 10 years now and i never regretted sticking to that man! we’re expecting our first child in late summer, which is wonderful!
    sure, there are couples rushing into marriages early and ending up divorced only a short time later…but i think it’s perfectly ok to marry whenever’s the right time for you – if you meet your soulmate you will know – and it doesn’t matter if you’re 17 or 70…
    if you meet this one person early in life – even.better…why wait when you already know how it’s gonna end πŸ˜‰

    i really wish adalia and ben all the best – may they have a great future and lots of adventures together!!!

    btw. where are they going to get married?? πŸ™‚

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      They will be getting married here in Washington, in a small, family-only (per their request) ceremony.

      • sonja schneeflocke

        that’s great πŸ™‚
        just what we did – we were only 12 people present at the wedding…and i wouldn’t have wanted it any other way!

  6. sarah

    I think it is great. πŸ™‚ I married at 19 and am happily married. I have Loved growing up with my husband. The only thing that makes me “sad ” is when Adalia has kids. She will be so far away from you. πŸ™‚

  7. Abigail

    What a cute proposal! For the sake of these kiddos I hope you don’t get the flak you’re expecting…. I say an relationship that’s focused on putting Christ first is going to work! Wish them all the best πŸ™‚

  8. jessilee

    I was a little taken aback because of age but I reminded myself, my grandparents married when she was 16 and he was 18. They spent 19 years and 6 days together and when she passed away he was so distraught, he had a massive stroke two months later.
    They had only known one another for 2 weeks when they married as he was building a highway near her home town in Texas.
    There’s no right and wrong in love. There’s no prescribed number of dates or time to fall in love. As long as they’re happy and are good to one another, they’ll have years of happiness.
    Also, I want to say that I’ll be thinking of your family. Having a child move so far away has to be very difficult. Especially when visiting will be an expensive option.

    I hope she’s able to continue in college if that’s her desire. And that immigration goes smoothly.

    So is the wedding *this* May? Will you be able/willing to share pictures when they do marry? Will they marry in the US or in NZ and will the families be able to attend if it’s in the opposite place from where they live?

  9. Debbie

    So happy for the young couple and for your family. Our oldest dd met and married a man she met online. the had only met in person a few times before they married. She had just turned 20. They just celebrated their 1st anniversary. He is a Dane and they live in Denmark now. The distance is by far the toughest part. We love him very much and are so happy for them.

  10. thelovelymessy

    So beautiful & happy & exciting!
    You can just see the love in the portraits you took. <3
    I was engaged and married at 19, and we were a long distance relationship, too. Spending exactly 16 days together before he asked to marry me. My husband is 6.5 years older than me. I always say, when people say I was too young, that you can't choose when you meet the person you are supposed to spend your life with. Some meet their partners at 17, some at 47. I, like you, am so thankful I have grown up along with my husband.

  11. Anne

    When is she going to leave the country ? I’m happy for them, but I’m also sad for Adalia ! I know how hard it is to adjust when you leave your family for the first time. Especially when you know that you’re leaving forever ! Hope it will go smoothly for her ! I left home to live on my own when I was only 18 (and it was “only” 600km from my hometown) and it was a bit difficult. But of course things are easier when you’re with someone you love and who cares for you. I was so so happy to have someone to cheer me up and today I realise I wouldn’t begin my adult life differently ! I wish them a happy life !

  12. Heather bender

    I was married at 19 (celebrating 12 years this July) best decision I’ve ever made! Congrats to them as they start this new adventure.

  13. Marissa

    aaaww!! this is so awesome!!! i’ve been reading your blog for about a year now. and this is just such a lovely love story…i am at heart a big romantic!! i wish BEN! and Adalia hours of fun, giggles and adventures for their marriage. by just looking at pictures of BEN! and Adalia it is clear as day that they are made for each other!! its just a bit sad that she will be moving to nz, but that’s a good reason for more visits πŸ™‚

    there is a lot of different ways of getting to know someone and spending time with them by being at the same place at the same time is not necessarily the only way to do it. i know a lot of people who are daily in the same room and still they do not know each other. i am sure Adalia would not be marrying BEN! if she was not sure or felt that she did not know him well enough. and i know (after being married for 6 years- and not living together before marriage) some things you will never know about a person until you shared a house with them πŸ™‚ and that is part of the fun of being married!!

    I wish them all the best!!!!!

  14. cecily spencer

    Again thank BEN! and Adalia for letting you share this. I am so Happy for them and so glad to see the positive comments. They have so many things in there favor and you are dead on when you say it’s fun to grow up together. I’m biased but I think it’s the best way and of course with their foundation of faith they have the best start. So hard she will be so far but Skype is great. So wonderful to see such a love in these days of pessimism.


    I met my husband when I was a freshman in college, but we did not get married until 5 years later.
    Hubby has 3 brothers, 8 nieces and nephews, I have 6 siblings and lots of relatives and cousins. Our small, mostly family, wedding was not really “small”. I think there were over 100 people there. I’d have to ask my mom, as she made all the food, including the wedding cake.

  16. Melissa H. in Oregon

    Congratulations! What a beautiful place to live.

    I was 18 when we got engaged and 19 when we married and we’re going on 16 years now. It is nice to get to be young with your husband :).

  17. HollyElise @ StarlitHome

    “Can you really get to know someone just through phone calls, emails and Skype?”
    Oh yes indeed you can…
    I met my husband through a forum when I was 17 (science fiction author discussion forum) and we became friends – we didn’t meet in person until I was 19 and we didn’t “get romantic” until I was almost 20. We got married when I was 21 and we just celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary! (And we had a teeny-tiny, family-only wedding as well!)
    Marrying him meant leaving the country that I grew up in (left Canada for Hawai’i) and leaving my family – but I can say with no regrets (and as I cuddle our toddler daughter and rub my pregnant belly, haha) that it has been worth it.
    Congratulations again to Adalia and Ben, thank you both for letting your mom share your story!! <3

  18. Melissa

    19 years of bliss after meeting at 17/18 and marrying at 20/21. Wouldn’t have it any other way… God has blessed us SO MUCH and we are best friends. πŸ™‚

  19. Chessa

    Congrats to Ben and Adalia! Renee, you and Chuck have done a fantastic job with Adalia (and all your children) πŸ™‚ and as her parents your wisdom in this matter is to be commended. I personally think writing letters is one of the BEST ways to really get to know a person, you can often reach so much more depth in writing. While my grandparents weren’t extremely young when they married they were only able to go on two dates and only knew each other 3 months before marrying. The rest of their courtship consisted of letter writing! The Lord gave them 64 wonderful years together before my Gigi passed away and they left a strong legacy of a Godly marriage to the rest of our family. I was 19 and Chad was 20 when we married. We will celebrate our 20th anniversary this month and I would not have it any other way! I loved “growing up” with him….. and still do! πŸ™‚

  20. Jenn

    Wonderful!!! I love your answers to those questions. I got married when I was 21, having met my husband 1 year prior, and got quite a bit of flack for it even at that age! But it’s true, growing up together with your husband is a great experience, IF you go into it with the attitude that marriage is a lifelong commitment, which we did. I suppose we’re still growing up together as I’m only 26 now! But having two kids a year and a half apart sped that process along. πŸ™‚ I actually think Adalia is incredibly blessed to have found a partner so early in life. One of the biggest arguments I heard against my getting married young was that I wouldn’t be able to have many of the experiences people are “supposed” to have before getting married, like travelling abroad, education, dating lots, etc. I did travel alone for four months to India when I was single. It was a great experience, but honestly, the travelling I’ve done with my husband and kids has been way more fun! We will continue to adventure together, why stop once you’re married with kids? Different challenges to do it, but not impossible by any means. πŸ™‚ It’s been a fun adventure, and I wouldn’t change a thing! Best wishes to Ben and Adalia – the joy on her face is just beautiful!

  21. Suzan

    I feel that young love is a wonderful thing. Waiting until later is not a guarantee and if everything feels right and thoughtfully considered why not? As you have said these two met under unique conditions and have following their romance has proven that they are committed. God bless them and grant them a wonderful, adventure filled life together.

    At present my 20 year old is overseas again and my I miss her. I pray that this time will be precious and that you find ways to be close whilst the seas separate.

  22. Riahli

    Beautiful! I love your response concerning your daughter and the choice that you and your husband made, very wise. I’ve been reading through your blog and I am in awe of you both and all that you have done, it’s so heartwarming! I met my husband when I was 15, I’m 35 now and we have 4 kids together, 3 bio and one adoption {we have two that consider themselves twins as well}, and I’m more in love with him now than ever before! πŸ™‚ I hope and pray that my children find their true loves at a young age as well…

    • S

      Do you really think that a young woman born a raised in such a family would say “yes” to BEN! If it wasn’t truly something she wanted? That she knew in her “heart and soul”? What an odd question.

      She med BEN! While on a religous mission. Do you think the photos are faked? That the parents of these two had some…mustache twirling meeting all cackles and and hand rubbing to force them together?

      You’ve obviously not reqd this blog and you obviously have no knowledge of who these two bright, clever and commited individuals are.

      • Anne

        Don’t be so rude… You can seem happy and be very excited, but also feel apprehension deep inside. I don’t know what she’s feeling, but implying that she might be nervous or even a little scared doesn’t mean that the pictures are faked or that she doesn’t love her soon to be husband. We’re humans we have the ability to express lots of feelings. It’s perfectly normal to be nervous when you’re going to move in another country.

      • Moira

        S isn’t being rude at all. You and Christine are being extremely disrespectful towards Adalia and BEN! And both families.

        Did you read any of what was written? At all?

        This is something Adalia has wanted for some time. And a great part of that is knowing she would move to NZ.

        Will she miss her family? Yes, every couple that marries and moves on, who has a great relationship with their family will miss them.

        But she loves BEN. And she wants the commitment and duty and joy of being with BEN.

        To suggest that the photos are forced or fake or Adalia is pasting on a smile for them is so….sickening that I can’t imagine anyone would suggest it.

        Adalia is an expressive person. And if you had any idea about the photos taken, looked at them…. You would know in an instant that Adalia truly wants this and is as happy as anyone has seen her. You cannot fake that light in her eyes. You cannot fake that joy and peace and godliness that is just pouring out.

        But sure! Think the worst of this family. Think the worst of BEN! And his family…. Wonder “does she really want this???” It only proves your ingnorace. Ignorance of love-no matter how “young” and ignorance of these families. … And how they do the very best for their children and would NEVER allow a marriage that they though their children had even an ounce of doubt about

  23. Peggy

    Ever since I read about the trip to NZ, I was enthralled with Adalia and Ben’s story and am thrilled to hear about their engagement! Congratulations to all!

  24. Georgie

    What a wonderful, God-blessed couple. They have obviously had great relationship role models in the form of both sets of parents. How do your other children feel about it? Although they love BEN! and its so exciting, you are a very close family, are they sad Adalia will be living so far away?

  25. Stacy

    I think it’s GREAT! And wise, even- to marry young and grow TOGETHER as a married couple– instead of what is usually the case: pursuing independent lives for years and then trying to make a marriage work. What a gift they have in one another, and I’m so SO happy for them! Hooray, Adalia & Ben!

  26. vixthemom

    Married at 18 and 20 and for fourteen years, my parents same age and married for 20 years before my dad passed, grandparents and great grand parents all married the exact same age and you know what? Till death did they part.

    Congrats Adalia and Ben! No better way to start a life than with God making the decision!

  27. Kristine

    Alissa and I are so happy for Adalia and you! We were talking about it a couple days ago and if anyone can get married at 18 it’s Adalia! I asked Alissa how old she would think Adalia was if she had just met her for the first time. She said a firm 23. :). Gosh. What an adventure moving to NZ! Ok. I have a couple questions, maybe you’ve already answered. How old is Ben? How do you feel about having her (them) so far away? When in May?

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Hi Kristine, this is Adalia πŸ™‚ Ben is 20 right now and will be 21 in August. I can’t answer how mom feels about us moving so far away, but I’m very excited about it. It will be a huge change and adjustment and it won’t all be easy, but I’m absolutely thrilled to be making the move. I love New Zealand, and I’ve been able to meet and get to know some people over there, which will really help. The wedding is going to be May 6th πŸ™‚

  28. Angie

    No judgments on age here. Got married at 20 myself with my own parents in full doubt of it. 23 years later have not spent one minute regretting it. All the best to Ben and Adalia!

  29. semiorganizedmom

    I was 17 when I met the most gorgeous guy I had ever seen. It was March, 1992. He proposed in May, 1992 and we were married July 1992. Last July we celebrated our 21st anniversary. I love & adore my husband so much. We are one. I have no doubt that God will bless their marriage. I’m so excited for her! Congrats!!!

  30. Tina

    Congrats again to them both – I agree with many of the previous commenters – Met my husband when I was 15, got married a week after my 21st birthday and am still happily married 11 years later. Congrats again to them both – your pictures (these and ones from the past) have truly captured their love for one another.

  31. Erin

    I have followed your blog your several years now…I knew form the first time I saw their picture where they were headed. You and Chuck have made a good decision! Don’t listen to others who would judge or dissuade you from your present decision! As a mother of 8, 16 years ago, my mother-in-law wanted us to live together to make sure we were right for each other. We didn’t listen and we’ve made it this far. I don’t believe it is Godly to make 2 people who love God and each other wait for each other if it isn’t necessary! Blessings to you and your family! You are all so beautiful!

  32. Mrs. GV

    Congrats to the happy couple! I think it obviously depends on each person as to their maturity and readiness. No one knows your daughter better than you and your husband, and obviously you think she is ready, and so do the couple. My husband and I have been together as a couple since I was 15 and he was 16. My parents asked me to finish my B.S. degree before we married and I did…and then married one week later. lol We will be celebrating 20 years of marriage this summer, and most definitely grew up together!

  33. Kate

    As someone who said yes the day after meeting my now dh, I think it is great. We are going on 17 years. everyone said no way will it work you are too young (we were 21)

    The best to them both and your families!

  34. Rebekah

    Congratulations to BEN! And Adalia! I have enjoying watching their story unfold on your blog. Tell them thanks for sharing! May God continue to bless thier relationship and give them many wonderful years together!

  35. Sharon Burroughs

    Thank you for sharing the story with us. Praying for all the details to fall into place over the coming months. I think marrying young can be beautiful thing when the couple is grounded in Christ and the Word. Such an exciting time!!!

  36. Vanessa

    Use your discretion with this question, but I was curious if they are waiting for marriage to kiss. None of my business, of course, but if they are comfortable sharing I’d love to know more about courting/engagement rules.

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Well, I can’t honestly say I know the answer to that question, since I haven’t asked them and we haven’t discussed it.

  37. Amber

    How does Tilly feel about losing (in distance, anyway) Adalia?

    Also, will Ben come visit again before the wedding or will the next time they see each other be for the wedding?

  38. Ruth

    I was 18 when I got married and 17 when my husband proposed. He was 20 when he proposed, 21 when we were married. We’ve made it through 15 years of marriage and I agree, we love that we “grew up together”. Those have been some of the best years and we look forward to the many more to come.


  39. Beth

    Congratulations Adalia and Ben!!! My husband and I met when we were15 and 16 years old. We were married 2 days after my 18th birthday. We had a small wedding with less than 20 guests. We did not have a lot of money when we were married, but we had great time working together to build a life. We have been happily married for 30 years. We have two children and 1 grandson. When we sit down at night and talk about the memories we have of our adult lives we know those memories were made together.

  40. Kim Hamilton

    Congratulations to Ben and Adalia. I commend you and your husband for having the wisdom to do what is right for your child and not worrying about what other people think. That’s not always easy. Praying God’s blessings for all of you.

  41. Melpub

    Getting married young seems to run in your family and work very well. I got married very late–41–and still manage to have three children, and I wish I’d married younger. The advantage was that I really knew I was getting what I wanted. I had a lot of luck too. Marrying as late as I did, I feel that we would really grow together. Sometimes very young people grow at different rates. But there’s no reason to think this will happen. Ben and Adalia seem to know each other well and to be really in love. That’s the most important thing!

  42. Chelsea

    My husband and I were both 20 when we were married and we moved 800km away three days later. It was *hard* to be that far away from our family but it definitely cemented our relationship because we only had each other. Eight years later we have 3 children and a wonderful marriage. We are certainly growing up together but I wouldn’t have it any other way!!

    Best of luck Adalia and BEN!, can’t wait to see pictures of the ceremony!!!!!

  43. Kippi

    Congratulations! So very happy for your family. I lived in a different country from my parents after marriage without all the convenient modes of communicating we have nowadays. Not always easy but it helped us in establishing our home. Other similarities I could share,but don’t want to write a book. πŸ™‚

  44. Sally

    Congratulations to you all! I have to say, that’s the most fun proposal I’ve ever seen. πŸ™‚

    I was 18 when we married (we never even got engaged, just planned the wedding!), and I remember my Dad commenting near my birthday that he would be a lot more comfortable answering people’s questions once I had turned 18. Funny how one day older makes such a difference to peoples reactions.

  45. Heather

    I married my husband after living in different countries and dating via email, phone calls etc…in fact we didn’t choose each other but a friend matched us up!

    For me, isolation from my family was hard after the move. It takes time to build a friend network in a new country (church should help) but if she gives it a year or so, I am sure she will love N.Z.

    Btw, I don’t think there is doula work in nz. My sister did her midwifery degree in Hamilton and has a booming career. Best of luck with the move, Adalia! I know you don’t need luck with the marriage…you two are meant to be together.

  46. Heidi Wilson

    SOOOO happy for BEN! and Adalia and the life they are starting together! Though I was older, I met my husband online (through and email forward) when I was 21, we met in person for the first time when I was 23, and we were married in May 2000 when I was 25! I am not sure how his family felt (he is 13 years older) but I know for a fact that my family only gave the marriage a year!! We will celebrate 14 years of marriage in May and we have three beautiful boys! I grew up in the Pacific Northwest (Oregon) and made the decision to move to Sydney Australia (was finishing college shortly before we married) so I know how hard it is to move that far away from home… I did have email to keep in touch with people but no Facebook, Skype, or VoIP phones!! I don’t know if Adalia is at all interested in communicating with me since I’m old enough to be her mother (I turn 39 in 6 days) but I would be happy to friend her on Facebook and keep in touch as much as she would like as she prepares for her marriage and her move to the Southern Hemisphere!!

    You and Chuck have done (are doing) an amazing job raising all your children and they are all going to impact this world in wonderful ways! I so look forward to hearing whatever more you are able to share about their relationship!!

    Any chance that the blogging bug will bite Adalia??? πŸ™‚

  47. Kerry

    Just wanted to add my congratulations to BEN! and Adalia! Awesome proposal. Age is just a number for the most part, maturity matters and it seems both have that.

  48. Sheila

    My parents were pen-pals for two years before they met in person, and had met only a few times when they got engaged, married at 19 and 21, almost 44 years ago. I asked my dad once, years ago, how they could be so sure they knew each other well enough without having spent much time together, and he said that in letters, they could really bare their souls–my mother as a high school student, my dad as a marine in Viet Nam. (It was my mom’s high school boyfriend who talked her into “sending a letter to the marines”, as was the “in” thing to do in the late 60s…he regretted it! LOL) So I totally believe it, and congratulations to Adalia and BEN!! ! πŸ™‚

  49. Lucy

    I don’t nessescarily think 17 is too young, I would prefer if my daughter lived together before marriage. As you say, marriage is a commitment and is hopefully forever, so I would want her to go into it knowing everything she can about her future husband.

    I hope Adalia can establish a strong support network outside of Ben’s family in NZ. It’s a long way from home.

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      That was part of the purpose of the trip to New Zealand. I met several families and individuals who offered to do just that: help and support her in her adjustment to her new life in NZ!

  50. Eliza

    Thank you for sharing this lovely story! Just wondering – will Adalia have obtained her diploma by the time of the wedding? I think it’s really sweet that Adalia met BEN! through teen missions, but do any of your children feel a little “pressure” to meet their potential partners through teen missions too?
    Congratulations to Adalia and BEN!!!

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Eliza- I can’t imagine why they would feel pressure to find a spouse through Teen Missions…any more than a sibling might feel pressure to find a spouse at college, youth group, work or a bar, just because a sibling did. We don’t care whether our children marry or not, have zero children or a dozen. Our only desire is that they have a relationship with God.

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Eliza- she will both her high school dimploma and her associate of arts degree (first two years of college completed).

  51. Ivynettle

    I don’t usually comment here, but I just “have” to pile on more congratulations for Adalia and Ben – and also a big thank you for allowing us to witness, through pictures and words, such an important moment in their lives.

  52. Amanda

    Honestly, they’re a lot smarter than many older engaged couples I know! Taking time to get to know each other, relying on the blessing and advice of parents and centering their relationship in Christ.

    Will they have some growing up to do? Of course! Growing together is such a fundamental part of marriage…regardless of age.

    Best wishes and blessings for a long and happy life together Adalia and Ben!!

  53. Emily G

    Congratulations, BEN! and Adalia! I wish you many long and happy years together.

    I said “yes” to my husband just over a week before my 19th birthday. He was 22. We were married eight months later. We’re about to celebrate 6 years of marriage and, with the recent birth of twins, we have 5 kids to celebrate with us! We’ve grown and learned a lot together. We regret some of the decisions we’ve made together and do think immaturity had soemthing to do with them, but we never regret our decision to marry and begin our family. Both of us think that marrying young is a wonderful thing and are happy to see other young couples choosing this way. It is so fun to be married and in love when you’re young and the world is all a wonderful adventure.

  54. Alexis E.

    Wow, what a romance! I hope they are still telling their story in 18 years. Marriage happens when you are ready. I think when you have faith and a strong commitment to God that marriage seems more possible at a young age. When you serve the Lord you are already learning to put someone else before yourself which is a huge part of a successful marriage. I can’t wait to see updates! Adalia needs to start a blog about her new adventures in New Zealand and the life of a young wife.

  55. Ann DeBruin

    My husband and I were married at 18 and 20 and are still in love 50 years later. Our secret to this success is making Christ the third person in your marriage. We also moved away right after our marriage. Find a good church and good friends and all will work out just fine. God bless you both.

  56. Bell

    Do you have rules about your children not living with boyfriends/girlfriends until they’re married? Or did it just happen that way because of the distance? Congrats!

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      I’m not sure how to answer that since once they no longer live at home, they will no longer be obligated to follow our rules. At that point, it is up to them. I can say it is certainly against our Christian beliefs to live with someone before marriage. BEN! is also completely against living together before marriage, so it would be a non-issue anyway.

  57. Amanda scholtz mostert

    From Windhoek in Namibia. Congratulations to BEN! And Adalia! I saw that one coming.
    Just have to tell you. We met when I was 17 and he 21. Got married 2 week before I turned 19. Had our son when I was age 20 and a half. Second child at 22 and half. We moved 1000km from my parents home which made us grow up together and stand together. Later we were blessed with a present from God when I was 32.
    March 2014 we will be married 32 years.
    When divorce is not an option and Abba is the centre of you, you will make it.

  58. KJ

    Congrats to Adalia and BEN! My only question: will Adalia be blogging to keep us updated with how her newly married life is going? She is going to have such an amazing adventure to speak about!

  59. Kristi

    Yay, that’s fantastic, and I had a feeling it was just a matter of time πŸ™‚ They seem to make a great couple. We were married young and started having children young and I have zero regrets about that. God bless you, and I look forward to seeing how God does bless your family in the years to come!

  60. Sarah Wamuhiu

    Congrats to BEN! and Adalia! What a sweet love story! God has the perfect story for each of us and its always fun to watch a new romance unfold. While I was 23 when we married I certainly have enjoyed the past 4 years of “growing up” with my husband. I had lots of fun being single (including a crazy Teen Missions Trip when I was 16 πŸ™‚ but I have enjoyed all our adventures together much more. Having spent the first 4 years of marriage 8000 miles away from my family…we lived in Kenya where my hubby is from while my whole family was in the USA, it can be challenging and tons of fun all at the same time. Learning to run to my hubby with my joys, sorrows, excitement and challenges instead of running to my mom or dad was a blessing. We are pretty independent as a couple and know our stand and opinions on most things as a couple. It has brought us really close together and close to God as we have mostly only had God and each other. We are living in the US now which is a big adjustment but we are enjoying it as well. My brothers finally got to meet my husband and they welcomed him with open arms which was wonderful! (My parents had met and spent alot of time with him before we got married!). Hope the two of them will add many more amazing chapters to their love story over the years to come!

  61. Susan

    Congratulations to Ben and Adalia! What a wonderful adventure for her, moving to New Zealand and starting a new life. I wish them many years of happiness!

  62. Diane

    Like many of your other readers I wasn’t surprised to see this. I am so happy for them. What a great trip you must have had to New Zealand. Me and my husband were both 20 when we got married and we had a true May to December romance. He was in the Navy at the time and we saw each other only a handful of times before we got married as well as only knowing one another for 6 months before getting married. 26 years later we are still together and happy as ever. Congrats to them both and wishing them many years of happiness.

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