Couples at Tyler Junior College are getting married young and overcoming the challenges together.

“I got married because I was in love,” said Sarah Lopez, 24-year-old wife and mother of two.

Lopez, formally known as Sarah Thomas, married Guadalupe Lopez in 2008. She was 19 when they got engaged and 20 when they married. 

Getting married at a young age is becoming less and less common. Nationally the average age of first-time marriages is 28 years old for men and 26 years old for women, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.  

Young marriages lead to a much higher rate of divorce, according to the same study. This doesn’t deter couples from getting married young.

“I think that if you work hard, any marriage can work,” said Lorena Olivas, 20, married a little over a year ago.

There are resources locally to help young couples. VOW is a program built to help couples work on their marriages whether they have been married for years, engaged, or single and just curious. This program is a relationship education service based out of Longview. They have helped 5,600 people over the last five years and they have seen improvement in 80 percent of the relationships that have passed through their program. 

Lorena Olivas married Ben Olivas on Oct. 23, 2010. There was no hesitation in making their decision to marry one another because they had the support of both family and friends.

“I think if you have people around you rooting for you, then you can’t fail,” said Ben Olivas.

Lopez has grown stronger and closer to her husband and built a strong family. She is first and foremost a wife and mother. She couldn’t see her life without her family and is proud of the way her life has turned out.

“I honestly can’t remember my life without him,” said Lopez, “but why would I want to?”

For questions or to enroll in the VOW program, call (903) 232-1700 or visit www.wevownow.com.

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