- Associated Press - Friday, October 2, 2015

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) - In 1960, nearly 60 percent of adults 18 to 29 years old were married. Today, that number is 20 percent.

Statistics show people are waiting longer to get married, and some say marriages are more successful when couples are older and more established in their careers.

Two local couples - one in their second year of marriage, the other only weeks away from wedding bells - are proving that marriage can work at a young age, the St. Joseph News-Press (http://bit.ly/1O51WSH ) reported.

Samantha and Korby Trautman, both 24 years old, have been married for a little more than a year, but have been together for five.

Samantha Smith and Zach Mcclelland, also 24 years old, have been dating since they were 16, and will officially be husband and wife in November.

“We just never got tired of each other,” Mcclelland said, laughing. “We just kind of grew into what it is now and we are kind of finishing that with the wedding.”

“He’s stuck with me forever,” chimed Smith, his fiancĂ©e. Mcclelland answered with, “I’m putting a stamp on it.”

Although data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows people are waiting longer to wed, Mcclelland and Smith don’t see it that way, and instead feel like they are finally catching up with friends.

“All my friends are getting married and having kids,” Smith said. “I just feel like I’m fitting right in with my age group of people and my friends.”

For the Trautmans, the road to marriage wasn’t something the couple was about to rush in to.

The two met at Grace Evangelical Church, where they would eventually say their vows in front of friends and family.

After only a year of dating, Korby Trautman proposed, but wedding bells didn’t ring until three years later, and friends of the couple questioned whether or not the two should get married, given their age.

“I had a few friends who told me that we were too young and that we shouldn’t get married,” Samantha Trautman said. “I was very shocked that they would even say anything like that, but obviously it didn’t matter.”

Financially, the Trautmans’ situation revolves around student loans and purchasing new cars, and eventually their first home.

“It was different having to work and go to school at the same time,” Korby Trautman said. “You were working a lot of hours to make up for that (time), and it reflected in school but at the same time you had to work. You had to bring in money somehow.”

“Buying our first house, Holy cow!” Samantha Trautman added. “It helps with the two incomes and it helps with the ‘Can we really do this?’”

“When we bought that house we kept looking at each like ‘are we really going to do this?’” Korby Trautman said. “But in our heads we kept talking ourselves into it. You share those troubles together. You’re always there for each other and that’s the nice thing.”

When it comes to marrying in their 20s, U.S. Census Bureau data shows people who wait until the age of 25 are 24 percent less likely to get a divorce.

“I mean, it is kind of scary hearing that people our age are going through that, but at the same time it doesn’t surprise me,” Korby Trautman said. “They think they can handle it, but they really can’t. It takes a level of maturity that a lot of people don’t have.”

“And compromise and willingness to change. It’s a lot of factors,” said Samantha Trautman, picking up where her husband left off.

The odds might not be in their favor, but both couples say they didn’t fall in love because of numbers.

“I don’t think analytically I fell in love with him, and we are together and we are going to stay together forever,” Samantha Trautman said.

Korby Mcclelland said it’s all a learning experience

“Life brings you a lot of twists and turns,” he said, “but the one constant is being with the one person you actually really care about.”

___

Information from: St. Joseph News-Press/St. Joe, Missouri, http://www.newspressnow.com

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