She Was 16 When She Married A 25 Year Old. And Their Situation Is Surprisingly Prevalent.

EVERETT, Pa. – It was the day of the birthday party, and the husband and wife had invited everyone they knew. They’d spent the morning buying food – a sheet cake, jumbo hot dogs, ground beef, soda, chips – and were now standing around a picnic table covered with it all, along a long lake under a cloudless sky, hoping at least some people would show up to eat it.

Today was the first time both sides of their family were supposed to come together, something that hadn’t happened at their wedding four months before. On that day, not a single member of the husband’s family had attended – not his brothers, who’d called him a fool for marrying like this, and not his parents, who’d told him the relationship would only get him into trouble. Just about the only people who’d gone that day, and were here so far on this day, had been the people involved in the wedding itself.

Maria, worried that her engagement ring was getting dirty, inspects it with Phil. —Michael S. Williamson / The Washington Post

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