We Weren’t Ready To Get Married (But We Did It Anyway)
When my husband and I announced our engagement, people congratulated us. Then they started asking questions. The first questions people asked were usually “How did he ask you?” and “Have you set a date?”
The second question was often “Are you sure you guys are ready?”
Other people made nebulous statements like “Wow! Marriage. That’s a big commitment,” followed by a skeptical smile and “But, congratulations!” Some people suggested we move in together for a few years to see if we actually could put up with each other long-term. The day after we got engaged, someone asked me “Are you religious or something?” I interpreted this question, “Are you getting married so you can legitimize having sex?” And before you ask, no, I was not pregnant.
The questions and skepticism came from my peers – classmates and acquaintances with strong opinions but little understanding of my life. Our families and close friends were completely supportive of our decision.
On May 5th of this year, I became a 21 year-old wife. A lot of people wonder why I married so young, and the answer can be made complicated, but should be very simple.
I married my husband because I want to live with him. I didn’t want to simply cohabitate or continue dating. Our relationship was at a point where the status quo was stagnation. It was time to continue building our lives together, and we chose marriage.
I was annoyed by the skepticism from people who didn’t really know us. Eventually, though, I realized that it’s hard to understand “us” without knowing us. Three years ago, I would have been just as skeptical of two young students gettin’ hitched over the summer.
Devin and I have a long history. He was my major childhood crush, and my feelings never went away. We became very close friends two years ago. In January, 2011, Devin decided to risk our friendship and told me he adored me. We were set on each other. That summer, we started talking about the crazy idea of a spring wedding. In the fall semester, he proposed.
Now we are going back to school as the weird married couple, and it’s awesome. When we were first engaged the skeptics sprung up like whack-a-moles, and I began to question our decision. We would often ask each other “Are we ready for this?” We realized that we weren’t. We didn’t have established careers. We sometimes fought (and fight) over stupid stuff. We were still in school. We didn’t even have a place to live after the wedding.
Then we realized that waiting for a few years wouldn’t make us readier. There would always be something to be improved upon. If we waited until we were “ready,” we would probably never marry.
We did our pre-marital counseling, read some books, and talked through some potential sources of conflict. We went into this fully aware that our marriage would have some rough spots, as do all marriages.
Some say we’re gambling our lives on each other. I say we’re investing. That’s the main difference in perspective between me and the people who criticize others for marrying young. People get married for so many reasons. Sometimes marrying young is a bad decision. Sometimes marrying at the ‘ideal’ time is also wrong. It depends on the individuals and their relationship.
Life is never going to be ideal, and neither is marriage. There is no perfect age for getting married. Devin and I were lucky and we found each other young. It’s what perfect looks like for us.
He snores and my beauty products clutter the bathroom. We fight sometimes because we are different people and we communicate in different ways. Ultimately, though, we’ve decided to invest in a life together. It works for us, and we’re building something beautiful.
Written by Catherine Cross
May 17, 2013
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