I’ve only just turned 29 but I have already spent almost 11 years of my life with the same person. Six of those years in which I have been lucky enough to call that person my husband. I started dating, my now husband, shortly after I turned 18. We were engaged a year and a half later and married in 2010 when I was just shy of 22. We were young and in love and ready to tackle the world together. But, that doesn’t mean getting married young is a walk in the park. There are a million in one reasons why getting married young is beneficial but there are also some downsides to it as well.
We grew up together.
We were only 21 when we vowed to spend the rest of our life together and although we felt grown up during this time we were far from it. I look at my husband now and although he has certainly changed and grown up throughout the years I still remember what he was like as a kid. I remember the awkward and dorky but incredibly sweet and funny 18-year-old that he was. I remember his early twenties when he was really discovering who he was and what he wanted to do with his life. We’ve been together through high school, college classes, moving to a different state, adopting pets, and living together in cheap apartments with hand me down and thrift store furniture with not much money to our name. We’ve watched our bodies change, our mindset and priorities shift and goals that we once thought were far off in the future fall into place.
We grew up together and that is an amazing thing to do next to the one you love. We have pushed each other and cheered each other on throughout all of life’s obstacles and awkward times. We have been there, hand in hand, right next to each other as we have grown up over the years and that is an amazing thing to get to witness.
There’s less baggage.
We started dating at 18 and were married by 21 so that doesn’t leave a lot of room in the relationship department. We were both each other’s first “real” relationship. Yes, we had both dated before and yes we both had told a past partner that we loved them. But, I can honestly say that I didn’t know what love was or what it truly meant to love someone else until I started dating my husband. Because we married so young and because this was our first real relationship there wasn’t any baggage to deal with. We didn’t have past marriages or children and didn’t have alimony or custody battles to deal with. There were no crazy ex-boyfriends or wronged relationships. We never experienced a relationship that dealt with living with someone else, sharing a home or spending years dedicated to another person.
No Money No Problem
When we were married we had less than $5k to our name. In fact, we lived on about 10k our first year of marriage. Colby was finishing his senior year in college and I was working full time not making much money. We lived in a 1-bedroom apartment that only cost $350 with hand me down furniture and some thrift store finds. We didn’t have much money but we also didn’t mind. I think most newly married couples go through the being broke phase and although no one wants to be broke I think it is a very valuable experience. It taught us about hard work, saving, budgeting and being mindful of our money. It taught us how to make the most out of our money and value what we had. We learned how to enjoy our new life as newlyweds without spending much money. We learned how to work together as a team and how to work through hard situations and it truly strengthened our marriage. I look back now and I think fondly of our first year of marriage in that apartment. All the laughs and all the love that made that place our home. Marrying young might mean less money and more work but the payoff is worth it in the end.
You appreciate the little things
This one goes hand in hand with the lack of money. When you have little money to work with you learn to appreciate the little things. You appreciate every handpicked flower, every love note and every walk around town. You appreciate the simple things like stargazing or home cooked meals. You relish the moments it is just the two of you curled up on the couch watching that $1 Redbox movie. Even now, 6 years later, I appreciate the little things so much. It is the little acts of kindness that often go unnoticed in our everyday lives that you learn to enjoy so much more if you marry young.
You Have More Time Together
If you could have more time with the one you love, why wouldn’t you take it? That is how I feel about marrying young. By getting married so early in life I have been able to spend so much more of my time next to the one I love. This is time spent together that I would have lost out on if I waited to get married until later in life. No one wants to miss out on time with those they love and many people regret not getting to spend more time with someone. I can thankfully say I will never get to live to have that regret. I have been gifted with nothing but time and have enjoyed those years next to the one person who truly knows who I am and has been with me through every milestone, every awkward stage, and has loved me through it all.
There Is No Rush To Find “The One”
I was married earlier than any of my friends. In fact, most of my friends from high school and college are just now getting married in their late 20’s and early 30’s. Some, however are still single and I have got to experience secondhand, their rush, to find “the one.” They talk about how they fear they will never find someone and are destined to be alone forever. They talk about all the crazy dating apps and dating experiences they have been on. Can I just say how thankful I am I have never had to use Tinder lol I find this fear of being alone and the rush to find someone, especially in those nearing 30 really common. I think for many, we feel that by 30, we should have found the one we are meant to be with. Something about turning 30 means everything needs to be in its place. I feel for my friends who struggle with this because I know if I was single at my age I would feel the same way and I would want to be settling down too. By marrying young, I have never had to deal with bad dates, tinder horror stories, or just working up the courage to talk to someone at a bar. I can not say how grateful I am that I have not had to have those experiences.
You Always Have Someone
On good days or bad days, you always have someone to share it with. When I was having an amazing day or something good happened, I knew I always had someone to share it with. Yes, you could say you could share the news with friends but it is different. There is something about sharing good news and your good days with the one you love. You know they will be just as excited as you are about it. The same goes for bad days. There is nothing better than knowing you have someone waiting for you. You always have someone to listen to you, to comfort you, and to hold you in troubling times. And that is an amazing feeling and so comforting on bad days when you feel like everything is falling apart. Nothing makes a bad day a little more bearable than curling up in the arms of the one you love.
Others Don’t Take Your Marriage Seriously
When you get married young you will often come across people in your life who don’t take your marriage as serious as they would an older couple. This is extremely frustrating. Many people did not take our marriage seriously just because of our age. There were a lot of people who thought we were too young to get married or that our marriage wouldn’t last or that we were rushing into things. There are also people who felt that since we were so young, despite being married, that meant our commitment to each other wasn’t “real.” I think the case with the later had more to do with the fact we were still in college while married. There were often times when one or the both of us would experience someone trying to pursue us and even after saying we were married, the person still carried on. This made us both feel like our peers did not take our marriage seriously. I attribute this to the fact that our peers were still young so to them a person their age being married wasn’t normal and they couldn’t grasp why we would choose to do so. Thankfully, not everyone felt like this. Many of our friends were very supportive of our marriage and often joked to us about being the houseparents of the group. But, it is still something we experienced on more than one case.
You Have To Be OK With Change
When you get married young you are often at the age where you are still trying to figure out who you are, what you want to do, and how you fit into this world. What you want as a twenty year old can be completely different than what you want when you are thirty. Your goals may change, your plans may alter, and who you are as a person may be completely different. When you marry young, you have to realize this and be OK with change. This can easily break a couple apart, even in the strongest relationships, if you aren’t able to accept the changes that come with your partner growing up. This may be as simple as where they wanted to live or what they wanted to do has changed over the years. But, it could also be more serious..like a spouse who wanted kids at twenty and later changes their mind or vice versa. When you marry young, this is a chance you have to be willing to take. People change as they get older and their dreams change a well. You have to be willing to accept that and be OK with the fact that things you talked about and planned when you were young might not necessarily happen the way you hoped. If you can’t accept the fact that the person you married may change as you get older, this will always cause tension and problems in ones marriage.
Marriage is a wonderful and beautiful thing but it requires both give and take. It depends on both partners believing in each other, forgiving each other, and calling each other out on their shit. I don’t believe someones marriage is less meaningful or less real if they get married young. Regardless if you get married at 20, 30, or 50 every marriage is formed out of love, compassion, and trust for the other person. I can honestly say I have never once doubted getting married young. There is nothing that getting married young has stopped me from doing. If I had to do it all over again I would do it all the same. I appreciate the fact that I have got to share so much more time with my husband because we married young and that we have so much more time left to share together that we wouldn’t have had if we married later in life. Marrying young has always and will always remain a blessing.
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