J and I got married young.
21 & 20 to be exact.
if you’ve been following this blog for long, you’ll know that our lives since then haven’t exactly been a piece of cake. they’ve actually been pretty damn hard. there have been lots of unwanted surprises, scary moments, losses, and disappointments. there have also been countless beautiful moments hidden like gems in the dirt than I can count. there have been kisses and cuddles and hushed prayers in teary silence. there have been a thousand laughs and a hundred coffee dates.
and I can tell you this:
getting married young was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
1.) you don’t just grow old together, you grow up together, too.
no matter when you get married, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be married to a few different people… no, not literally 😉 but both you and your spouse will change. you’ll become new people with different opinions and refreshed outlooks on the world. J and I have been married for a year and a half, and I’m pretty sure I’ve already been three different people! 🙂 and it has been AWESOME. I have learned to love each of the people Joey has been in new ways, as I’ve become a different person, too. we’ve tackled adult-y things together for the first time ever. we’ve been totally childish together… because we’re still kind of child-like! we’ve had to clean out that gross thing in the back of the fridge together. we’ve had to learn how to fix things on our own, and figure out who we are separately… together.
2.) you learn to be content while doing without.
getting married young = being really effing poor. 😉 rice and beans for dinner three nights this week? cutting back on the starbucks you’re used to having daily? not getting to spend your money when you want on what you want? you learn that the person you chose to marry is more important than any of that stuff, and that it doesn’t really matter because you get to be with that one person forever, and that’s just too freakin’ awesome. you learn to manage that money together, and to compromise and put him before yourself with your finances because you love him. considering the biggest source of divorce is fighting over money troubles, it’s a huge privilege to learn this lesson early in your marriage.
3.) you discover how to find joy in the little things… and in each other.
partly because you’re poor, you’ll learn to appreciate the smallest act of kindness, the littlest joys, the tiny things he does for you and the ways he loves you that have nothing to do with material things. and when you do get that chance to splurge, you don’t take it for granted, and you enjoy every second.
4.) you don’t get why everyone says the first year of marriage sucks.
I can’t tell you how many times I heard “you’ll fight the whole first year because you don’t know how to be married”. well, guys… when you get married young, you have so much working against you that you quickly realize your spouse can’t be one of those things. you have to be a team. you don’t have much of a choice. sure, the circumstances in your first year might be horrifyingly tough, but you don’t let your marriage be one of those things that is working against you. and pretty soon you’re like this unstoppable, kick-ass duo of total awesomeness that no one has a chance against. it’s you against the world. it’s the two of you facing life together and having each others’ back. you’ve always got someone in your corner.
5.) you grow up fast.
you have to. you have to be an adult. To get married at 21 years old, you have to be mature. you have to understand quickly what it means to put someone else’s life and interests and heart before your own. you have to pay bills and figure out money, and possibly share a car. you have to be okay notes with not having your way all the time, but with caring for & about another human being 24/7.
6.) you will perfect the art of replying gracefully to rude and/or prying questions.
People like to make and ask, ahem… odd… Remarks and questions when you get engaged at a young age. They will pry a little too deep into your sex life, give outrageously unsolicited “advice”, and of course everyone under the sun wants to know why you couldn’t put it off for another three years until you’re done with college and have an established career. (somehow “I know I want to spend the rest of my life with this person, so why put it off?” isn’t an acceptable answer.) Oh, and the offers for mentorship! Those come in like the college flyers. 😉 you will, after a few awkward attempts at politeness, realize that only about 10% of what they say has any merit, and that even out of that 10%, their opinions don’t define the love & commitment you have for one another and before God. and then you’ll just not and reply gracefully with a ridiculous amount of tact (because you’re freakin’ classy, that’s why.)
7.) you will get a jumpstart on life
let’s be honest. there are certain things that only marriage can teach you. there are certain experiences that come with marriage which open your eyes to things you’d never see otherwise. now please understand me: this in no way is implying that this makes you better that those who get married later in life. you just get to certain places in your relationships, in your walk with God, and in your personal growth sooner. and they’ll get to different places in their lives sooner! but as for you, you’ll finally understand the metaphor of Christ and His bride, you’ll weep when you imagine how your God pursues you like your husband has. and you’ll fall to your knees, overwhelmed at His love. it’s amazing.
8.) you will learn to be an in-between-er
let’s face it: most people my age are about to graduate from college. their priorities are still revolving around themselves, their careers, their best friend group, their sorority. yours isn’t. you are in a totally different stage of life than most of your friends. and this will be a tough adjustment. you’ll be at a loss as to what you’re supposed to talk about for a while. you’ll feel out of place. you’ll feel in between the people your age, and the people who are actually in your stage of life… because those are two totally different groups of people. you’ll learn more than ever how to rely on your spouse, and how to lean into God as you navigate new waters of people who can’t get over how “weird and old you are” and the other people who claim “you’re still just a baby.” you’ll be stuck here for a bit, and it will be a place of miraculous change in your heart and creation of closeness between you, your spouse, and the Lord.
Keep on lovin’ each other, young loves 💜
***all images are by kristian lynae photography***