I am 23 years old, and in a little over a month, I will be getting married.
I will be marrying my best friend and my all-around favorite person in the world. I have never felt more certain and I have never felt more positive. But I also can’t help but feel like a little kid in this whole big life milestone event.
Truth be told, I’ve lost my engagement ring nearly 10 times, I still refer to him as my “boyfriend,” I can never manage to pick up my dirty laundry off the floor, and I still don’t quite know how to do my taxes. It doesn’t help that I’m a confused 23-year-old, still piecing together my dream creative business and eating buttered noodles day after day. I love sleeping in until 10 and spending all my free time blogging and fine-tuning my branding colors and fonts. (Doesn’t everybody?)
Getting married young was never my goal
And then living together changed everything for us.
Suddenly, I knew he was the person I would spend my life with.
But while I’m so certain about him and my commitment to him, I can’t also help but feel like a child about to play dress-up on her wedding day.
As I’m prepping myself mentally for this new phase of my life, I needed to do some research. So I read a few books to ease my nerves and give me some clarity: Commitment by Elizabeth Gilbert and The Defining Decade by Dr. Meg Jay.
Understanding my Fear about Getting Married Young
In order to first understand why my brain is telling me that I’m weird and old-fashioned for getting married in my early twenties, I wanted to do some research on millennials and our overall fear of commitment. I couldn’t be the only one thinking I was a bit odd, right?
After researching, reading and talking around with friends, I’ve noticed that our modern society, especially those in urban settings, tends to romanticize being single and avoiding commitment altogether. The romanticism and excitement of Tinder, casual hook-ups and a focus on building a career first is a common trend portrayed in the media, if not encouraged. Just listen to Taylor Swift’s song New Romantics or watch the film How to Be Single!
And I realized that I used to be one of these people. I loved dating, courtship, and spending my time alone or with friends.
But what happens when you become bored of dating? What happens when you realize you’re ready to commit your life and loyalty to one person one?
And what happens when that person walks into your life when you’re young?
I believe that the majority of early twenty-somethings either don’t take their relationships seriously or don’t think they are allowed to take them seriously. Being 21 or 22 years old with the idea of marrying their boyfriend/girlfriend while in college is just too weird for a lot of my friends and peers.
We tell ourselves that there’s time to explore our options and that there’s time to experiment and date lots of people. And there’s confusion and surprise when we meet someone younger who doesn’t need to explore their options anymore.
And then comes your thirties, suddenly everyone starts to panic. The idea of marriage instantly becomes pressing, and eventually, people start making a mad dash and reaching out for the first good person they can get their hands on. Like Dr. Meg Jay. writes in her book The Defining Decade, it’s as if our twenties are spent playing musical chairs and once our thirties hit, the music stops and everyone is scrambling for a chair.
But who we choose to marry is one, if not, the most important decision we make with our lives.
Our chosen spouse affects everything: our lifestyle, money, work, family, retirement, children, even death and rushing into picking someone isn’t the smartest move. Because this decision affects everything in an individual’s life, it’s critical that one is mature and wise enough to make such a life-altering decision.
Most people assume that this means they must wait until they are “old enough” to make such a wise decision. But I’ve learned that age doesn’t have to do with it. If you are stable, mature and emotionally intelligent person, if you know and respect yourself and you’re aware of your values and life goals, and you find your match in another, you shouldn’t pass up a wonderful relationship just because you are “too young to settle down.”
Waiting longer to find a husband and get married is not the ticket to success in marriage.
Finding Your Spouse at a Young Age
I think this notion that we are supposed to wait until after we’ve dated around, even slept around, before deciding on a life partner may possibly hold us back on our ultimate happiness.
At the end of the day, we all just want to be happy, right?
And when a person adds all these colorful layers of happiness that weren’t in our life before – when one realizes they found that person they want to grow old with – why make that mistake of letting him or her go? Why not begin the process of building a long and happy life together – right then, and there.
On Getting Married Young
Alright so, here’s my take on this: If you meet the right person, your age really doesn’t matter. If you fall in love and get serious with someone in your early twenties, who cares? I do, however, agree that with time comes maturity (neurologically, our brains aren’t even finished developing until we’re 26!) but if you pass on a great person that you love just because you feel it’s wrong age to settle down, I think that is a problem. Falling in love and getting married should be based on the person you’re choosing and your personal relationship with them, not how old you are.
Your happiness is not dependent on when you get married, as much as it is to whom you get married to.
Allow What is Meant to Be, to Be
I happened to meet and fall in love with my partner at age 20; I can’t help it if that was the time that the Universe presented this human into my life. I met the person that is right for me, and I’m marrying him not because my timeline is ticking and he was the closest person to me, the first person to settle down with. I’m marrying him because he makes life more vibrant than my colorful world already was. I’m marrying him, young as I am, because he is my equal partner and someone I choose to spend the rest of my life with.
The numbers don’t matter at the end of the day. What matters is how we feel when we are around each other, our emotional connection, how we communicate and deal with conflict, and worldviews, morals, and values. We are very different personalities with the same values.
We are not perfect people, but we are a perfect match.
Intentionally Keeping Our Engagement Private
Over the past year, I kept our engagement and decision to get married a secret between us and our parents.
But I shouldn’t feel nervous to tell people that I’m engaged just because I happen to be young. I may have decided to not put anything on social media until 4 months after the engagement, mostly because we wanted to keep this private, but partially out of my fear of what my peers will think of me – the girl who swore never to get married.
Benefits of Getting Married Young
I’ve also realized that meeting your partner so young is a blessing and getting married young can have its own benefits.
You get to explore life’s many different phases together, have more time to build a life and your wealth and your foundation with each other, experience growing older and watch each other morph and shift and eventually become the grey-haired, thin-skinned elderly citizen you will someday become. It’s a beautiful gift.
While we don’t need another person in order to fulfill our own unique dreams and visions for our life, our lives benefit when we team-up. Because our life values and visions are the same, because we become our best and highest selves around one another, we can benefit from life from joining forces and marrying young. Together we can begin to build a life together and start sooner rather than later.
My Perspective on Getting Married Has Changed
No matter what, a healthy and joyous marriage is ultimately more important than getting married young. But in our modern world, with many people encouraging young millennials to wait because of age, I encourage those who happily in love and wish to marry earlier to question why young marriage would be such a bad thing.
It’s not silly. It’s not crazy. Getting married young can be a wonderful path when you are in a healthy, stable and emotionally connected partnership.
And don’t throw out the option of getting married young. Everyone’s path is unique and different, and as women, we need to encourage one another to actively pursue choices in life that uplift and inspire us and help us be the best versions of ourselves.
Moving forward, I promise to embrace this season of my life, to forgo people-pleasing, and cherish this new journey with my partner.
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