My husband and I recently celebrated our 2-year anniversary. This special occasion has got me reflecting a lot about our relationship, and marriage in general. In my bio I mentioned that I married young. My husband proposed when I was 21 and we got married when I was 23, simply because it was what felt right. Since then time has flown by – it seems like just last week we were having our first dance on the patio of the bed and breakfast where we hosted our small wedding.
Most of our friends and family were incredibly supportive of us and our decision. However, I struggled with the occasional naysayer – usually someone who didn’t know us very well – who seemed appalled by the idea of getting married so soon. “What are you rushing for?” “Shouldn’t you focus on building a stable career first?” “I would move in together first to see if it’s going to work out.”
I couldn’t understand how so many people saw marriage as an end, rather than a new beginning. Wouldn’t my career, my life, my friends, still be there after the ceremony? Why do we treat marriage as though it’s a death sentence?
Fortunately, marriage hasn’t held me back in any aspect of my life. I’m thankful for the joys that come along with continually building our relationship and learning more about myself in the process. Here’s why I’m glad we decided to marry young:
You’re still allowed to have fun. Only now, you always have someone to hang out with.
Who started the myth that the fun needs to end after you’re married? Your life with your spouse doesn’t need to be limited to sitting at home or texting each other back and forth about what groceries you need (although we do this too).
I’ve traveled with my husband. He’s helped me to be more adventurous, like riding roller coasters even when my stomach’s in knots, and realizing it’s not so bad. We’ve gone to bars and clubs only to remember they weren’t that fun when we were younger and they sure aren’t great now. I have someone to buddy up with for late-night fried chicken runs, ice cream binges, and TV marathons. I can send him as many cute photos of our dogs as I like and he’ll always reply with equal enthusiasm.
I’ll take the enjoyment of these small moments over the “fun” of having a string of first dates. (Am I the only one who was absolutely horrible at dating? It’s something I never enjoyed to begin with.)
You have someone to support you through tough times.
Stress is an inevitable part of life. Between college, graduate school, wedding planning, teaching, and money issues, I’ve had my fair share of meltdowns over the past few years. I’m also the type of person who tries to deal with these feelings privately instead of seeking support. It’s not always the healthy thing to do, but I feel guilty placing that kind of burden on someone else.
I do feel less guilty sharing with my husband, though. The whole “you have to love me no matter what” part of our vows gives me that peace of mind. Also, it’s kind of hard to hide things when you’re living together and seeing each other constantly. I’ve yet to become an open book, but having that one person around to talk to you, without judgment, when you really need it makes a big difference. Plus, as a couple we have a lot of shared concerns. It’s comforting when you know that you’re not going through something alone.
You can share errands.
If you’ve ever lived in a big city with no car, you know there’s no greater struggle than grocery shopping for the week. For years, I lugged my groceries by hand as I walked and/or took the train to my apartment. It was a logistical nightmare buying larger items for my apartment. I’d have to make the choice between carrying a huge box on the Subway or ordering something online and making the dreaded walk to and from the post office, pink slip in hand.
I love that I can ask hubby to pick something up for me if I’m not prepared to go out myself. Or that he can come along to help carry things and keep me company, so that our errands are just a little more bearable.
There’s greater financial stability.
I know, it’s not romantic to talk about the m-word, but it’s the truth. I sometimes think back to my college days living off a part-time salary, constantly stressing over my negative bank account balance and losing weight from not eating three square meals a day. I wonder how I did it back then. Thinking about those times really makes me appreciate what we have now.
We’re not rich, but we’re more fortunate than most people in the world. We aren’t burdened by debt, we make our rent every month, we can afford to cook healthy(ish) meals and travel occasionally. I’m even lucky enough to take as much time off of work as I need to focus on my pregnancy and our new baby. Alone, I wouldn’t have had as much freedom to make these choices.
Your fear of rejection just about disappears (or at least becomes manageable).
I’m not even talking about romantic rejection, either. I dreaded job interviews, applying to schools and internships, and going to large social events where I’d have to talk to a lot of new people. It was full-blown Imposter Syndrome – constantly dealing with this nagging feeling that I wasn’t good enough and not living up to everyone’s expectations.
It’s a lot easier to deal with these fears when you have someone backing you up who believes in you 100%. My self-esteem has steadily improved over time, and I’ve slowly begun to accept the positive traits my husband assures me I possess. Even when I don’t succeed, when I do face rejection, I have someone ready to pick me back up again and encourage me to keep trying.
You can shut down a flirtatious interaction with a wave of your hand.
Every woman has at least one creepy harassment story, if not many. Living in New York City and walking everywhere, I could count on being harassed regularly just as much as I could count on the sun to rise. Sadly, most creeps don’t take a simple “no” or “not interested” for an answer. Even a couple of guys responded to, “I have a boyfriend” with, “Well I’m sure it’s not that serious between you.” Ick.
The only surefire way I’ve found to deter these creeps is flashing my engagement ring/wedding ring at them. A part of me hates it because these guys should respect a woman’s right to say no instead of waiting to see another man’s “proof of ownership,” but sadly that’s not our reality. When it comes down to my safety and sanity, I’m glad I have a foolproof conversation-ender.
You’re constantly challenged to become a better person.
Marriage does change you. Friends who have known me for years can attest to that. I fully believe that I’ve changed for the better – learning how to care unconditionally for another human will do that to you. As our relationship has matured, I’ve become a more effective communicator, as well as more tolerant, understanding, and patient.
This is something that is an ongoing process as well. Neither of us are perfect, but we both share the desire to be a better spouse to one another. I appreciate having someone in my life who inspires me to become a better person in everything I do.
What are your thoughts?
Disclaimer: My husband and I have a great relationship. I know not all relationships are healthy (and have been through a few of them myself). I believe marriage only works if both parties feel secure and respected in the relationship. If you’re not in a positive relationship, getting married won’t solve your problems.
That being said, if you are married, how has it brought joy to your life? If you are unmarried, how do you relate to the points I made? Let me know in the comments!
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