Jaw on the floor, eyes bugging, one hand covering their gaping maw and the other reaching halfway between us to either stop me advancing further or supplicating poor old me. That’s the reaction I get from most people when I tell them how old I am and how long I’ve been married. Yes, I got married young. Get over it.
I have a good mixture of friends: some single, some dating, some married, some with kids. In that set of married or seriously dating couples: some were young, some were old, some dated for a long time, others got engaged very quickly. They all seem to be doing fine, just as fine as I am. So what’s the big deal with having gotten married as a new adult?
My husband tells me he now knows, five years later, that he didn’t really understand what he was getting into. I did. I knew I was making a choice. And I think that’s all anyone needs to realize. Marriage, or any commitment, is a decision. You choose that person, that job, that house you are going to be paying out the ass for the next 30 years. But you’ve chosen to commit.
That’s why when people say to me that someone wasn’t “the one,” I tend to scoff. That kind of talk is silly. Yes, there are people you aren’t compatible with. I don’t want everyone to marry the first person they fall in love with. Especially if it’s a high school sweetheart and it just seems easy, or the right thing to do. There is a level of maturity required in making the choice, but I don’t think there is an age requirement. Some sixteen-year-olds have as much maturity as thirty-seven-year-olds.
I think a lot of people talk about marriage and divorce because a lot of us go through it. It’s a mainstay, like politics or belief. Recently I’ve talked to a girlfriend about her long-term boyfriend and how to keep the spark alive (it comes and goes); to a girlfriend who was also married young (why do people think we don’t know what love is because it was “easy” for us?); to a girlfriend who jokes that I don’t know anything because I didn’t have multiple boyfriends (ha!). To everyone else out there, my experience was different than yours, don’t get so touchy.
Of course love exists, and you have every right to believe that there is one human for you. I just happen to believe that I get to choose that person. I do love my husband, with all my heart, but I know that won’t sustain our marriage or our relationship. It’s hard work (as has been said so many times by so many people). I have elected to work hard at staying with this man because I want to live life’s adventures with him by my side. We have so much fun together, especially when we’re fighting.
But really, who am I to say whether or not the person you want to be with the rest of your life should be chosen on a matter of logic? That’s also your choice.