You always hear cautionary tales against getting married at a young age, especially today. In fact, our generation is holding off on marriage later and later with a lot of people choosing not to get married at all. There’s nothing wrong with doing it either way, but Shane and I decided to get married pretty young.
Shane and I were 19 and 20 (respectively) when we got engaged, and even his dad wanted to make sure he was ready and knew what we were getting ourselves into beforehand. We’ve had people question our decision to be married before his 21st birthday, but we never let anyone else’s opinion sway our decision.
Here we are, almost eight years since we started dating, and more in love and compatible and comfortable with each other than on our wedding day. Here are some things we’ve picked up along the way.
You Always Have a Designated Driver
I’m sure any of my best friends or sisters would be there if I called them, but it’s nice to know that no matter what happens; whether we’re physically together or not, Shane will always be there to drive me home if I don’t feel comfortable driving myself. I’m not a “lightweight” by any means, but I’m anxious and borderline paranoid at points, so if I feel like I might even have the slightest lapse in judgment or any kind of impairment while driving, I won’t risk it.
Shane has always made it a point to make sure I knew that no matter what, I always need to call him if I need him to come get me.
You Need Your Own Space
We are fortunate enough to be able to afford a 2-bedroom apartment, but instead of designating the second bedroom for guests, it’s become my art room/office. Standing in the doorway one day, I asked Shane, “Do you ever wish you had your own bedroom?” His response? “Yeah, sometimes.”
It doesn’t mean we’re tired of each other or anything, it just means that we’re normal humans who sometimes want space and time away from their spouse. Think about it, as a kid, when you lived with your parents and/or siblings, it was nice to be able to shut everyone out and have your own space to be yourself. That doesn’t change just because you’re a married adult. It’s hard being around someone constantly. Hopefully we’ll have a house soon that Shane can make his “mancave/gaming room” and we can each have our own designated space. Until then, I will continue to constantly remind him how thankful I am that I got to have my own space first.
Labeling Tupperware is Much Easier
This one might be weird for some, but those from blended families completely know the struggle. When I was still living at home, but working, we had to label our containers in the fridge at work – as with most places. The problem: I couldn’t put my last name on anything because it belonged to my parents, not me, but I didn’t have their last name. I couldn’t put “Smith” (not my maiden name) on something that technically belonged to the “Johnson” family despite being a part of that family. But no one at work would know whose food containers belonged to “Johnson” because there wasn’t anyone working there with that last name.
It was a very weird problem to have, and again, one that those from blended families wouldn’t understand, but being able to put mine and my husband’s last name on something and have everyone know who it belongs to is such a simple joy and convenience.
You Always Have a Scapegoat
It’s best to let your spouse/S.O. know they’re your scapegoat, but as long as they’re on board, it makes it so much easier to deal with social obligations.
Sometimes Shane has used me as a way to get out of playing certain games with friends. Sometimes I’ve used him as a way to not have to go to a particular event. He’s even used himself for me to figure out how old a friend was on her birthday! No joke; he set up this whole plan himself. He would ask her how old she was turning on her birthday, and when she told him, I was supposed to be like, “Told you!” and he was going to respond with, “You were right,” and explain to the friend that I told him, but he didn’t believe me. Granted, it only worked if she had told him the truth – she did – but it was such a genius and selfless way to make me look good and get the question answered.
Making Dinner Can Be a Hassle
Shane and I have similar taste in foods, but over the years I’ve discovered that I’m more willing to be experimental than he is. He also eats more than I do. Granted, his job is more physically demanding than mine, so he’s burning more calories and at a higher speed.
Sometimes, though, I just want a salad for dinner. Or I want to just have a bowl of cereal and call it a night. And yes, he can make himself dinner. But when he’s been working 12+ hours all day, and I’ve been home since just after 2 in the afternoon, it just makes sense that I would have dinner ready for us. Sometimes I will make us separate meals, and he’s pretty easy to please as long as it’s substantial and filling, so it doesn’t require a whole lot of work. Now I just need him to eat while he’s at work, so his energy isn’t depleted, and he doesn’t eat everything in sight when he gets home.
Also, learning to cook for just two people when you’re used to cooking for a family of 6+ is hard, but relearning to cook for a large group is even harder.
You’re Less Worried About Attracting Attention and More Invested in Just Enjoying Yourself
I’m not really a bar or club person and I don’t even really go out much but when I do, I want to just enjoy myself. I’m not worried about how attractive I look to someone (especially if Shane’s not with me) or about meeting someone and can instead just focus all my attention and energy on the people I’m with and the reason I’m there.
I went to a family friend’s 40th birthday party a few years back, and we went to a rooftop bar as part of the festivities that weekend. I noticed a lot of people there flirting, and dancing and I just remember thinking how thankful I was that I was already married and didn’t need to worry about any of that even at 22.
You Can Compliment Someone’s Appearance without It Being Weird
This is one that I really thought about today, but it’s so true. Here’s the deal, you can always compliment someone regardless (unless it’s about their size – that’s not a compliment no matter how you mean it) of your marital status. What I mean is simply that there’s no underlying implications. When you’re in a secure, committed relationship, you can notice things about someone else in an objective manner.
Today I complimented the Starbucks barista’s eyes. I don’t have an issue complimenting other women, because I feel like we should always lift each other up, but I guess I don’t really pay attention to those same features on guys, so when I noticed the barista’s hazel eyes, I couldn’t help myself. He seemed surprised, in a good way, and thanked me and told me it made his day.
You Can Grow As a Person Together
I had to get sentimental for a moment. A big reason for people not getting married young is that the don’t really “know” themselves yet. They’re still growing and learning and figuring out the world and their place in it. Am I the same person I was 6 years ago? 8 years ago? Absolutely freaking not. But what hasn’t changed is how I feel about my husband.
Like I mentioned in this post, I love the phrase “If you’re not growing together, you’re growing apart.” It pertained to friendship in that one, but it applies to romantic partnerships as well. I feel like a lot of the reasons couples that were married young divorce is because they grew apart. They were each taking their own journeys, but instead of doing it together, they were doing it alone. When you each grow and explore and discover together, you realize that you can be someone different than you were when you first started dating, but be closer with your partner than you were then, too.
Ultimately, it’s no one else’s decision to get married or not except you and your partner. And yes, sometimes people do rush into relationships without considering what a massive commitment it is. But whether you are both ready or not is up for you to decide, not your parents or your friends. Marriage between two consenting adults can be the absolute greatest decision you ever make in your life. Just know consider what you’re getting yourself into. 😉