Thursday, February 13, 2014

On the "marrying too young" belief

There's all these posts about marriage going around, and since I don't have my usual litany of friends to discuss these with - oh wait, you're right here! How quaint.

The main article I wanted to say something about can be found here and if you didn't read it, the author talks about how necessary it is to find yourself before you get married, and also don't do it too young. She thinks the biggest reason people get married young is insecurity, and says that, in all the young marriages she sees happening, what links them together is inexperience in all sorts of categories of life. So instead of dealing with having to experience things by themselves, they cop-out by getting married - she thinks it's their security blanket.

I won't waste time arguing her closed-minded opinion that the only way to "live life" is to travel or start a band or make a couple cakes and then eat them or start a business or cut your hair (all these were on her list of things to do instead of get married before 23). But come on. Give me a break.

But here's the thing - and I don't mean to fight this girl in particular, but to spread light on the whole idea that marriage is so restricting - you can do everything she lists* while simultaneously being married. I know. It's a lot to take in. Let it simmer.

Marriage means that you've found someone you want to have these adventures with, as well as watching each other change. Because even if you wait until you think you have figured out who you are, I promise that you will change. If not fundamentally, then there will still be some pretty major shifts in your life that your partner will have to put up with. It doesn't happen on a timeline - you think you know who you are, so does your husband, so *poof* you get married and you are the key ones who have it figured out, you lucky dogs you.

People change over the whole course of their lives, so putting up with that change, and changing yourself, is a key part to staying married. It doesn't matter how old you were, it matters how much you're willing to work to stay committed. And no matter what stage you get married in, it takes a lot of work. Commitment doesn't always come easy. Watching your partner become something you didn't think they would be can be difficult. The question is, are you willing to stick with it? Or is the cost too much? I can't imagine any couple, madly in love on their wedding day, imagines themselves getting divorced - but so many do. Many of these people have "found themselves." Many haven't. It's not the common denominator for all the breakups. There isn't one. Even if you're committed to staying together, maybe your partner isn't. Or a plethora of other problems.

All I'm saying is that to blame someone for marrying young shows such a lack of understanding. It's ok to get married if you haven't crossed an ocean yet, or eaten a whole jar of Nutella in one sitting. Marriage doesn't confine you; if done right, it can release you and set you free. Being tied to someone doesn't make you tied down. It is so fulfilling to have someone love you unconditionally, and you can accomplish so much with a constant cheerleader by your side. And if that's not your journey, that's fine. But there's no need to knock down the other team if they are following their passions and doing good in the world.

And as a postscript, her listed item, "Get a tattoo. It's more permanent than a marriage" makes me so sad. I was bred to believe that marriage lasts forever, and I will stick with that until the day I die. I realize what she said is a common belief, and I think that's awful. It doesn't have to be that way, sister. It can be so much more.

*excluding the two about dating/making out with other people


  1. You hit the nail on the head, sista. Amen.

  2. Thanks for sharing! I married Ben when I was 20 years old and seriously have lived the best part of my life with him!!! I've been more successful and more accomplished then I think I would have been otherwise. Being loved and giving love makes you more capable of spreading your wings than otherwise, I think :-)

  3. My friend posted this on facebook, so I thought I would give it a read. I was surprised to see that you were the author--I used to be your vt in Provo. I'm glad to see you're doing so well. I loved reading what you had to say and I completely agree. Thanks for sharing! -Rachel