I'm so glad I didn't listen to the numerous people who warmed me against getting married so young. "Wait until your thirties to settle down," they said, "People don't really know what they want out of life when they're so young." Or "Go live somewhere fun for a few years, then come back and settle down." Or my favorite, "Most people who get married young end up divorced." Personally, I kind of thought it was sad that so many people had such a poor view of marriage, or they thought that just because someone is young means they don't really know what they want out of life.
Being from Arkansas, it's really no big deal to get married at 21 like I did. But when you move to more "sophisticated" places like San Francisco or NYC, where people often wait until their mid to late thirties to settle down, and you tell people that tiny little fact about yourself, they will no doubt look at you like you just stepped off a Martian spaceship and have four googly eyes. They immediately assume that either you are (a) completely uneducated or (b) from the boonies (or both!).
But, really, what is one supposed to do when you meet the love of your life so young? Say to them, "I love you, but not enough to marry you because I've got some better things to do first." On the contrary! How blessed I feel that I did meet my match early on! Think of all the adventures we've gotten to experience together. Living in exciting places, traveling to even more fun places; sharing the hardships of starting out in the professional world, and relishing the joys of having children at a young age. I look back at photos from our first year of marriage and we really do look like children playing house - we thought we were so mature! What little did we know then, but how much we have learned together since!
Sure, my life probably would have been a little easier if I hadn't married young. I probably would look a little younger and fresher. (I laughed so hard when Maggie's therapist looked at our wedding photo and said "wow- Justin looks just the same!"). But it's true, we've had our fair share of trials, and it undoubtedly shows. But would I give it all back for a few more years of "freedom"? Absolutely not!
So I guess that's why I kind of roll my eyes when I hear celebrities tell us that they didn't "know" or "find" themselves until they were in their thirties or forties. As if to say, all of you in your twenties don't know squat. I guess I won't know until I'm actually in my thirties (in two months!). But I kind of feel like I know myself right now: I am a child of God, first and foremost. A wife. A mother. A caretaker. A pseudo -nurse. A pseudo-therapist. A friend. A sister. A daughter. A woman with purpose. With hope. With dignity. With gratitude.
So eight years after our wedding, I thank my dear husband for marrying me so young, for taking care of me when I didn't know how to take care of myself, for leading our family on many adventures, some expected, but most unexpected - all of which have helped shape the person I am today. My life is certainly not what I thought it would be, but I gladly claim it because I have you to share it all with...
"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity." 1 Timothy 4:12