|The day we stopped laughing.|
I'm kind of late to the party. When you combine my tardiness with the notion that marrying young is like leaving the party at nine, well shoot, I am just the worst party invitee ever, am I not?
Although I'll confess something ... I've always liked leaving the party early. But that is beside the point.
When I first saw the blog post, "23 Things to Do Instead of Getting Engaged Before You're 23," I clicked on it right away as I normally do when I see posts of the sort. I don't read them to get angry. On the contrary, I normally read them for a chuckle because I have to admit that I find it amusing to see what a humdrum life most of society seems to think Chris and I live.
You know what. She was shockingly right. Since getting married, we have stopped traveling ... except for those trips to the Philippines, Scotland and Ireland. We stopped enjoying new experiences ... other than learning to ski (me) and road tripping to see the Grand Canyon. We are settled and old fashioned ... if you forget about our two moves. Yep, things have clearly gone downhill since we tied the knot.
So after a lighthearted chit chat with the old ball and chain and a week to mull the post and its response over, I have one thing to say to the author of the post.
Thank you for perpetuating the notion that young marriage is where you go to die.
It is because of people who think the way you do that I was fully ready to walk down the aisle at twenty-one years of age a mere three months after graduating from college and two months before I walked in the graduation ceremony.
That probably doesn't make sense. Read on, dear reader.
I've mentioned before that meeting my husband at eighteen and have two kids at twenty four was not what I saw in my future. It's not that I disliked the thought; I just didn't think it was possible, plus I felt a lot of pressure to make something of myself before "settling down."
Yet, meeting Chris was a dream come true no matter how early it was. It was and is unreal how perfect he is for me.
For the record, we weren't exactly rebellious trailblazers betting our whole life on love. By the time we were married, both of us had traveled extensively, graduated from college, we both had the same beliefs, Chris was gainfully employed and I was in a good position for employment opportunities.
Now I wish I could say getting engaged to him and the months after were a fairy tale, but they weren't. Far from it.
While the vast majority of our friends and family were positive, some people very close and very important to me were not happy at all about our decision. I was too young. I was throwing my life away. I needed prestige. My education was wasted. I needed to live for myself. There were fights and lots of them. I knew it came from love, but I was hurt and so was Chris. It was hard. I would see other people older than I was get engaged and everyone in their worlds would be ecstatic and helpful, yet I was supposed to feel shame.
So why was all of this good?
Opposition made me put my mouth where my ring was. It was an opportunity to live what I believe.
No, I was not getting married for the show of it, for the ring, the gorgeous dress and the honeymoon. Chris and I always planned to pay for the necessities of the church, the priest, the premarital counseling and the marriage license ourselves because we wanted to be able to be married no matter what.
No, I was not getting married for benefits. No, I was not getting married just to be able to live together. No, I was not getting married merely because it was the next step. No, I was not getting married just because we felt sooooooo in loooooove.
We were getting married to serve each other; it was not just a celebration of love or something to make us happy. We were getting married to receive the Sacrament of Matrimony. We wanted to receive that outward sign of grace leading us to Christ and to receive it til death do us part.
Marriage has not robbed me of my freedom. It has given me freedom from my self, my naturally selfish person. I am honored to serve my husband.
Has it been easy? No. Of course not. Marriage is inherently difficult no matter the age. I always have to put someone else first, and I am not wired that way.
But I love it. And I knew that it was going to be this difficult and this fulfilling because I had to defend myself against society's view that a selfless marriage is an institution to enter only after you have perfected yourself as a selfish being.
So to all of you that thought I was going to die once I vowed my life to Chris, thank you. Truly and sincerely, thank you. I wish you well. And you can alert the media because this blog post must be coming from the afterlife.