My Handsome and I just celebrated our eleventh wedding anniversary quietly at home. We were able to take a couple of days away with just our Baby C earlier in the week, and these involved lots of Scrabble while taking turns keeping her occupied. Tis life with a baby!
But on June 21, our actual anniversary, we just enjoyed a quiet day at home with our children. It was actually very nice.
Quiet often gives us a chance to reflect, and so I spent some time reflecting on the blessings of getting married at a young age. I’ve heard that getting married too young tends toward a higher divorce rate, and I’m not here to argue with statistics.
But I think that the benefits of getting married before the late 20s are being overshadowed by the many words of caution. I got married when I was 20, and eleven years later, I’m still glad that I got married young.
Why the Caution to Not Marry Young?
I understand the caution that is often expressed about getting married young. Immaturity, college debt, infatuation, and a loose grip on reality are very real reasons to delay marriage. Bills are real and really need to be paid. Lovey-dovey feelings come and go and are the shakiest foundations for a lasting relationship.
But do all people getting married in their very early 20s get married without really knowing the gravity of the commitment they are making? Of course not!
Why We Chose to Marry Young
Maybe my husband and I were in the minority. We probably were. But we went into marriage understanding that love is a choice and marriage takes work, and lots of it.
We had dated for almost five years by the time we got married. We had been upset with each other and worked through conflict. We knew many of the other’s weak spots. We were in college but had absolutely no debt thanks to multiple scholarships. We could even show on a spreadsheet how we would pay our bills.
Most importantly, we were committed to the Lord and were convinced that He was leading us in that direction. We also wanted to honor the Lord by saving intimacy for marriage. Continuing to date when it was completely feasible to be married seemed like an unnecessary challenge and waste of our youth.
So we dove in, he at 22 and myself at 20. And there have been no regrets.
We’ve Grown Up Together
Who ever stops growing? As people we constantly change and evolve, but by marrying young, we’ve been able to do that together.
Marriage has caused us to become more responsible. As young, married 20-somethings, we went from college students to parents to home owners and more. All before we turned 30.
Certainly there have been bumps in the road, but we’ve gone through them and grown because of them, and we’ve done it together. How much better was it to do it that way than to grow up into my 30s without him?
We’ve Grown as Christians
Marriage is an extremely sanctifying experience! I’ve had to learn to handle conflict more humbly with both my heart and my actions. Repentance has become a greater reality as we continue to learn to really apologize. Selfishness is constantly being chipped away as we work to put the other’s needs first.
Of course the Lord can work these things in our lives without marriage. But marriage has shown me just how proud and selfish my sinful flesh can be, and marriage has been a great reality check!
We’ve Experienced Financial Strain Together
There is nothing (nothing) like financial stress! I imagine a medical crisis would top it, but God has spared us of that.
About three years into our marriage, finances became a great stress in our life. That lasted for a good year or two, and I hated it. Though we never missed a major payment, I started to quickly feel how miserable it is to be on shaky financial ground.
We worked hard to correct some of the mistakes we made. We paid off debt and changed the way we thought about major purchases and finances in general. Though one of us still tends to be a spender and the other a saver, those very tight years helped to balance us both out and help us have a better perspective on money.
We’ve Been Blessed with Children as Young Adults
I realize that many wouldn’t consider this to be a benefit of early marriage, but we do!
Like marriage, parenting has caused us to grow up, be more responsible, and have a greater grasp of what is really of value in life.
And these little people are so fun! Of course we get tired with five children to care for, but that’s why we have a coffee pot. Seriously though, the giggles that ring through our house more than make up for the crying. These children have brought so much joy to our home and they are keeping us young.
We Share Many Memories Already
I love that my husband and I can think back to when I was 15, he was 17, and we first started dating. We reminisce on the changes the the Lord brought about in our relationship, saving us both on the same weekend when we were many hours apart.
Our wedding. Our first apartment. Our college graduations. His first job. Our first baby. Our first house. Starting a church. His master’s degree. The list of firsts and major events continues to grow, and we get to share them together.
As our list continues to grow, I can only image what we’ll have shared together many years down the road.
Please excuse the grainy pictures. If you’ve read Why I Don’t Regret Our Frugal Wedding, you’ll understand! And this was before the era of smart phone cameras. Stone Age, I think.