Monday, January 6, 2014

Marrying young has advantages

I never thought I'd marry young, or have this many kids. But life has taken many scenic tours for us, despite what I call our Grand Plans of Marvelous Theory. Here we are, 2 decades together, still running headlong into the cloud of insanity that is our life.

A cousin who is 4 months older than our freshly minted Marine son, got married in May 2013. The same year in December, a friend's daughter who is about the same age got married. And no, neither one was a shotgun wedding. Of course, that has been the assumption and accusation, however unfair and inaccurate it might be.

Colin over at Catholic Husband shared a blog on his Crackbook wall that has me saying a whole-hearted AMEN. In the time of most marriages failing, regardless of the age of the spouses in the beginning of the marriage, there seems to be a resurgence of marrying young instead of waiting till mid-life crisis leers in the wings. And yes, a lot of young marriages HAVE crumbled. But not all of them do. In fact, some of the stronger marriages I've seen (and lived) are those initiated at a tender age.

Here, let me just copy what was posted on Early Mama as written by Gemma Hartley.

So here are 7 reasons I love my young marriage:
We Get To Grow Up Together
There’s certainly something to be said for “finding yourself” before settling down. But I think there’s something equally, if not more wonderfully, beneficial about growing up alongside your husband. Getting to experience such a vast majority of your life together — to grow as individuals side-by-side — is utterly amazing.
I’ve been able to watch my husband transform from the long-haired, baby-faced teenager I used to make-out with at house parties into a hardworking, loving husband and father. Living through that sort of transformation can deepen your respect and strengthen your bond. (Not to mention you'll probably have some epic stories to tell your kids.)
We're More Flexible
In the same way young motherhood has the advantage of flexibility, so does young marriage. We didn't have enough time to get set in our ways, so we've been more open to compromise. Because we got married in our early 20s, we were still figuring out how to "live like grown ups" — which wasn't only easier to do together, but more fun. The thrill of upgrading from a folding card table to a real-deal wood dining table is so much better when you have someone to share the experience with.
We Know the Statistics
Trust me, no one is more aware of the grim statistics surrounding young marriage than people who get married young. Relatives, friends, acquaintances and even complete strangers seem oddly eager to tell us how our relationship is doomed – how we’re na├»ve to think it could ever work, because just look at the facts! And yes, we know there are plenty of people shaking their heads behind our backs as well.
But you know what? Being aware of the statistics just makes us more determined to beat the odds. I think we are more willing to do the work to make our marriage successful because we know there are people out there waiting for us to fail — and we want to prove them wrong. I think we know better than most that problems will arise, and I believe knowing that makes us more apt to rise to those inevitable challenges.
Easier Parenting Transition
The transition into parenthood is never easy, but I do believe young marriages have a major advantage here. When you’re used to crazy schedules and not having lots of extra “me” money or nice vacations, becoming parents is not such a huge lifestyle adjustment. I think young couples are more prepared to roll with the punches, and that goes a long way in parenting.
Accomplishing Milestones Together
Of course most couples get to go through the major milestone of becoming parents together. Young couples, however, get to experience all sorts of amazing milestones side-by-side. Graduating high school or college, moving into your first crappy off-campus apartment, landing that first big job, saving up for your first grown-up car – these are awesome experiences my husband and I get to share in addition to becoming parents.
No Wedding-Fever Pressure
When my husband and I got married, we were definitely the first among our friends. Now we’re going to a lot more weddings, have a lot more married friends, and feel a lot more “normal.” In a few more years, we’ll become the majority and our unmarried friends might begin feeling the pressure to settle down – whether they’re ready or not.
In Meg Ray’s TED talk "Why 30 is not the new 20," she describes the enormous pressure that comes when everyone around you seems to suddenly marry at once. She describes the story often sounding like, “Dating in my twenties was like musical chairs, everybody was running around and having fun. But then sometime around 30 it was like the music turned off and everybody started sitting down. I didn’t want to be the only one left standing up.”
Marrying young has left that pressure off my plate completely, and even though I don’t think about it often, it is a huge relief.
A Great Romance
Great love stories can happen at any age. But the wild and passionate romance of a young relationship is a force to be reckoned with. We made-out in the backs of cars and held hands under the lunch table and stayed up all night day-dreaming and kissed beneath the Reno Arch at midnight to ring in a new year. We’ve done things too inappropriate to write out for the world to see, because we know what it is to be young and in love.
Young marriages get to run the whole course from young and stupid to old and wise. It’s a beautiful journey to make together, and one I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Yes, all of this fits us. Yes, we have endured some things that would have toppled anybody else's marriage. And yes, there are days at least one of us has wanted to punt the spouse to the curb with Wednesday's trash pickup. But the difference was that we were doggedly determined to prove those naysayers wrong, and make them eat their own words. Plus, in our case, the romance is still alive. That is documented by the ages of our five children - 20, 19, 11, 4, and the newest sprog born a few weeks ago.
Wedding pressure? Yes, we skipped that in spades. We eloped, and didn't keep contact with most of the peers. Between the 2 of us, less than a handful of the friendships we had as kids survived into adulthood. We felt no pressure in that regard what so ever.
Milestones? WHOOOOboy do we ever have a litany of those.
Parenting? We did this whole thing backwards, and got married after having 2 kids together.
Yes, we know the statistics, but we ignore them in favor of diving into what happens in our own household, not that of the millions of others with problems. It's none of my business really. I have enough on my plate, that I don't need to go LOOKING for problems that aren't mine to solve.
Flexibility? Yea, I learned a lot of that while Devildog was serving in the Marine Corps. We've got that covered, and SOOOO much more.
Growing up together? We did that with our kids too. And to tell the truth, we are still just big kids with big responsibilities. Our bodies tell a different story, but our hearts, minds, and souls decry the body's complaints. We are still young at heart, and that will serve us well when our children finally all fly the nest. We still have a lot of living to do together.


don't need a name said...

If I wasn't depressed before, I am now. Glad for you though.

Feisty Irish Wench said...

I'm sorry to be an additional source of depression for you. I haven't been in shoes like yours, but 3 of my siblings have. It is incredibly difficult to witness a person grappling with the assault depression unleashes, knowing that anything you say or do drives the stake deeper. I realize my response is of little or no consolatio, but I have a respect for the challenges you face.