Marriage is hard, they say. Marriage is lots of work, they say. Your marriage is doomed to fail if you marry young, if you have kids too soon, if you aren’t established in your career, they say.
I suppose we’ve beat the odds.
Tomorrow marks 11 years of marriage.
11 amazing, awesome, wonderful, mindblowingly packed years.
According to the experts, we did all the wrong things–we dated for a week & half, we were engaged for 5 weeks, we got married in our early twenties. We weren’t done with school, we had no established careers. We were broke.
But we loved each other.
As in, we wanted to be with each other every day, from that point on, for the rest of our lives, & well, forever.
So we got married.
How could we know such a thing while still so young, inexperienced?
Because love isn’t a calculation of accomplishments, credentials, & experiences.
Joseph & I grew up in the same small town.
I knew his family, he knew mine. We went to the same church. Our siblings were friends with each other. But because of our age difference (he’s two years older), we never really talked when we were teenagers. Once we finally had a real conversation (the summer we married), it was as if–get ready for the cliche–we’d known each other our whole lives. From that moment onwards, we both just wanted to be together.
When we dated, our dates consisted of going on walks or going to a park & talking (for hours), or spending time with my family. I felt like I was coming home when I was with him & the feeling was mutual.
Last week I listened to this podcast episode from Tom Ashbrook’s OnPoint, about how the dating demographic is shifting & how technology is playing major a role in the changing landscape for dating & mating.
I listened in fascination. I mean, I did have a period of dating years (really, only about 5, & 2 of those didn’t matter much because I was still in high school), but it seems so long ago & so very different from what is going on now.
So, to hear about women who are older than me now, talk about their discouragement in not being able to find a “good guy” (ie. someone with the same education level & career/family aspirations), is well, a little depressing. “NO, no, no!” I wanted to shout into my ipod. A lot of single people are going about it all wrong. Instead of love, they’re looking for a curated resume, a sort of made-to-order husband/partner. And folks, that is just not what love is about.
I still pinch myself that I married Joseph.
He is a catch in every sense–he is a hands on dad, he loves me & the kids through words, affection, & through a lot of hard work & sacrifice to support our household financially. He is very much a modern dad in that he cooks, cleans, changes diapers, engages/plays with kids.
I wonder though.
I sometimes think that our marriage has been this amazing blessing & journey because both Joseph & I share the same world perspective. We’re both optimistic people. We know how to work hard. We know how to sacrifice now for something better later (8 years of undergrad & law school!). We have very, very similar sense of humors.
I hesitate sharing about our marriage because, it’s hard not do so without sounding braggy.
I have no idea why I was so lucky to meet my soulmate & have the blessing of being able to create a family & life with him. I am being truly honest when I say Joseph & I have never been in a shouting match & it’s been years since we’ve gotten into anything that resembles a fight.
I think one of the perks to being married to an attorney is that he likes to talk, he likes to discuss things. We’re both reasonable people & we both know that as long as we keep our constant communication going, we’ll be good.
COMMUNICATION IS KEY to an awesome marriage. If you can’t or won’t talk to your spouse about anything & everything, you’ll be headed for a lot of grief. I absolutely know this is true.
We’ve had our hard conversations, to be sure.
We’ve had periods of life we’re I’m constantly tired & sick (try 5 pregnancies!).
We’ve had to navigate the world of unemployment, getting into law schools, going to law school, then taking the bar (twice!).
We’ve experienced the chaos of moving, & then moving again (hello military life!). The stresses of raising young children, of not having money, of hoping & praying for jobs & financial security. We’ve done this all together.
I know the trend is for people to get married in their late 20’s or early-mid 30’s now. I realize people want to make sure they have their career established, travel, check off the 50 things on their bucket list. But, dare I even suggest this…why not do all this stuff with your spouse?
I know that mine & Joseph’s marriage is stronger, better, & more able to withstand hardship because we spent so much of our early years working together on really hard stuff. But it didn’t feel so hard, or so bad, because we had each other. We had to learn how to communicate, to give, to sacrifice. All the ups & downs of life in your twenties was buffered because we had each other to lean on.
I’m sad for those people who are intentionally putting off marriage because they want to “live life & get established” before “settling down.” So many awesome opportunities for growing together can be lost with this mindset.
Here’s to 11 years, babe. I chose you, I choose you. Love you x inifinity.
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