When You Marry Young
When you marry young, you receive all kinds of advice. Some of it from those who are happy in their marriage … and some from those who are bitter. You are told congratulations and best wishes and also be sure to talk to each other, don’t go to bed angry, and you’re awfully young, are you sure you know what you’re jumping into?
The answer, with respect to marriage, is you never know what you’re jumping into.
But you know that you’re taking the leap together, and that is all you need for this world of chaos and confusion to make sense.
When you marry young, you talk of the future – the big, wonderful future. The one that has a house and kids and jobs and trips to lovely places and really, the grandest of plans. As you venture off into that future, hand in hand, you stumble across all kinds of things that did not factor into the grand plan. Things that are toilsome and hard and sometimes just annoying and maybe feel like time-wasters. But as these things slip from the future into the past, you look over your shoulder and see the partnership, the humor, the determination you shared. Water leaks, broken air conditioners, flat tires, lost keys, sooty furnaces, ice cream that someone put in the refrigerator instead of the freezer. Bills, repairs, endless laundry, rearranging furniture in every possible configuration until it ends up in the exact same spot. Sometimes you get frustrated or frazzled but mostly you sit back together and laugh.
When you marry young, you see all the happiness that awaits. You don’t see the sadness that can and will come. As the years grow, you share the saddest and hardest tasks of saying good-bye to those you love. Your tears soak each others shirts and you hug until your arms are tired. You face each other, red-eyed and drained, and whisper, Thank God for you.
When you marry young, you are not quite you yet. As you grow up, you grow closer. Roots spread and wrap and fuse until a network forms that is so solid, so complex, nothing can shake the foundation.
When you marry young, you choose each other on your wedding day. And the next day. And every day after that.
When you marry young, you believe you could not possibly love someone more than you do right now. As time flows by, your definition of love expands until you understand that its very nature is dynamic, growing in small measures and huge bounds.
When you marry young, you live a million lifetimes before you are old. You see wonders. You celebrate holidays. You act like goofballs in public just to make each other smile. You support each other in new and often crazy interests, which may mean sweating buckets or standing in the freezing cold. You make questionable fashion choices and laugh off bad haircuts. You pack lunches, you take out the garbage, you pick up the shoes before the dog chews them. You talk in silly voices, you sing at the very top of your lungs, you have ridiculous inside jokes. You argue about stupid things, you forgive.
When you marry young, you thank God that you met each other when you did. That you have been the luckiest people in the world to love each other for this long and still have so much of life left to share together.
Now, go back over everything you just read and take out the word ‘young.’ It is all true regardless of what age you marry if you are willing to choose each other today, tomorrow and always.
I am so very grateful that eleven years ago, at the ripe old age of twenty-one, Andrew and I chose each other. Through long days and short years, we have loved each other and the crazy beautiful impossible thing is that our love grows stronger every.single.day.
Happy Anniversary, Andrew. Thank you for this beautiful story we are writing together.