The other day I mentioned Max and I got married at age 20.
And then I got a bunch of curious e-mails.
I understand the curiosity. 20 is, after all, quite young for a non-religious, non-shotgun wedding (well, marriage; there was no actual ceremony) in the U.S.
A lot of people pass silent (and, less frequently, not-so-silent) judgment on our young marriage, but unless you have been in one, you really can't know what it's like.
|Oh, the enigma. ;-)|
That beautiful happy couple next to us is a "normal aged" couple consisting of my late cousin Eric and his gorgeous fiance
Not all young married couples are the same. We often get lumped together but there are many 'types' of young marrieds: couples who marry their high school sweethearts; couples who marry young for religious reasons; couples who marry to have a baby at their personal ideal time; couples who marry because one or both spouses are going to deploy/be stationed overseas; couples who marry to avoid deportment; shotgun weddings; young people who marry because it feels right - and there are many, many, many more.
None of these reasons sound much different from the reasons that older couples get married, and yet there is a lot of controversy surrounding young marriage.
Part of the reason may be the formative years' occurrence in the late teens and early twenties. I personally remember being told that an individual's personality is not completely solidified until the age of 22 or 23, and I can certainly vouch for this.
I am a completely different person today than I was when I met Max. If I met myself on the street, I don't think I'd recognize me. Max has also undergone a revolution and if New Sable met Old Max - or vice versa - who knows how the story would have ended?
Luckily, though, we are evolving together.
I don't know about you, but I have been led to believe that the especially turbulent period of change between age 20 and 22-23 is a major cause of divorce in young marriage, and break-up in unwed couples. That very well may be true, but in the case of my marriage, sharing this time together has allowed us to grow and change together.
I have adopted some of Max's best attributes, and have been partially shaped by his personality, and he has attained some of my best traits and aspects of my personality. We both still retain our independence as well as some bad habits and quirks, of course; we're only human, but we have doubtlessly grown closer and reinforced our bond throughout these formative years.
So, my advice for anyone getting married young?
1. Expect to make mistakes. Many, many mistakes.
2. Expect your new spouse to make many, many mistakes too. Mistakes you never thought they would make.
3. Forgive. There's no sense carrying around the burden of anger, of dissatisfaction, of frustration. Communicate ... and forgive.
You will figure out the rest. Trust me.
Have you ever completed a life milestone earlier or later than the social norm?