The longer I live, the more I’ve come to realize that most people just don’t think logically & that is why I constantly feel like most people make life way more complicated than it needs to be. There is nothing about which this is truer than marriage (or relationships in general). Moreover, our society seems to have swung a bit too far on the pendulum & now often views young marriages as destined to fail. While I strongly believe in not rushing into marriage, I for one know that I haven’t missed out on a single thing worth having due to getting married at “just” 22. Often I hear people say “But your 20s are supposed to be for fun!” And I’ve only read a million articles on the same subject. The implied “truth” here is that marriage & fun are mutually exclusive. I for one take real issue with such comments. My blog isn’t mean to be a research paper so I won’t bother to list my references here, but many research studies have shown that married people have more sex & are happier than their single counterparts, regardless of age (you can use Google too if you want to find these studies).
So today I just want to put together a list of reasons why getting married (relatively) young was perhaps the greatest choice of my life. (For the purposes of this post, when I refer to marriage I really mean any long-term serious relationship because at the end of the day that’s all marriage really is.)
- Because we got married young, my husband & I have quite literally grown up together. Yes, we are the proverbial “high school sweethearts.” And despite what some may think, we haven’t just stayed together because we didn’t know what anything else was like or that something else (read: someone else) could potentially be better. We’ve stayed together because we consciously realize that we both got INCREDIBLY lucky in “striking gold” the first time around. Because of how long we’ve been together, we have a comfort level with each other that is probably a bit ridiculous, but we tell each other all the time how grateful we are that we have a partner with whom we can be so incredibly honest, even when it means telling the other person something they might not want to hear.
- Getting married does NOT mean an end to fun. Anyone who says that is clearly married to the wrong person. In college before we were married but were seriously dating & might as well have been married, we went to parties together, hosted parties together, & went on all kinds of crazy hikes in the wilderness every chance we got. Getting married has just meant that my husband & I have continued to experience the fun of life together. We still get to travel & explore the world the way that 20-somethings “ought” to do. This past Fall we had the time of our lives exploring Yellowstone, Glacier, & Grand Teton National Parks together. Then we went to Boston for a friend’s wedding & explored that fascinating city together. In September 2012 we attended Uproar Festival together, & this coming May we are going to another rock festival in Charlotte. These are just a few examples of the fun we’ve had together over the years.
- Married sex is the best sex. Anyone who says differently is obviously married to the wrong person. End of story. Think about it scientifically: having sex causes both genders to produce oxytocin, otherwise known as the “love hormone.” This is the hormone that makes you feel connected (both literally & metaphorically) with your lover. Who better to share that with than your best friend? Who better to be adventurous with than the one person you know won’t make fun of you or laugh at your interests? (Aside from the obvious concerns about pregnancy & STIs, oxytocin & the feelings it produces are exactly why we ought to be so careful about who we choose to sleep with. It’s clearly not a good idea to end up having feelings of desire & attachment for someone JUST because you’ve slept together. This is why friends with benefits is pretty much always a recipe for disaster.) Just to be clear, I think all of this can & does apply to people in long-term committed relationships who for one reason or another aren’t married yet or perhaps never even plan to actually get married but more or less live a “married” lifestyle. There is really nothing all that special about getting married legally. It’s the love, friendship, trust, & commitment that is in your hearts that matters most. And that is exactly what makes married sex the best.
- Getting married young means we have not had to rush into having kids. Since we got married at 22 & 23 years of age respectively we could easily wait 8-10 years before having kids without having any serious concerns about fertility problems. To be fair, at the time we got married I was reasonably sure I never wanted children, even though my husband was sure I’d change my mind someday. As it turns out, he was right, & the truth is I’m thinking more & more about becoming a mom with every day that passes. If we do decide to have kids soon, even though we may still be “young” parents, we’ll have already had over a decade together & a good 4-5 years of marriage before jumping into the parenthood adventure. I’ve also started to realize that I have the rest of my life to work on my career, but I do NOT have the rest of my life to have kids . . . But that is another post for another day.
- Getting married young means we have missed out on the heartaches & tribulations that come with the supposedly fun single lifestyle. Maybe some people actually enjoy one-night stands, but even my husband will freely admit that it’s not something that interests him in the least. And trust me, my husband isn’t the kind of man to say such things just to appease me. If he were that kind of man, I wouldn’t have married him! I do not begrudge others who enjoy the “single lifestyle” in their 20s (or whenever), but I truly believe marriage is more fulfilling & worthwhile in the end. AND more fun. I mean what could be more fun than getting to experience all the ups & downs of life with your best friend AND being able to have sex with them any time you like?
Just to be clear, I do not feel sorry for my peers who are in their 20s (or even 30s) & aren’t married. Everyone’s path in life is (& should be) different, & far be it from me to think my own path is superior just because I chose it. HOWEVER, please don’t feel sorry for me because I’ve chosen to spend my 20s as “an old married lady.” If you think my life is boring, that is fine. Maybe it is. But I am having a ton of fun living it.