This past June was a life changing month for me. I graduated high school, ending my 12 year streak in Catholic schools as I head off to a non-Catholic college, and I got engaged. I know what you’re thinking, that I’m right out of high school and being engaged at 18-years-old is too young. Trust me, I’ve heard it all, but before you form an opinion, hear me out first.
My fiancé and I met my Junior year of high school. We began dating in April of 2013, and fell in love. In January, he left for boot camp to become a Marine. While he was at boot camp the only form of communication we had were written letters sent via snail mail. “Oh that must be so romantic!” No, it’s really not, especially on days when you didn’t get a letter. My fiancé got sick while he was at boot camp, so instead of being there for three months, he was there for four.
In May I finally saw him, again and had him home for ten wonderful days until he reported back for more training four days before my Senior Prom, which really sucked. Going through your senior year of high school without your boyfriend is definitely on the list of worst things a teenage girl can go through. Other than missing my prom, he missed my school’s Spirit Night which I was head captain of, my graduation, and my final dance recital. You have never experienced loneliness until the person you love is gone for a long amount of time and cannot experience your accomplishments with you.
My fiancé is in the Reserves, so he will be coming home when he finishes his training and he will be going away to a college that is an hour away from where I will be going. At the end of June he was granted three days of leave to come home, and didn’t tell me until two days before he would be here. I was absolutely ecstatic. My friends drove me to the airport to pick him up and dropped us off at his house. While at his house we spent time catching up and talking about all the things that have happened since we were last together. He played our song and asked me to dance, then dropped to one knee and asked me to marry him. With tears in my eyes, I said yes.
Since we are both going away to school, we plan on a long engagement and intend on getting married when we finish school. While he was away he talked to our families, shared his intentions and received blessings from both sides. But suddenly it seems as though their opinions have changed, and they are trying to talk me out of something that makes me happy. My family thinks that being engaged at 18 years old is not normal, and that a long engagement is stupid. Yes, there isn’t anyone else I know who is my age and engaged, but I have five reasons why I don’t agree with their arguments.
1. Same Age
When my family members were my age, they were all engaged and planning their weddings. The only difference from then and now is the sole fact that 25 years ago, you could walk out of high school and obtain a full time job that you could keep for the rest of your life. Whereas today, a high school diploma holds the same value as a penny. It is nearly impossible to get a full time job without a college degree.
2. We Are WAITING to Get Married
There are several reasons why my fiancé and I have decided to have a long engagement. One main reason is the distances between our colleges would make it impossible to live together as husband and wife and continue our education. Another reason is that we want to start saving our money for our wedding so it can be everything we want it to be. We are saving money for some place to live when we finish our schooling. We’re not just running over to the courthouse and getting married like everyone seems to think we are. It’s better to start saving five years in advance rather than trying to find the money to pay for a wedding the year before.
3. We Really Are in Love
A lot of my family thinks that this is just young love and that my fiancé and I will never last, but they are wrong. After going through all of this year without him has only made us appreciate each other and our relationship more. This year was the biggest obstacle we have ever endured as a couple, and we got through it. Sure, we have had our ups and downs and our fair share of fights but we got through it and came out stronger in the end. We both know that we can handle whatever else comes out way. My family doesn’t understand it, but you can only understand what it’s like if you go through it. Besides, if things do not work out between the two of us, we can call off an engagement and a relationship easier than getting a divorce. Not that this will happen though.
4. It’s A Big Life Decision
This is my favorite one.
“It’s not ‘normal’ for an 18-year-old to be engaged. It’s not normal to know who you want to be with for the rest of your life because being 18 is just too young to really know who that person is.”
That’s what my family believes. At 18, you’re not old enough to be engaged and plan the rest of your life with someone, but at 18, you’re old enough to know what career you want for the rest of your life. Going to college and deciding on a major is a big decision in your life. If you decide to change majors, you could end up in school for an extra semester or two. So why is it socially acceptable to plan your career at 18, but not your life and who you want to be with?
5. I’m a Good Kid
Being a Catholic School student for majority of my life has pretty much brainwashed me. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I haven’t done anything bad in my life. Unlike most kids my age, I don’t underage drink, I have never done drugs, and I’m not pregnant. I don’t go to wild parties like they show on MTV and drink until I can’t stand straight and sleep with the first person I see. I’m just a girl with a strong head on her shoulders who knows what she wants with her life and who she wants to be in it. What’s so wrong with that?
I have come to the conclusion that not everyone is going to support me. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, my family included, but you can either support me or not. I know what’s best for me, and what’s best for me may not be what’s best for someone else my age. I have chosen that I’m going to do what makes me happy, not what makes everyone else happy, and if what makes me happy isn’t good enough for anyone, this is my life, not theirs. What makes me happy is the man that I’m engaged to, who’s in it with me for the long haul and supports me completely.