In an age where individualism is glorified, where the only place we seem to see young marriages occurring is on 19 Kids and Counting, there are a lot of misconceptions about what being a young, married couple looks like. My husband and I got married at 22, and here are a few of the assumptions we’ve realized people commonly hold.
1. You shouldn’t get married unless you’re perfect on your own.
Barring the possibility that you’re some sort of alien mutant, I can promise you this isn’t true – not of any couple. Ever. No matter your age. It’s not true of my husband and I. We’re two super messy people who really, really like each other and our messiness, and we like being messy together, rather than on our own. It’s not that we don’t have issues, it’s that he makes me better and I make him better. Imperfection is beautiful. It’s reassuring. It’s glorious. It’s human.
2. You will lose yourself as an individual.
We’ve all known couples who lose themselves in their relationships – it happens. Your significant other should (hopefully) be a priority for you, you should also be a priority for you. Losing yourself is not inevitable.
Carve out time for yourself to do your own thing. Remember who you are. You are who your S/O fell in love with and you are the person you’ve spent your whole life with. Self-love and self-care are important. When you like yourself, it’s contagious; vitality is catching. When you’re happy, the one you love will notice and be happier too. This does nothing but lead to an energized relationship. (Promise.)
3. Marriage is boring, you shouldn’t settle for it too soon.
Similarly: “you’ll both become boring and then get bored with each other” (here I shall refer you to my previous point – you don’t have to be boring, you awesome person, you.) The real issue here is that people assume the mystery is gone, and there’s nothing new you’ll discover once you begin to share every aspect of your life.
People think you’ll get stuck in routines: the early morning rush out the door, watching Netflix on the couch ’til one or both of you pass out, etc. There’s this fear that you will suddenly go from playing footsy under the table and sending flirty texts to sitting at opposite ends of the table and writing honey-do lists. It’s not true! Marriage is an adventure that coexists with your own.
4. You’ll spend the first year fighting.
The reason this misconception is so prevalent is because it’s so easy for it to be true. Merging two lives together isn’t easy, it’s not supposed to be. Whether you’ve lived together before or not, the oneness of marriage brings out a whole new level of crazy. Something about the word, the institution, and just the fact of marriage makes everything a bigger deal than it was before – most people just assume the first year of marriage will be hell, and understandably so. My husband and I have had some rough times already in our first months of marriage, but it hasn’t been hell.
5. You’ll be missing out on a world of options out there; you’re too young to really know what you want yet.
You’re at an age where you’re changing the most. You don’t even know fully who you are just yet, so how could you know what — or more importantly, who — you want? The former part of that argument would only apply if you’re the kind of person who wants to still be exploring what’s out there (and that’s a fine reason to stay single); the latter only applies if there’s a particular age where you can point to where anyone would know exactly what they want.
We will spend the rest of our lives changing and morphing — that’s what makes it interesting, that’s what makes us interesting. I’m stoked I get to keep learning the intricacies of my husband as he changes through the years. It’s weird and exciting. It’s no better or worse than the ‘other options.’
6. Your whole relationship must be based on the physical, you’re incapable of genuine depth at this age.
This one is pretty prevalent in more conservative circles. We both grew up in the church, and a lot of times when couples get married super fast, people assume they just couldn’t wait any longer to “do it.” (Thats literally what they say. They won’t even say the word.) Sex is a beautiful and incredible part of our relationship, obviously, but it was in no way the reason we got married so young.
7. Intimacy dies after you tie the knot.
No more spark, huh? That’s what you think? (Wrong! Definitely wrong!) I can’t explain it, really, but something about the fact that he is mine and I am his is absolutely intoxicating. The fact that I’m the only one who gets to know him intimately is breathtaking. The fact that he knows every part of me, every fear and joy, like and dislike, and that he pursues me and only me… it’s just devastatingly romantic and sexy. Marriage intensifies the intimacy. If you feed it, if you pursue each other, if you refuse to let it fizzle, all it can possibly do is grow.
9. You’ll lose all your friends.
When you get married, I hope you and your spouse either already are or will very quickly become best friends. I’m so lucky my best friend in the universe is the guy I wake up with every morning. So you may spend less time with others just because doing everything with your bestie is the best!
That being said though, being together has meant our pool of friends has grown. On top of that little perk, we still have our individual friends, of course. I still need my girls and he still needs his dudes. We know that, we allow each other to have that.
10. Because you’re young and clueless, your relationship will ultimately end in divorce, no doubt.
I don’t have a ton of evidence with which to back up this rebuttal, but this is what I do have: confidence. Most marriages end in divorce because marriage is sort of a joke to our generation (and apparently the generations before ours, too.) People don’t take it seriously enough. People enter marriage as if it’s no different than a dating relationship except for the insurance benefits. But it’s supposed to be different: it’s supposed to be the biggest commitment you ever make.
Most people go at marriage thinking that once it no longer suits them, for whatever reason, you can “break up.” There’s no backing out for us. No more break-ups possible. We are in this for the long haul. It’s okay if that’s not something you’re comfortable with; it’s not for everyone; marriage isn’t for everyone. But I do believe that this kind of unconditional love and commitment is what it takes to make a marriage work.
No one will put their whole heart into something they think they can just leave at any given moment.
11. You must have been pregnant (or really wanted a baby like, ASAP).
How shall I say this? Um, HELL NO.
12. You’ll lose your spontaneity, date nights will become a thing of the past. You’ll turn into one of those ‘old married couples’ long before you should.
To speak to my own experience: In the past three months alone we’ve been on last minute road trips to New York three times, went to Philly for a secret show where we weren’t even sure if the band we hoped was playing would actually be playing (spoiler alert: they WERE), went out to our favorite bar at midnight on a Sunday even though we both had work in the morning (just to be together out of the house), went for walks… the list could go on and on.
13. You’ll lose the butterflies.
I still get goosebumps when he says my name. My pulse gets faster when he calls me in the middle of the day. I can’t wait to get home and into his arms. His kisses leave me breathless… you get the idea.
14. You’re too young to know each other well enough yet.
Okay, well. We met four years ago. We were best friends for a year and a half before dating. We dated for a year and a half before getting engaged. We were engaged for almost a year. I don’t know how one would go about determining what “knowing each other well enough” would even look like, but I’m pretty sure that this assertion falls flat. Even if we didn’t know each other well enough, why should that matter to you?
15. Marriage is glamorous… or rather, it should be.
Most of marriage is the nitty gritty, and that’s the best part, in my book. It’s about waking up with no makeup on, and my husband still thinking I’m the most beautiful person he’s ever seen. It’s forgetting to shower for a few days in a row but still loving the natural scent of his skin. It’s doing dishes and farting and burping and taking out the trash and eating frozen dinners sometimes. But the best thing ever is being so comfortable with someone else that these little things become your favorite slices of time. Intimacy is incredibly freeing when it’s with the one you love.
16. If it’s not easy, it’s not right.
Although your Facebook feed full of smiling faces and shiny rings might appear to suggest otherwise, marriage isn’t a walk in the park like so many couples make it seem. It isn’t all perfect Instagram photos at the beach and candlelit dinners on the floor of your new apartment (which, okay, we’ve done both of those things, but the point is that marriage is NOT an endless string of perfect moments.)
Marriage is having fights and arguments, but learning how to argue better and more lovingly. It’s figuring out your budget. It’s knowing hard times will come, but being committed to loving each other and working through everything, no matter what.
17. Marriage is hard, and that’s why you should put it off for as long as you can.
Well yes, it takes work… but that doesn’t mean it’s the miserable kind of hard, or that you should sacrifice the wonderful things out of fear. It’s the agonizing, slow burn of your muscles growing when you exercise. It’s the satisfaction of being able to step back and look at a project you have pored over for so long. Marriage is hard in the sense that it takes commitment of the most strenuous sort and self sacrifice on every level. The most beautiful things usually take the most time, effort, and work.