I never expected to get married as young as I did. I met my husband, Jordan, on a blind date when I was a 20-year-old college junior. I had no expectations going into that date, but he ended up being different from anyone I’d ever met before. We dated, we fell in love, and we got married in our early 20s.
It wasn’t as simple as it sounds. We dated for 3 1/2 years before we tied the knot. Marriage wasn’t something that we rushed into. We didn’t do it because all of our friends were doing it, or because I wanted a ring and a fancy wedding, or because we felt pressure from friends, or family, or society.
We did it because the feeling was right. The timing was right.
Jordan proposed in November, but three months prior, I wasn’t ready. In fact, I had a minor breakdown on the way home from my cousin’s bridal shower. I felt this intense pressure to get married — brought on by no one but myself — and I freaked out.
I talked to Jordan, shed some tears because I decided I wanted to “explore my options” (I briefly considered moving to Michigan to begin my career there), and we agreed that we wouldn’t get engaged until both of us were completely ready. Then, life just happened.
Between the two of us, we lost three grandparents within a span of seven months. I lost one of my grandpas in June, and two months later, I spent days in the hospital with Jordan watching him and his family go through the same thing I’d just gone through. One month later, his grandma passed away.
It was then, in September, in the middle of a crowded funeral home, on one of the saddest days of our lives, that I knew that I wanted to marry him. I knew that I wanted to *do* life with him. The good, the bad, the ugly.
It sounds so cliché, and despite the fact that it was not the most romantic place to make that realization, right then and there, I just knew.
Jordan is my best friend, and I love him more than words can describe. I love having a partner in life, and I think that marriage is wonderful. But it’s also hard work.
There seems to be a lot of controversy about marriage in social media these days. Should you get married young, should you wait until your older, should you wait forever? I’m not sure why it has to be so complicated (because if you listen to your heart, and your gut, it’s not). With marriage being as big of a commitment as it is, you really have to be ready for it before you take the leap. You have to be in the right place in your life, and you have to meet the right person. Sometimes that happens later in life, and that’s okay. Age is just a number.
So, if you’re not quite ready, fulfill that bucket list before you get engaged. Graduate college if you want to. Travel the world if you feel like it. Live your life to the fullest and figure out who you are as an individual, if you can. Don’t settle.
And once you meet that special person, don’t rush into marriage for superficial reasons. When you’re truly ready, you’ll know.
But I must say — during that time of exploration and period of growing up, keep yourself open to love.
I never expected to fall in love at 20 and get married at 23. Like the saying goes, it usually happens when you least expect it.
Marriage is life-changing with difficult days, but in the past one and a half years, I’ve taken risks, stepped out of my comfort zone, and grown as a person more times than I had in my 23 years prior.
When you get married, you’re not giving up your life. You’re sharing it.
When you’re ready, it’s one of the best things that you’ll ever do.