I am not pregnant. I am not broke. I am not in trouble. I do not have a complex. I am not stuck in a small backwater town. I am not lost and looking for an escape.
Now that you know what I am not, how about I tell you what I am.
I am a feminist. I am a modern woman. I am intelligent and ambitious. I am in the process of traveling the world; working and learning at the same time. I am 20 years old. I am utterly and completely in love, and I am married.
It is generally assumed that for a modern woman to be married, she has to be an anti-feminist, possess antiquated beliefs, or be in trouble. I, at one point, joined the masses that believed these assumptions. An engagement ring cladded girl, looking old enough to be my big sister, would stroll by and I would spitefully spit out some statement about probably being pregnant, or something including the word “bimbo”. It was only until recently that I met the right man, fell madly and completely (but logically) in love, and finally saw what was so special about marrying young. My views have made a complete 180 and here is what I have learned:
1. Marriage should always encourage and never restrict.
Some people have asked, “But don’t you have plans for the future?” Yes. Yes, I do. I have gained a husband, not lost a vital organ or body part. Marriage does not mean that my identity and life goals have been stripped away and replaced with dreams to be a stay at home mom. I am lucky enough to have a husband that not only compliments my dreams, but also is always right behind me as my biggest advocate.
2. I get to share all major life moments with my best friend.
To be completely honest, not many exciting things have happened yet! I haven’t graduated college, bought my first house, gotten belligerently drunk at my 21st, or even had babies. This is ok. I know that when these big life moments happen I will be able to share them with the most important person in my world.
3. I am held accountable.
Anyone who said marriage is easy is probably divorced. I will stand by that statement. When you marry someone, there are no “oh well” or “if it doesn’t work out”, moments. You are this other person’s rock. You have signed up for the best and hardest responsibility you will ever encounter. I can’t just decide that I don’t want to come home one night or not make dinner or not share what’s on my mind, because that could harm my marriage. As intimidating as it sounds, the other person in your team of two is relying on you and trusting you with their heart, feelings, and rest of their life. This trust is the most beautiful gift anyone can give.
4. We have forever to figure it all out.
He doesn’t like the smell of strong herbs, refuses to drink tea without milk, and makes pasta sauce that can put top chefs to shame. I know these (and other) things about my husband. However, I bet that there are more things I don’t know about than things that I do. That’s amazing. We have the rest of our lives to realize each other’s little habits and idiosyncrasies. We have forever to iron out the kinks and work through the problems.
5. We get to grow together and around each other.
I would be an idiot and a liar if I said that I will never change. That’s utterly impossible. Life will change me, mold me, and break me down. Each time this happens, I will be able to act like a vine, and grow up and around my surroundings. My husband, though older than me, will encounter the same. Being young gives us an opportunity to feed off of each other and mirror each other’s best qualities. We get to watch the other bloom and flourish.
6. You become less selfish.
I love cooking for my husband, but I never cooked for any previous boyfriends. This is because I see how much enjoyment he and I get out of seeing what we can create in the kitchen. I started putting myself aside and thinking about what he would like. Not because it was my “duty”, but because I genuinely want what is best for him. He never asked me to, it just came with the territory.
7. Overcoming the impossible.
Nothing is easy when you’re young. Our marriage journey has been especially difficult. It has involved long distance, work problems, and a lot of frequent flyer miles. But that’s ok. Being together makes every “impossible” victory seem even greater.
8. Learning what truly loving someone is like.
Everyone thinks they know what love is, until real love smacks them in the face. Loving someone enough to marry them has opened my eyes and showed me the meaning of true and selfless love.
9. All of those crazy nights? I will always have someone in my bed.
Never again do I have to complain about an amazing night out resulting in a post party session alone with a massive bowl of popcorn. I get to take my number one pick home from the bar! Not only do I get to take him home, but also he’s there when I wake up with zero awkwardness or regrets. Way better than any Tinder session.
10. I’ve started a running list of comebacks for the ‘you’re so young!’ statements.
I wont give away my best lines, but try and say something next time you see me and you’ll hear all the best ones.