Well. There’s certainly been a lot of chatter about women’s choices on Thought Catalog the past several weeks. I’m not sorry to say that this is not another response piece. I don’t particularly care what other people choose to do with their lives. What inspired me to write this piece, however, was the misconception I believe a lot of people have about why some choose to marry “young.” (When I was growing up, marrying young referred to the couples who marry straight out of high school.) I think of myself as a person fairly confident in my choices, but it’s a bit disconcerting to hear that the majority of your generation is repulsed by your decision to get married. As a twenty-four year old who’s getting married in just over three months (gulp), I think I can shed a little light on the topic.
1. Our Professional Objectives are In Sync
One major cause for delaying marriage – with good reason – is that young people want to get their professional careers in order before marrying or thinking about having children. Particularly in this still-recovering economy, job prospects are more important than ever. If you need to move from Orlando to San Francisco for a job, and your spouse does not, problems abound. For me and my fiancé, we’re fortunate enough to be on professional tracks that we love. I’m working on my Master’s degree full-time with an aim to return to working at a DC non-profit or think tank later this year. The fiancé works full-time while pursuing his Master’s in statistics. Swinging academics that we are, we aren’t too concerned about climbing the corporate ladder. Our careers are time-consuming but not draining; we can invest time and energy into our relationship as well as our jobs.
2. (So Are Our Finances…)
Financial concerns go hand-in-hand with professional ones. We aren’t wealthy people by any stretch of the imagination, but finances are not an instant fight trigger either. We’re able to budget and talk honestly about money concerns. To me, this is a pretty good sign.
3. I’m Not a Wedding-Obsessed Robot
Okay, I confess. I was in a sorority in college. Let the MRS degree jokes commence. I created a Pinterest for my wedding, and I’ve become well-versed in different shades of pink and off-white. When I tell casual acquaintances or new friends that I’m engaged, they give me very subtle side-eye. I think a lot of this has to do with the stereotypical sorority girl, eager to have a ring before graduation so she can brag and delve into wedding planning like a rabid shark. This isn’t me. I have enjoyed planning my wedding as much as the next person, but it hasn’t consumed my life. I think this would be the one piece of advice I would offer anyone concerned about getting married: make sure you’re more excited for the marriage than the wedding.
4. Our Lives Aren’t Ending
I’ll admit there are times when I envy my friends’ anxiety before a first date or their excited gossip the morning after a hook-up. I also wonder what if? What if I didn’t get married and went backpacking around Europe instead? What if I never get to see the Himalayas? Then it hits me. My life isn’t ending; it’s changing, of course. But all the things I want to do – sex aside – are things I can continue to do, either on my own or with my husband. Less than a month after the wedding, I’m doing a three-week study abroad program in Brussels. Somehow, I think life will still be delicious post-marriage.
5. Most Importantly…I Fell in Love
My reason for getting married is fairly simple. I fell in love. I have dealt with an anxiety disorder for the past six years of my life, and my fiancé was instantly sympathetic. He just got it. He understands me, my issues, my goals, and accepts it all. I strive to do the same for him. To us, marriage is not a terrifying Everest from which there is no return. It is simply one next step for us in life, and it certainly won’t be the best day of our lives (not that I don’t enjoy a good unity candle ceremony).