Recently, I’ve gotten engaged. I’m 23 in less than a month. My fiance is currently 23. We’re getting married next October and this is one of the happiest times in our lives together. However, not everyone shares in our happiness. I try not to pay attention to those who disapprove, but with every “you’re too young,” “you need to date more people,” “you should enjoy your life first,” comment my anger and frustration grows. Initially I didn’t feel like I owed anyone an explanation of my relationship and our decision to tie the knot. But, now I want people to understand.
One person I know never fails to say “I still think 23 is too young to get married. Don’t you want to enjoy your life first? There’s so much to explore” … every time I see her…which is multiple times a week. My first problem with this is that we haven’t known each other long and her advice is unwarranted. The second? Who says that I can’t enjoy my life while married? To be honest, I have enjoyed my life much more in this relationship than when I was single. Every part of life that I want to explore, all things in the world I want to see — I want to do with him. Needless to say, we still enjoy hanging out with our friends, separately and together. I enjoy my nights with the girls, and he enjoys his nights with the boys. We don’t spend every waking minute together. In fact, we appreciate our time apart as much as we appreciate our time together.
Ian and I truly enjoy our life together - we still go out and do all the things our single, non-engaged 23-year-old friends do…we just do them together. We drink too much at the bar, we go on vacation, we stay out all night…nothing about us is dated or old.
Other people will say “Don’t you want to date other people first? You’re going to meet so many people in your life.” The simple answer to that is: No. I don’t want to date other people. Other people are not the people I want to spend the rest of my life with. Other people aren’t my best friend. I’m not in love with other people. It can’t be explained to those who don’t understand the cheesy, cliched, yet totally applicable statement of “when you know, you know.” Most people who tell me this are happily married themselves. For the ones that are happy, it just means that they found the one they want to marry later in life. It means that it took them a few tries to find the person that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives with.
At the end of it all, our decision to get married is one that we are ecstatic about. It is not a decision we feel we will regret 20 years from now. We have found something rare at a young age. That does not make us “young and stupid,” it makes us young and blessed. It’s so difficult to explain in words the kind of love and respect we have for each other, the kind of love that has grown between us.
If you think about the concept of age corresponding with the readiness for marriage or the ability to be happy in your marriage, would you tell someone they are too old for marriage? Many people think that I am just “infatuated” or in “puppy love.” That may have been true four years ago…but over those last four years we have grown from puppy love to a love that is deep, to a love that is true, to a love that is inexplicably simple yet complex.
I do not need to please other people with my decision to marry at 23, but I do want people to understand that we are not childish, foolish “kids.” We are adults who have college degrees, real world jobs, bills. But more than meeting the social standard of “adult,” we are people that are in love and have found something in each other that many people may spend their whole lives searching for.