By Jess O’ Connell
I have been married for three years, but with my husband for seven. We met when we were 19 and got married when we were 23.
I was never the girl in a rush to get married. I started college with the idea of dating through my 20s, settled by the time I turned 30 with an awesome career and starting a family later in life. It was never my intention to meet my husband my sophomore year of college, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. When we met, we were just kids. We were young and naive and stupid, but I love that we were these things together. We have both grown up a lot in the last seven years, but we have grown up together. I cannot imagine my life with him in it, and I mean it when I say I will be with him forever.
I completely agree that forever is a long time, so it is very important to choose wisely. I think we live in a culture where marriage is not taken seriously. People enter into marriage after knowing each other a week and get divorced after their first fight. We have very few role models of a successful marriage, so it is hard to imagine what that looks like. More than half of our parents are divorced. Mine are. My husband’s are. But it is because of this that we didn’t take our vows lightly. We both grew up in “broken” homes. We both knew how hard it was to have divorced parents so we discussed at length that we didn’t want that for our children. We knew on our wedding day that it was a commitment to spend the rest of forever together.
We are young. We, by nature, are fickle. Not everyone in their 20s is ready to make that kind of commitment, and unfortunately I think a lot of people don’t realize that before they do. I know way too many people that got married for the wrong reasons and have been divorced, or are heading that direction. I think marriage is something that needs to be seriously considered before being entered into. It is not like buying a car or an apartment. You can’t just sell it when you are sick of it.
In the age of Pinterest, women are planning their weddings before they even have boyfriends. Not saying that I didn’t, but Pinterest didn’t exist when I got married. This incessant planning has us twenty-somethings obsessed with weddings. We want the big white day with the perfect dress, prefect flowers, and our picture-perfect groom standing next to us, whoever he is. We are less concerned with what happens for the 50-plus years after that day than we are the day itself. When I knew I was going to marry my husband, I was more excited for the marriage than the wedding.
My husband is my best friend. I cannot imagine the next 50-plus years of my life without him in it. I know that no matter how much I change or grow, I want him right beside me. I know we will be different people five years from now. We were different people five years ago. But I know that we will become different people together. That is the meaning of marriage. Not finding the person you want to fill the tux in your wedding pictures. Finding the person you can’t imagine not being in your pictures for the rest of forever. Forever is a long time. And I look forward to spending every day of it with my husband.
Jess is a married twenty-something living in Colorado with her husband and their dog Max. She has been writing since the age of 5 and just never stopped. Jess has always struggled with her weight and body image and is finding her way to body enlightenment through healthy living and yoga. She likes talking about movies, politics, fashion, gender issues, and feminism.
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