When I was in sixth grade, one of my school projects was to interview my grandmother about her life. I still remember being shocked when she said that as an unmarried girl in her early 20s, she thought her “window” had passed. She considered herself an “old maid.”
Thankfully, my grandfather didn’t care that she was “old” and married her anyway. She was 23.
It is no secret that couples are waiting longer and longer to get married. People can argue until they’re blue in the face over the pros and cons of marrying either early or later, but none of these opinions determine whether or not a couple is truly ready to make the commitment.
I was 24 and Adam was 25 when we married. Young by today’s standards. So how did we know we were ready? Was it amassing enough money for a lavish reception or buying a four-bedroom house in the suburbs? Definitely not. Was it by doing a “test run” and moving in together? No, didn’t do that, either.
When I think back to how we knew we were mature enough to marry Adam a few things come to mind:
- We both had a deep understanding that marriage is forever, no matter what. We knew that the promises we were making were permanent, that we were becoming one.
- We understood that remaining faithful to these promises didn’t just mean no cheating on one another, but that there was also no place in our marriage for pornography and emotional infidelity.
- We knew that the greatest gift we would be giving and receiving on our wedding day was the gift of our very selves. This was a total gift. Not only could we hold nothing back, but once the gift was given we couldn’t ask for it back.
- We had enough income to provide for our basic needs: food, shelter and clothes.
- We had spent hours talking about things like finances, babies, career goals, faith and a host of other issues.
Not everyone is ready or has the opportunity to marry younger, but I’m so glad Adam and I didn’t wait until we had completed society’s list of “Things to Do Before You Wed.” In fact, during the year of our engagement I would tease Adam that we would’ve been married by then if I had listened to him in the first place! When our big day finally rolled around, we were giddy with excitement and couldn’t wait to start our lives together. When we returned from our honeymoon, Adam moved into our tiny, 980 square foot house that we bought just weeks before, and still live in today. After buying a house and paying for a wedding, we didn’t have much money left. But we survived, even thrived.
If Adam and I had waited another year, or two or three, could we possibly have saved up for a larger house or grander wedding? Sure. Would I have known Adam better and thus be more convinced of my choice of husband? Perhaps. But I’m so glad I didn’t wait. I’m so glad I trusted we were as ready as we could possibly be (because no one is ever perfectly ready for the adventure of marriage). We knew as best we could what we were getting into, and who it was we wanted to take along for the ride.
This Sunday we celebrate six years of marriage. Six years ago we committed our lives to one another. When I think of if we’d have waited because of material wealth, or because we wanted to “have fun” before we “settled down” or for the right career move, I feel a sense of loss. A loss of memories, of fun and of learning how to more fully become “us.”
Thankfully I don’t have to think too much about that. Thankfully, through much discernment, we decided to grab one another’s hand, hold on tight and jump.
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