My future wife and I started dating in 2009, shortly after I returned from my second deployment to Iraq. Kara had already started her career, and I had just one more year of college before I’d be able to head out on my own.
Both of us knew that we wanted to get married someday. But as that possibility became more and more real, I started to think of the trips, the challenges, and the career that I might have to pass on.
As graduation approached, I saw this as my chance to have a few more adventures before settling down. I knew that I could go back to the Middle East on a security contract and make pretty good money. I could travel wherever I wanted, or try out any random job for a couple years. I even contemplated trying to get on a fishing boat, probably after watching too many episodes of the Deadliest Catch. It wasn’t that I never wanted to commit, it was just a fear that I might commit too soon and a fear of missing out. Kara and I were able to talk about these fears, and I had good friends that I could lean on too.
My roommates were especially helpful. The guys I lived with were all in a similar state of life, and they were there to help me talk through some of my realistic, and less than realistic ideas. For example, recognizing that since I got bored fishing on a lake after about an hour, maybe crab fishing on the ocean for months at a time wasn’t the best idea.
As I discussed and thought about my fears, it became clear to me that a fear of missing out on some adventures could keep me from the greatest adventure that my life had in store. I was ok with missing out on travel, or on cool random jobs, but I wasn’t ok with missing out on Kara. Beneath my fears I knew that marriage would involve more challenges, highs and lows, and beauty than any of my other ideas ever could.
I realized that to pursue any good thing in life, you have to let go of other things. And not only is that OK, it’s a blessing. It helped me focus less on myself, and more on the people that I loved, like Kara.
Six years into marriage, I thank God every day that I chose to give up my small ideas for the the adventure of marriage. It truly has been more exciting and meaningful than anything else I could have come up with, and I know that this adventure is only getting started.