I would never have been mature enough to get married in my early twenties.
Why am I pondering that now, on my 15th wedding anniversary?
Yesterday, a friend sent me a text to say that her daughter had just gotten engaged. I sent back my congratulations right away. A few years ago, this bright young woman moved out West to go to university and she hasn’t looked back since. She carved out a life for herself, found someone that she loves and is taking the next step by getting married. She did this all within her late teens and early twenties.
In chatting with a colleague at the clinic, we briefly reflected on our marriages. We’re around the same age. He got married in his twenties. I got married when I was 30. I humbly told him that he was much more mature than I was!
I’ve also been reading “Fifty Shades of Grey” (ok, you got me!). Think of it what you will, it was a fun summer read. It struck me that the main character, Ana, was only 21 when she got married to the charismatic and controlling Christian.
I admire these women, real and fictional, that know what they want from life and at such a young age. Most adults of their generation haven’t had to do much for themselves or face the reality of the work world. But everyone is different.
I look back and remember what I was like as a 21 year old. Naive, not worldly, full of learning and books. I don’t know that I was mature enough to consider marriage, much less have a serious boyfriend. There was so much living for me to do yet.
I know that I needed to experience a lot more of life, make mistakes, face disappointments and engage in adventures to learn more about me. Only then could I think of sharing myself with another person, much less a mate for life. I’m lucky that I was able to do a lot of these things with the person that I now call my husband. Many of these life events were shared with him, even before I called him my boyfriend (funny, it always felt strange to me to call him that!).
The issue then is not whether one marries at an early age or waits until later. I think it’s about knowing yourself well enough to be able to share a part of you with another person. Being confident enough to grow together and yet set boundaries to retain your own sense of Self. Having the skills to weather life’s storms together.
My husband and I have evolved since we were in our twenties. My vet school, his working. His back surgery, my PMS cramps. My yoga, his BBQ and smoker/grill. Both of us grieving our dearly departed beagle. Building our house…still. We may have delayed getting married but it was well worth the wait.