Last week there was an article in the OU Daily from this girl who claimed that the reasons why people marry young are tax breaks, sex, instant gratification, not wanting to be separated, and security. She also made a query to a magazine and will probably be published there as well. It actually is a little sickening to think that someone actually has that outlook. Obviously, some may marry for those reasons. I'm not that naive to believe otherwise. However, it's foolish to think that all young couples marry for such immature, self-serving reasons. It all depends on the maturity level, and each person is different.
Life experiences warrant maturity.
I have to say that I am sometimes skeptical of people who marry right out of high school...people who only know others from their hometown school and church. By the time I was out of high school, my naivety was only somewhat tarnished. It wasn't until I moved away and went to college that the real world was unveiled. People who I had called my friend for several years disappeared. People who I had called my "spiritual" mentors were nowhere to be found. I quickly learned how fake some people really are. I was on my own in an unfamiliar town with classes that had more people in them than my entire high school. Despite the hurt of losing some of my close "friendships", I was in Heaven.
I wasn't surrounded by people who knew everything about me, my family, and my dating history (or lack thereof). I was no longer in a category of who those people thought I was. At the time, it hurt to lose the people I thought cared about me, but now I know how lucky I am to be rid of them. I actually feel sorry for those people now...and even more so for the people who have been sucked into that life and haven't seen the light quite yet.
The next few years I spent figuring myself out. I have to admit, the first few years of college were extremely difficult. I gained a lot of weight and acted completely out of my character. I even experienced some more life-sucking relationships. I finally snapped out of it and "found myself"...if you want to call it something as cliche as that. I had found my sense of self. I knew what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go, and who I wanted to be. It wasn't until I had discovered all of these things that the relationship with Evan happened.
We had known each other for 10 years. Sometimes we wonder what would have happened if we would have been brave and tried to be more than friends sooner, but I truly believe that it wouldn't have worked out with us if it had happened any earlier. We were both pretty screwed up by life experiences, and had to figure it out in our own ways and in our own time. It is truly amazing to me that we came out on the other side at the same time.
We were married at 23. I can honestly say that tax breaks were the furthest thing from our mind. Obviously, every couple in love looks forward to sex. Evan and I had never had sex with anyone else but each other, so it was special for us to know that it was a first for both of us. We didn't get married just to have sex though, and I think it's sad if anyone goes into such a serious commitment for that reason. If you want to do it that bad, then just do it. Don't marry someone just for that reason.
The reason of instant gratification shows that this was written by a girl who is clueless about relationships. Instant gratification, my ass. The time and effort it takes to maintain a committed relationship is more than I ever thought possible. I thought it would just be googly eyes, kisses, and love affirmation with our relationship. We love each other. He's perfect for me. I'm perfect for him, etc etc. I know God must have looked down on me and chuckled. Marriage is HARD work. Committed relationships are HARD work. That's why so many people throw in the towel--lack of strength and motivation. They just don't want to work hard any more. There are days when I seriously consider kicking Evan in the shin, but at the end of the day...I know I'm incredibly blessed to have him as my husband. He's a truly GOOD person with such a vibrant personality and a drive for life that's inspiring. Not to mention my incredible attraction for that tall drink of water. Evan has made me a better person..and does so every day.. I would never want to lose that, no matter how difficult it can get. It's a good thing...because he knows wayyyyy too much. Ha!
I would never have married Evan for security. Marriage does add security to a relationship, but it's too scary of a thing in the beginning to even think about doing that. Plus, our lives can go in any direction right now..so I wouldn't say it's that secure. That's how most young couples lives are. They're figuring out their career path..trying to find jobs..and still are wondering where that job may be.
I can understand how someone with a significant other going in the military would marry. I can't say positively what I would do in that situation. And I don't think that anyone else that's not in that situation should speculate on those choices.
In the end, we can't specify a certain age or time frame that people should get married. I know some couples that knew each other for a short time and married very quickly...some have divorced, some have lasted over 20 years. I know some couples that knew each other for years and had the same outcome. I know some couples that married young...and couples that have married old. Some have worked, some haven't. The thing is, relationships and love are so complex that it's too shaky ground to have a definite view.
The only possible definite belief is that it's indefinite.
That's difficult for some people who have to have everything written in stone. Others (who have experienced it, are mature enough to grasp that concept, and don't operate out of jealousy) can live their life freely without criticizing the reasons for relationships.
Until next time....