If someone had asked me at 18 if I had seen myself getting married before turning 25, I would have rolled my eyes, probably waved my passport in their face (because you can't be married and travel...right?). So who knew that at 21 years old I would be standing in the dress of my dreams, looking at the man of my dreams, having the wedding of my dreams (it was all very dreamy).
To start, and to be honest, the fact that Chad was in the Army played a role in our "expedited" marriage process. If it were not for the Army we likely would have waited a couple more years before tying the knot. But wow am I glad that life has turned out this way. Rewind to the beginning of 2017, I was taking brutal pre-nursing college courses, working full time, planning a wedding and spending my free time answering those lovely questions I received from every single one of my friends and family (oh and some strangers too)..."but why?"...."but you're so young"....."how can you be sure?"...."don't you want to travel more?"...."Do you know the divorce rates?". I could make an entire blog post on the questions I got while planning a wedding at 21. In fact, maybe I will. No, we didn't do it because of our faith or for any religious reasons, I wasn't pregnant, and we hadn't been together since the 7th grade dance. We just...wait for it.....wanted to. GASP. People will laugh, roll their eyes, take bets on how long your marriage will last. And everyone told us how hard it would be. No one talked about how amazing it would be. Or what an adventure it would be. Or that it would be life's greatest blessing so far. No. They just told us how hard it would be. But you know what has been the single most difficult thing about getting married at 21? Everyone else. We've heard pretty much everything you can think of. "You aren't ready". "You haven't thought about it enough". "It won't last a year" (my personal favorite).
I learned to answer everyone's questions of why with a very simple "because I want to marry him" when I realized that I don't need to tell people that it's because he gives me butterflies every time I see him, that he can make me laugh when I'm in tears, that I can't imagine a better father for my future children or that I have never met a more dedicated, loving or amazing man in my life. I didn't need to answer like that because no one would ask a 28 year old why they're getting married. I didn't owe anyone an explanation.
It is so sad to me that people associate marriage with "throwing your life away". I mean, wow. Marriage is work, and it's beautiful and incredible. Marriage has been the most adventurous thing I have ever done, and it has been so so far away from "throwing my life away". It seems to me that people think that we were too young to make the right choices, or to know what we wanted. "But you're going to change so much" was another one I got. Yes. People change. We are not the same people we were 5 years ago and we won't be the same people 5 years from now either. But we will never stop changing. It doesn't matter if you get married at 20 or 30 or 40. Marriage is a commitment. I committed to loving him in every season of life, to fall in love with whoever he is everyday, even if that person is different than he was yesterday.
So on June 25th, 2017, we got married. Two months later we bought a house. A month after that, we adopted a puppy. And here we are. Happy, young, in love, married.
And just like everything else in life, it isn't perfect. You'll argue over money, the proper way to wash the dishes, how to train the dog and what the right number of pillows for the bed is. You will break the "don't go to bed mad at each other" rule, which I mainly attribute to Chad's way of falling asleep mid conversation and in pretty much any position imaginable (see image below).
You will have days where you feel distant from each other and you'll stare at the beautiful wedding photos hanging on the wall and wonder if you feel this way because you got married young. But it's just because you got married. You will learn the art of arguing with grace and kindness (most of the time). You will look at those hilarious wedding party pictures you took with all of your best friends and realize you don't talk to half of the people in them anymore, but that's okay. You're young, people come into your life and leave it. The car will break down. That amazing vacation you planned will be postponed. You'll realize how fast grass grows when you're responsible for cutting it. Some nights you will turn the lights off and you will feel all the distance that king size bed allows. And then when life gets really hard you will have a moment when you look over at them and realize how lucky you are. How lucky you are to be able to face these trials of life with your best friend by your side. To be able to laugh when the washer floods the kitchen floor and when you realize neither of you knows how to cook a burger. I love that I can look at him across the dinner table and know that the possibility of us celebrating a 50 or even 60 year wedding anniversary together is a very real possibility. I love growing up with him. I love that I get to change and adapt with him and that we can grow even more in love as the years pass by.
So what has marriage been like so far? Messy. Amazing. Truly the best adventure I have ever been on.