What it’s like to be married at 22
No, I’m not afraid he might not be ‘the one’
On July 16th of this year I was one of the first of my friends to get married. At the time, I had just turned 22 and my husband was just shy of 23 years. Now for many older generations, getting married right after college seems normal. But, for the rising generation, marrying at a young age is extremely rare.
By the time we got married, I had been with my husband for almost 7 years. We met in high school and bonded over our mutual love of nerd culture, sci-fi, and video games. I remember sitting in the student center of our high school reading Manga together and talking about League of Legends.
After our high school graduation we chose to stay together throughout college. We both ended up attending Emory University down in Atlanta, Georgia. I studied education and mathematics while he pursued an MS/BS in mathematics. We spent so much time with one another and only grew closer. Our normal date night would be ordering Chinese food and watching Netflix or playing endless hours of Ninja Gaiden. During our final year he asked for my hand in marriage on top of Skyview Atlanta. After getting some Korean BBQ (which is my absolute favorite) we went on the ferris wheel and he pulled out an engagement ring. I was brought close to tears and of course I said yes!
We have been together for many years and cannot imagine life without one another- marriage was just the next step. Our close friends and family were not at all surprised to hear about our engagement. In fact, it was almost expected in a way! Most people’s reactions were along the lines of “I knew it!” or “It’s about time!”. It felt so good to have so many people reach out to the two of us and express their happiness and support.
But although I have a thriving relationship with my husband and wonderful people in my life who care for the two of us, I was surprised that some of my peers and acquaintances did not always feel the same. Here are some comments I have received:
Why did you choose to get married so young? You should explore other potential guys
I love, cherish, respect, and trust my husband. I laugh with him in times of joy and mourn with him in times of sorrow. We share each other’s dreams and support one another as we strive toward our own goals. He is the light of my world. Every morning my life feels fuller knowing that he is by my side. I guess you can say I lucked out in meeting my second half early in my life. Plus he is my best friend! Who else is going to play crappy board games and drink cheap wine with me at 2am? Also, he puts up with me which is pretty impressive. It was a no brainer.
Why not just wait? You have all your life!
It was a very practical decision. Keep in mind we already had no intentions of leaving one another and marriage was something we openly talked about. After he asked me to get married to him, we decided to do it right after college since he was starting a Ph.D. program across the country. It was a smarter decision long term, since we would not have to worry about the wedding during his program. Plus, then we could get married in our hometown and it would make things a lot easier on our guests, who were mostly local. We were already planning on getting married, the timing was just right.
But what will employers think? They will think you are going to have children and then they won’t hire you
Children are not in the picture right now, but if an employer does not want to hire me because I am married then I probably do not want to work for them anyway.
Aren’t you afraid you will make people feel like they’re third wheeling?
No, because neither me nor my husband have any interest in third wheeling anyone. When we are with friends it is “friends time”. When we are with each other it is “us time”. Plus our real friends should not feel uncomfortable being alone with us. That would definitely be a bad sign on both parts.
But there is so much risk… what if he isn’t the one?
I had one girl tell me that by marrying so young I was throwing my life away. She started quoting divorce statistics and lectured me on how I should not throw the idea of marriage around loosely.
The year leading up to our engagement I developed a lifelong chronic illness. I became horrendously ill and could barely go to class. In addition I ended up becoming completely deaf and had to go through several surgeries. During this time he showed nothing but support and devotion. He would take me to every doctor’s appointment and drove me to class if I was too ill to walk. He would sit with me in the middle of the night and make sure I could fall asleep through all the pain. There is no risk.
He has proven himself worthy a thousand times. If we can survive that, we can survive anything.
There is no shame in choosing to settle down at a young age. Just because it is uncommon does not mean it can’t be a wonderful thing. Marriage is something special to me. Despite what some people think, I have no regrets on my decision because I value my husband and love him more than anything.