For most of our engagement, Kyle was working the 4 a.m. to 12 p.m. shift at JCPenney, going to school in the afternoon, and attending Fire Academy from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
He would then proceed to do the 40-minute drive home, do homework, and get up and do it all again the next day (on maybe four hours of sleep).
He’d been recruited and had the opportunity to go to Fire Academy for free, so he did it just to add it to his resume. He was in school to work towards his dream career.
But he was a zombie.
My siblings still remember him falling asleep standing up in my parents’ kitchen.
Fast forward three years, and I’ve watched him graduate from Fire Academy, get a new job, work his way into a position that’s aligned with his degree (Computer Science), and continue working his butt off to get good grades in school.
None of this has made things easier on our marriage.
As we grow, mature, and work towards our futures together, we run into conflict. We’re young and immature. I don’t see him as much as I’d like. Sometimes he’s running off just a few hours of sleep, and that makes him a little . . . grumpy. Money is tight. I’ll never know what dorm life is like (though I don’t think I’m missing out on much). Setting aside time for each other is even harder when we have homework to worry about. It feels like we’ll be in school forever. And I could go on and on.
I have no doubt that things would have been “easier” had we waited a few years to get married.
Our brains would have been “fully developed” (don’t even ask me how many times we’ve got that one). We’d be past the 25-years-old, most-likely-to-not-get-divorced age. We’d be through school. We’d probably have comfortable finances and our own home. Most would say we’d be better set up for success.
But man, when he graduates next year, I’m going to be the proudest wife there ever was.
I haven’t always been gracious, in fact, sometimes I’ve been downright grouchy about how busy he is. But I’ve watched him work his way through; blood, sweat, tears, and all. I’ve tried my best to support him when he’s down, help out when he’s overwhelmed, and just cheer him on. And he’s done the same.
Everything we’ll have worked towards — growing in our faith, getting our degrees, saving up for a house — will have been done together.
And that’s such a gift.
I’m not saying that you have to get married young to have a happy marriage. I’m not saying young marriage is the best for everyone. But if it’s where you’re at, don’t listen to the haters — consider yourself so blessed. Because I wouldn’t change a thing.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” —Joshua 1:9
Marriage is hard work no matter when you get married. It’s heart-wrenching, joyful, tiring, and rewarding. It’s the hardest blessing I’ve ever been given. But I love Kyle more for it, and God is faithful. I consider myself extremely blessed that I get to walk through these years with him. Someday we’ll get to look back and see how we stuck together through it all.
Young marriage (with a lot of Jesus and a lot of grace) can be so much better than most people make it out to be. But hey, anything is possible with Jesus. Praise him when things are awesome. Run to him when things get tough. Pray fervently. Never give up. He’s the key to a happy marriage, not age.