Rob and I were married in 1992, in the middle of our college years. That decision was met with joy and celebration, but a dose of skepticism too. Well-meaning onlookers worried we’d given up any chance of financial security or a complete education. They wondered if our immaturity doomed the marriage to failure. Our motives, timing, and common sense were questioned as our baby-faced selves stood up at the altar.
Looking back nearly 26 years later, we’re glad we didn’t wait to say “I do”. Yes, we were inexperienced. We were broke (Rob can barely gag down boxed macaroni and cheese even now.). We had to learn plenty of lessons the hard way. Yet we can see how coming together early on made a profound difference in who we are today. Here’s why we’re glad we married young:
- We had a partner from the beginning. Early adulthood brings huge life questions — what to study, where to live, which career to pursue, and how to live out our faith. Marriage provided us with a cheerleader to support us in those choices. We had a partner 100 [percent] invested in our happiness and well-being. No matter what happened, we knew someone had our back.
- We learned to value “us” over “me”. Young people are self-focused by nature. Teens and young adults are pushed to pursue individual success and fulfillment. Marriage interrupted our selfish thinking. Our personal decisions now deeply affected someone else. We had to compromise, lay down our preferences, and learn how to give.
- We belonged. As friends and family scattered across the country to build careers and education, we enjoyed the stability of marriage. Our friendship was a constant through all kinds of upheaval. No matter if we changed apartments, jobs, church communities, or cities, we always were “home” with each other.
- We set new priorities. With our newlywed budget, we discovered we could find joy in simple things. Ice cream at the park, popcorn, and videos (yes, we’re that old) at home, and Sunday afternoons with the in-laws made plenty of happy memories. We valued our paychecks because we worked hard for every dollar. Our focus changed from enjoying material things and short-lived fun to embracing what truly lasts.
- We avoided temptation. In our marriage, we could freely enjoy intimacy with a clean conscience. It spared us years of struggle in a culture that cheapens sex and makes a joke of abstinence.
God has a unique plan for every couple. He knows whether each individual should marry at 18 or 81, or not at all. Now that we’re older, we can see his wisdom in joining us together and praise him for all he’s done. He gives us peace as our son and his bride begin their life together. He’s faithful to give us all we need at exactly the right time.