My husband, Adam, and I got married at 21. If I had a nickel for every time someone asked us, ‘Is she pregnant?’ or ‘Do you have kids?’ or ‘But you’re too young to be married!’, we’d be able to afford a house by now.
Not only are these comments insulting to our relationship and the unique struggles we had to go through to sustain it, but they also suggest that perhaps one of the only reasons we would have married at this age is because we had kids. It suggests that we never would’ve done it purely for ourselves, even though that’s what marriage is supposed to be about.
We got married because we knew we loved each other heart and soul quite early on. Since we met while I was studying abroad, we went into our relationship knowing that we only had three months to spend together before I had to go back to the US. At first, we didn’t know how long our separation would last. We just knew we’d find a way to make it work. And we did.
Having to go long distance for a total of eight months over a span of two years was also a contributing factor. 4,000 miles of ocean and a five-hour time difference between us weighed heavy on both our hearts. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I weighed 98 pounds. I threw up my own stomach acid in the mornings when I would skip dinner. I smoked cigarettes to make up for my lack of appetite. I had panic attacks at school. He stayed up with me until 5, 6 AM almost every night just to say goodnight. He missed lectures. He cried. He begged me to come back. He made a special trip to America while I was on spring break just because he couldn’t be without me.
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And if you’d told me then that I was too young to get married, or I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, I might’ve spat in your face. Being without him was the worst thing I’ve ever been through, and I’ve been homeless and hospitalised on suicide watch.
And I get it – everyone thinks we’ve somehow missed out on something great because we ‘settled down early’. But the thing is we don’t consider partying on Friday nights to be the pinnacle of one’s youth. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that – it’s just not our scene.) In fact, it’s the opposite for us. We’d prefer to cuddle up with a cup of tea and watch Netflix. Call us old or boring – we’ll happily accept those labels, because at least we’re comfortable and happy with each other.
We’ve had some amazing adventures (and some silly ones, too).
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Here’s my question – why is young love such a radical idea? Why have we created a society that is obsessed with waiting for the perfect moment to do something? Young love should be celebrated, not demonised. I dread to think what might have happened to me if I’d never met Adam, or if we hadn’t taken the gigantic risk of continuing our relationship across international waters.
At the end of the day, all struggles aside, Adam and I are adults who are more than capable of making our own decisions without anyone’s snide comments or input. The same goes for the other young couples who want to get married. We got the whole love thing figured out early. Isn’t that one of life’s greatest quests, to find true love? Well, achievement unlocked at level 19. Now we can focus on discovering new locations and completing some side quests – together.