Strike One: Twenty-Two
Person: “Is that your boyfriend?”
ME: “No, he’s my husband.”
Person: “You’re MARRIED?! How old are you?!”
I have that conversation word-for-word at least once a week. I just turned 23 last week, and I was married at the ripe age of 22. It doesn’t help that I look like I’m only 18. A few months ago, a college girl asked me why I got married so young. I explained that Timmy (my husband) and I thought we could have more adventures and enjoy life more being married. She replied, “Yeah, some people think that way.”
Why does 22 seem so ridiculous? A few posts on Quora from people give us a glimpse of what they think about that age:
“To answer the question, “How should a 22-year-old be progressing through life?” I would say that there’s not a lot of progress to be made at 22, unless you’re phenomenally talented in a particular field. You’re moving sideways, not onwards and upwards.”
“22 is still really, really young. It doesn’t feel like it at the time, but even a few years later, you’ll find yourself wishing you’d been more adventurous and tried more things while you still had the time.”
The first quote is sad. It seems that 22 year olds are not expected to excel. They’re not expected to grow and mature. In fact, most people don’t expect anything from them.
I’ve heard the second quote from numerous 22 year olds. They say that they want to be adventurous and try more things while they can before they get tied down. People seem to think that marriage is no fun. On the contrary, I’ve had more fun being married with Timmy in the last 8 months than I have my entire life. We hang out with friends, and go on dates. We’ve traveled up and down the entire coast of California, visited Portland, Las Vegas, Charleston, Dayton, Columbia, and moved from San Francisco to Chicago. The adventures never stop, and it’s so much sweeter to be adventuring alongside a man who is my best friend and always has my back.
Strike Two: Marriage Isn’t In Anymore
For some reason, getting married young is no longer a hot commodity. The average age to get married in America is 29 for men and 27 for women. Not only that, but it seems that marriage itself is no longer the “in thing” to do. I often hear the line in movies, “Get married…and be tied to one man for the rest of my life?! I think not.” And that seems to be the consensus: why be bonded to one person when you can have more than one?
Yet, in the happiest time of my life, I am willingly and joyfully tied to one man.
Several decades ago, marriage was looked upon as sacred. Premarital sex was frowned upon and divorce wasn’t common. Most couples figured out their differences and the phrase, “I just don’t love him (or her) anymore” was almost nonexistent. Now, because boyfriends and girlfriends often live together, it seems that there is no need to be married. They act as husband and wife without the title and without the long-term commitment.
Marriage just isn’t in anymore in general, much less for a 22 year old.
Struck Out: A Christian?!
I am a Christian and believe that sex should be something saved for marriage. It’s certainly not easy, but to us it was worth it. My husband and I dated for almost 4 years and remained virgins until our wedding night. That’s almost unheard of in a culture where Millennials are leaving the church and marrying older (if they marry at all). For Christians, it often makes sense to marry younger if the couple doesn’t live together or sleep together because they have hormones just like anyone else, and it’s not easy to wait for sex. It creates a longing to be one and makes marriage seem more sensible.
Christians have a pretty bad rep in America now. We’re often looked at as intolerant, judgmental, and foolish. If we can build our marriages to be something appealing: full of joy, love, self-control, trust, and communication, I think we can break the assumptions about Christians and marriage (sadly, they are mostly true).
My age, my marital status, and my religion can create a tense response to people who meet me. But I’ve found that a quick, genuine smile sets people at ease and causes them to be more curious about why I’m married than arguing why I shouldn’t be.
Although I don’t have it all figured out and have plenty of room for growth, we as Millennials don’t have to accept what society says about age, marriage, and religion. We can still excel despite the pressures from the media to be crazy, irresponsible, and inconsiderate in our twenties. We can look at marriage without seeing a boring life and realize the excitement that comes with a commitment. We can look at Christianity without assuming the worst and dive in to learn more about who Jesus actually is.
Three strikes against me and I’m feelin’ good.