Today, while tending bar at a golf club (my fun-yet-exhausting summer job), I received some great marriage advice from a 30-something single male: Don't do it.
Despite the fun that comes with the job, I've found that people love to give unsolicited opinions to those they don't know. Although I don't mind the casual comment about the sparkly engagement ring on my left hand as I pour whiskey cokes, today was a little more extreme.
"How old are you?" a man asked. I replied that I was 22.
"Only 22? That's way too young to get married...." he said, shocked look on his face. "Are you in trouble or something?"
I was confused what he meant by this, so I asked him to clarify.
"Trouble, like pregnant. Are you having his kid or something?"
Luckily at this point, one of this kind gentleman's friends told him in not-so-many words to be quiet and that he had been married at 23. I went about my shift pouring drinks to these men, most of them with wedding rings on their fingers, but couldn't help but feel bothered by the comments.
Is it really so hard to believe that two fully grown adults want to get married young, simply because they love each other so much they never want to be apart?
Does a young marriage immediately imply that there's something else going on? Society has put an unspoken stigma against marriage in the early 20s. Anyone getting married from 19 to 25 is "too young." The 20s are, as society states, supposed to be experimental years. You should go away to college, date a handful of people, find yourself, travel the world, yada yada yada...
My fiancé and I, although high-school sweethearts, are both college graduates, creating careers and are ready to start a life together without having to say goodbye again. If NOW is too young, when IS the appropriate age? On what day can I wake up and gain the nod of approval from middle-aged people who can confirm that yes, I'm now old enough to get married?
It's a shame that some people look on with disdain at couples who are young, in love and willing to commit their lives to each other. Love should be celebrated, not questioned.
No, there is no baby forcing me to marry my fiancé. We are not choosing to marry because it would make things financially easier. We aren't getting married because we're facing some crippling distance. We are choosing to marry out of love, not obligation or convenience. We actually made the decision that we don't want to do life without each other, and that seems like reason enough.
Don't get me wrong; there are an overwhelming amount of people who support young marriage. This warms my heart and gives me hope for the future. Others, though, make the argument that there are "still experiences to be had" and "so many other people out there." While this might be true, I beg this question: Should I leave the love of my life to seek out something better?
Most people in a relationship would answer the same way I do: absolutely not. I found my person, and I don't need to find anything else.
So I leave you with a challenge. When you hear of someone getting married, no matter what their age is, don't ask yourself "what kind of sorry situation is forcing them to get married?"
Instead, let yourself ask them what they love about their significant other. Consider that their soul may have found the one they never want to be without. And for the love of god, never ask if they are pregnant.