Before I begin, I’d like to qualify that I am describing a personal experience and not prescribing anything. Everyone has a different story. This happened to be ours. And I am blessed and grateful. I am sharing this because a lot of young couples are asking me what it’s like to be married young.
I was a month shy of my 22nd birthday when I said, “I do.” Noel then was 28. It was March 2011. Today we celebrate our seventh wedding anniversary with our two lovely daughters. Thank you, Lord, for your faithfulness!
So what is it like?
- Cornerstone, not a capstone
One of the many comments I got then was: “You are throwing your life away!” I guess people have a stigma that it’s a dead end once you say your vows. I thought the same way before but when I talked to older couples, I realized that your calling is not dependent on your marital status. Everyone has a calling. Mine calls me in the ministry and in motherhood. To say that someone can accomplish something only when she’s single, implies that there is a limitation to what God can do through a person. That is not my God. I cannot box Him. I have seen him move in the lives of so many women, married and single alike.
The reason young couples always have for not getting married is because they’re not financially ready. I think for everything we will do in our lives, we have to have good reasons to do it. You should define what you mean by ‘ready.’ If you mean having a big house and a car is the definition of ‘ready,’ you should define it and decide if it is a worthwhile reason. If it is, then wait. Just keep in mind what Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:9, “But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”
When we were in courtship, my then boyfriend asked me one question that I will never forget: “What can’t you do once we’re married?” I said a lot of things in my list but I realized I want to do those things with him. And we did. And we still do. For those whose story is similar to ours, marriage is not a capstone, it is a cornerstone.
We see our wedding day as the starting place, of what God is about to do in our lives. Since then, we had so many adventures together. We rented eight houses in two cities. We traveled to a few nations. He worked in the ministry. I worked as an HR personnel, a teacher and a researcher. We weren’t rich then and even now haha! But we are every bit happy. We have jobs and managed our finances the best way we can. God was faithful then and now. We believe the past seven years is just the beginning of many stories of His goodness and love to us.
- Inspiration, not an inhibition
When people find out I graduated Magna cum Laude, they either say, “Wow!” or shake their heads in disappointment. Prior to getting married, I worked two years in the professional field. I was just starting in my career. Some think that I am wasting my time in ministry and taking care of little fluffy bottoms. Truth is, I don’t see my marital status as an inhibition for a great task. Rather, this is my great task. For me, my husband and my kids are my inspiration for waking up everyday. They inspire me to be a better person and to do more. In the stories of some older couples we met, they say that they accomplished so many things because they have spouses and children who inspire them, not burden them. They couldn’t have done so much if they had no one to do it for.
As for me, I don’t think I would be who I am today without my husband and my children. If God will call me to do another thing besides being a wife and mom, they will be my inspiration. Just like in this season, they are my inspiration as I do all things faithfully everyday. They are and forever will be.
“Looking back over a marriage of nearly three decades, I am thankful that I married before going down that road. Now as a college-educated, doctorate-holding woman, I can attest that marrying young was most beneficial: to me, to my husband, and to the longevity of our marriage. Our achievements have come, I am convinced, not despite our young marriage, but because of it.”
-Karen Prior, ‘The Case for Getting Married Young’ in The Atlantic
3. Growing up, not all grown up
Yes, we married young but we did not claim we were grown up. We were two young individuals who were in love and we needed all the guidance and wisdom we could get. Thank God for people who stood beside us and patiently guided us. We were growing up.
We were growing up together. We discover our individual personalities and learn to love each other’s quirks, gifts and strengths. Where there are weaknesses, failures and mistakes, we help each other up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 is rings true for us: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.”
Our dreams were molded into one and spur on to one goal and one vision for our family. When you get married young, you have more time to pursue one dream together.
Since getting married, I have grown by leaps and bounds. And I am still growing and learning day by day. Marriage has taught me and humbled me. A lot. I don’t regret saying yes to my husband. God has brought Noel and me through joys and sorrows, through hills and valleys. Through the years, I have made so many mistakes. And I am glad I have someone beside me who will love me no matter what. I am glad I have Noel who believes in the best of me. I am glad I have someone whom I can dream with and pray with. I am glad I had a hand to hold when I am afraid, a shoulder to cry on when I am down, and a heart to love forever.
“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”
-Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage
I believe it matters little what age you get married, what matters is your love and commitment to one another. With God at the centre of a relationship, two imperfect individuals are guided by the Perfect God in a blessed union here on earth.
Everyone has his own story. I am glad this is ours.