I read this guest blog post over at Rage Against the Minivan with interest. Two comments in particular caught my attention.
Another usual reaction I get is the one that comes from my age group. It’s the question of “Should-I-have-dated-around-like-crazy-and-had-some-fun-before-I-tied-the-knot?” This is a fun reaction to deal with because frankly when discussing this with someone my age, what we’re really discussing is whether or not I should have whored it up for a while when I was still young. You know, because that’s what youth is for. Anyways, I’m still young and I do have fun. I happen to be married to my best friend and we have a blast together. And the best part of it is that I didn’t have to spend years of my life looking for him in all the wrong people.
The last reaction that I get is really just ignorance. It’s the thought that because I’m married and have a family, my life is over. I should have kissed all of my goals and dreams goodbye on my wedding day, tied on a pretty pink apron and put my baby making face on while climbing into a little domestic hole. That’s fine for some women because there is no shame in being a housewife and a mom, but I’ve had big plans for myself since a was a little girl and I read that marriage certificate and nowhere on it did it say I was signing over those dreams. I just get to do them with an amazing support system by my side. My husband knew me and what I hoped for my future as soon as we started to get to know each other. That’s the beauty of real love, not only do you accept the other person’s dreams, but you take them as your own. You gain a whole new set of goals that become just as close to your heart as your own. And those sets of goals and dreams come together to build up a future even better than the one you imagined years before.
My husband and I met very randomly and very briefly three weeks before law school started and then we reconnected when I was suprised to recognize him on the first day of school. A friendship quickly developed and then turned into something more. By the end of second year, we were married.
I remember the reaction of some colleagues when they learned that we were engaged when we returned to school in September for second year: shock. One woman just took my hand to confirm I was wearing an engagement ring, dropped both my hand and her jaw and then scrambled back to a group of other students to confirm that yup, we were engaged – after knowing each other for just a year. It was comical, if not a bit disconcerting.
And we were both 23 when we were married, not 18 like the author of the blog post and her husband. But more than once I was questioned (and even mocked) for choosing to marry at such a “young” age. I was asked by co-workers how I could possibly know what I wanted from a man or a marriage this early on in my life. Others hinted this could limit my future career or life options. I hadn’t even started my career yet! I was also strongly encouraged by several to sign a pre-nup. (I was in law school, so this type of feedback should probably be expected.)
But my experience reflects to some extent that of the author’s. Marriage has been my greatest adventure. My husband and I jointly hold each others’ dreams carefully in our hands, encouraging each other and believing in each other. It’s a pretty incredible thing to experience. We’re growing, dreaming and building a life together, while still exploring unique and personal interests and passions. Heck, I even worked into my wedding vows that I’d be his “greatest cheerleader.” (Yes, non-conventional.)
Marriage at a “young” age (as some in my life considered it to be), hasn’t stalled my personal growth. It hasn’t stunted me in any way. Rather, it has required that I grow up and mature a little faster. All my decisions directly affect another person. That makes a huge difference. And not a negative one.
And, like the author notes, we’re developing a whole new set of dreams and hopes for our shared life. In some cases, this includes dreams that neither of us had considered before we met.
So what does this happen to do with PWPL? I don’t know. I’m sure Andrea could come up with some elegant way to tie this blog post to PWPL’s greater mandate. The author’s blog post was a little (or a lot) counter-cultural and I wanted to touch on that.by