When I was eighteen, I met a handsome man who insisted he wanted to marry me. I hadn’t planned on finding someone to marry so young. I took to a lot of prayer and soul-searching. In the end, I told him yes, and we were married when I was nineteen.
Recently a friend asked me if I felt like I was ready to get married so young. Her question gave me pause. Do I regret getting married? No, I was sure and I am sure that I made the right choice for me.
But was I ready?
I remember sitting in a literature class my sophomore year of college (after we were married) discussing a story in which a man and woman married at the end who didn’t love each other in a romantic way. Their marriage was one of convenience, because they wanted the same things. Their goals allowed them each the space they needed to achieve what they wanted. I realized that my definition of love focused on pursuing the same goals and supporting each other.
Similarly, marriage is an adherence to the commitment you make with God and with your spouse. I was ready for marriage in the sense that I was committed, and I intended to always keep the covenants that I had made with God and my husband. I was prepared to commit to never backing out of our marriage. I knew that however hard life became, we would work through it together.
Did I anticipate everything marriage would bring? No. Did I know how hard I would have to fight to give our marriage the time and attention it needed in order to thrive? No.
We have relied on the Lord to help us stay committed to our goals, and that has kept us going. When I got married, I knew that my husband and I were in pursuit of the same spiritual, familial, and financial goals. We’ve grown and developed in those goals together over the years.
I didn’t know myself at 19 as well as I do now—8 years later—but I knew the most important parts about myself. I knew who I was eternally and who I wanted to be. I knew my husband was spiritually able and willing to walk that path of development with me. Our marriage and family has given us both the opportunity to become more and learn about ourselves.
Marriage has been the best experience for me through my twenties.
I’ve learned some things during our marriage that some people already have figured out when they get married. I’ve seen how all of our paths of learning and development are unique. I wouldn’t trade mine for anything, but I have seen how so many people around me have a much different path. The opportunity for marriage—for the commitment to God and our spouse—comes to all of us at different stages of life, and I have seen how so many of our unique paths are important to each of our spiritual journeys.
Was I ready to get married at 19? In the most important, spiritual sense, I was. Marriage leads us to a different spiritual plane of understanding God, ourselves, and our relationship with him. For me, at 19, the time was right.