It seems rare to see very young people getting married these days, and when you do, they are more often than not given looks of dismay and concerned words of wisdom about how hard marriage is and how they should perhaps wait a while to get to know themselves better. I, however, disagree. Oh sure, if people want to wait to get married until they are older, that is fine too. But younger isn”t always worse.
I married very young, and after 15 years of marriage, I can conclusively say that I believe young marriages can not only work, but thrive, and can become something that allows you to find yourself, be yourself, and grow as a couple and as an individual.
So for the young married or engaged folks: I have been there, done that, have the ring, the pictures, and the memories, and here is what I have learned.
Things can often feel out of control no matter how old you are or how long you”ve been married. Having a stable center out of which to draw will help you maintain control of yourself and your reactions. My husband and I rely on God and His Word as guides for every area of living – especially marriage. With love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control as foundations of our marriage, along with a constant source of grace to live these out, we have found a way to combat situations, not each other; a way to battle the storms of life, not each other; a way to stand against the problem, not each other. Find a center, and draw from it.
Many people believe that, if you marry young, you never can fully know yourself or grow to be who you were meant to be. This, my friends, is far from the truth. I met my husband when I was 13. We began dating when I was 14, became engaged when I was 17, and married when I was 18. Believe me when I tell you that the love and supportive nudging of a stable spouse is the best way to find yourself, or become all that you can be. Just as a child grows, learns, and matures best in the nurturing environment of a loving home, so do adults.
I got married while I working as a Certified Nurses Assistant, but I had a passion for writing and babies. My husband supported me as I tried to “find myself” by doing daycare, getting into sales, and being a Virtual Assistant. I finally found myself, though, through his patience and love, and I am now a work-from-home mommy and independently contracted blogger. Listen up, young marrieds, grow together. This is the only way to do it!
Believe the best in each other.
This is essential regardless of how old you are or how long you have been married. When your partner seems hurtful or rude, believe the best in them and that they didn”t mean to hurt you. Be ready always to believe the best intentions and motives in your spouse. Selfishness is death for a marriage, but selfless love that isn”t touchy or fretful breathes fresh life into a marriage.
Marriage cannot and does not work without open, honest, and loving communication – ever – period. When there are questions, when you are happy, when there are problems, when you are hungry, when you want sex, when you don”t want sex, when you want babies, when you are done with babies, when you need a vacation, when you want to go home, when you are struggling, when you are hurt, when you like something, when you hate something, when you need something, when you can, when you feel like you can”t…please, for the love of marriage, communicate. Never stop. Ever.
Have fun together.
Studies show that being friends and having fun together is a marriage saver, and my husband and I have found that to be true. When you are playful together, you automatically are spending quality time together, opening the door to deeper communication, and allowing for greater sexual desire. Begin a new hobby together or learn more about what your partner likes to do. My husband and I got into Jeeping the Colorado Rockies, playing board games, shooting pool, and sitting on our front porch with a glass of wine on summer evenings. Whatever you find to do, have fun with it! Laugh, flirt, get dirty, shower together, race each other, challenge one another, and keep it up after the babies come. Which leads me to my final point.
Keep each other as a high priority after the kids come.
Basketball coach John Wooden famously said, “The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” This is a profound truth, and can be said of a mother too. Children thrive when they have the security of a loving home, and that security can only come when mom and dad are fully committed to each other. It is easy to allow the kids” needs to come before your spouse”s, but don”t give in to that temptation. There is a balance, of course, and as selfless partners, we can give and take here. But the marriage relationship must be kept strong and in high priority if we are to give our kids the best life possible. And the rewards are wonderful for us as husbands and wives too!