I am pleased to introduce yet another guest post in my On Marrying Young series. The response that the series has received has really blown me away. It's a topic that's been on my mind quite a bit since I "married young" last year, and I'm glad that other people can relate.
Liz found my blog while she was looking for other Catholic “newlyweds”. Well, she certainly found a like soul in me, because we soon discovered that we were married on the very same day! I love Liz's guest post because she does a great job explaining why they decided to get married when they did, as well as making it clear that it wasn't a decision they made lightly. I have no doubt that they made the right choice!
Living in New York, we are considered to have married young. We were both 26 when we got married in July 2010. However, we do have several friends that got married right after college. Interestingly, we got married because we thought it was the right time in our lives. My husband had just passed the NYS Bar Exam and secured a well paying job. I finished my Master's degree and had stable employment.
We often say that we have been "married" for 7 years. Seven years ago we started dating. Ten years ago we met on the Freshmen Retreat at our Catholic college. When we met, I was interested in him but we became best friends and stayed like that for the next few years. We decided to start dating during our senior year of college. We were faithful to each other from day one. There was little discussion as to whether we would stay together after college. The hubby decided to move to NY for law school and I moved home to find a job. Based on our lifestyle over the years, marriage wasn't that large of a step for us. The transition from a dating couple to a married couple was smooth and came with ease. Many people often tell me that the first year or so of marriage is the hardest. Well, if that’s the case then the rest of our lives should be a picnic!
When the hubby proposed, one of the things he said was that he didn’t want to be apart anymore. He decided that he would propose when I was leaving him at the train station on Sunday night. He would come each weekend to stay with my parents and I and on Sunday he would go back to school. We hated being separated so much and living together without the benefit of marriage was just not an option.
Since my husband had been to law school and I had been to graduate school during the time we were dating, both of us are saddled with very large school loans. Many of our friends have chosen to get married without completing upper level degrees. Others choose to live with their significant other without getting married. We were blessed to have our parents contribution toward our wedding. They were both in favor of the marriage and continue to support us with their love and encouragement each day.
Presently, we live on a strict budget, without children (YET!), in a rented apartment, with one car, without cable, without an internet connection, and without a land line. If we had waited to get married, things would have been different. We may have been more financially stable and been able to have a few more luxuries. However, we are comfortable and happy in our simple life together. We do not feel as though we are missing out on things. Many of our friends cannot imagine their lives without a big house, multiple cars, and various technologies. We cannot imagine our lives without one another.
We are fortunate to have the hubby’s parents as a wonderful example of making a life together from very little. The hubby’s father was a missionary and the hubby’s mother lived overseas. Due to political turbulence in the country they were in, they had to return to the United States. Upon returning to the U.S., the hubby’s father was in his 40s and his mother was in her 30s. The hubby was born within the year. They eventually bought a home, both found jobs, and the hubby was well educated. This is everything we would like for our family.
The hubby’s parents always told us that marriage was not something to enter into lightly. You get married once and you work through the difficult times. There is no divorce. Marriage was something we never thought twice about. We frequently talked about "when we are married" when we were still in college. In the weeks leading up to our wedding, many people asked us if we were nervous because we were getting married so young. Both of us were surprised by this question. Why would we get married if we were nervous about spending the rest of our life with the other person. Many people thought this was a big decision for people who were so young. Well, we made that decision and many others responsibly and with great thought. Our choice to marry at 26 was something that we don't regret.
It may take us awhile before we can buy a home but, we will be making a life together from the bottom up. One couple that we look up to is my husband's Godparents. They have been married 50 years and were married in their very early 20s. After all this time, they laugh together, dance together and celebrate each day as if they were still newlyweds. I love that their marriage is so alive. They will be the first to tell you that marrying young as immigrants wasn't easy but they don't regret it for a minute. They are able to see their children grow up and have children. They may even live to see their great-grandchildren. Isn't that a wonderful thought?
One of the reasons we got married young was because we would like to be young parents. We would like our parents to be young grandparents. I grew up with older grandparents who passed away before my youngest brother was even in high school. My husband never met three out of four of his grandparents. We would love for our children to be able to enjoy younger grandparents. We would be thrilled if they were able to spend lots of time to together and experience all kids of things. If we were to have married later, we would have had children later and therefore our parents would be older.
My husband and I never felt like we were getting married young because we have friends that were married far younger than we were. We felt like we were both completely educated and mature enough to enter into this next phase of our lives. When we first got married we weren't ready to have children financially. But, over the past year we have seriously considered if we will ever be really ready. Is there ever a good time? Will we have have enough stability to have a child? Is it really up to us or is it up to God? We have decided that ultimately it is up to God. Why should we stand in the way?
Our faith has always been important to us. We both attended Catholic school from Kindergarten through college. We were raised in faith filled homes. (To give you a reference point, my brother is studying to be a priest in Rome.) We were told when we put our names into the lottery for the retreat (where we ultimately met) that if we were picked, we were picked for a reason. Clearly, God brought us together. While we were dating, we attended church with my family in the church where I grew up. When we visit other places, we made it a point to attend church wherever we were. We are grateful that God brought us together and has blessed us with so much. When it came time to plan our wedding, we were definitely getting married in a Roman Catholic church.
Our Pre-Cana experience left much to be desired. We had had many conversations with one another about all of the “important things”. We had never considered NFP prior to Pre-Cana but, unfortunately our class leaders just popped in a video and that was the only exposure that we had to it. Just before getting married, we did a lot of research and decided that this was the way we were going to go. I only knew one other person who went that route and she was a great support. Recently, we decided that there was no longer a reason to postpone pregnancy and became open to life.
While we are young, we know that there is an appointed time for everything and God will decide what path we will take.
Update: Liz and her husband indeed were open to life and are expecting their first child in May 2011! God is good!
You can read more about Liz at Tales From Astoria where she blogs about life as newlyweds in NY, when she's not working as a teacher at a Christian school.
Please check out the other posts (including some great guest posts) in my On Marrying Young series.