I wrote a guest post for Katie of NFP and Me a while back and now she is returning the favor. And she has such a great story to tell: she is a young wife AND in med school! I know what it is like to be married to a grad student, but I love hearing it from the opposite perspective (and I have an inkling that med school is quite a bit more strenuous that my husband's PhD program). Many people wait until school is over to get married, and for many people that is perhaps the best choice for them, but Katie reminds us that there are many people out there that choose to marry during school...and are better for it!
I never dreamt I would get married young. My group of friends tended to not really date guys, but instead just hang out with a group of people. I had just one boyfriend in high school and my three best friends never dated anyone either. (My pride is insisting upon informing you that this wasn't because we weren't popular. My best friend was the homecoming queen. Honest.) We just preferred to hang out in a group with our guy friends and leave it there. I think that is one of the advantages to going to the same small school your whole life. All the guys become brotherly and you could NEVER imagine dating them. Gross. So my whole life I’ve had one guy I actually ever called my boyfriend and just a couple that I would have said I was “talking” to (What does that even mean anyways?). That is until Steven came along.
|High School Graduation|
|In case you can't tell by all the teeth, I was excited.|
I met Steven when I was 19 through our college’s Newman Center. We were both in the middle of a reversion to our Catholic faith and couldn’t have met at a more perfect time. Funny how God knows these things. We started dating in the spring of 2008 and we got engaged in the fall of 2009. Our dating story was pretty typical except for the year of long distance when Steven did work with Americorp in St. Louis. The engagement and married life is where it gets a little more…fun? Sure we’ll call it fun.
We got engaged just after I submitted my standardized applications for medical school. (Quick rundown of applying to med school- standardized application, then supplemental application which varies by school, then the on campus interview, then up to a month before acceptance or rejection letter.) We had no idea what our plans would be after I graduated, where we would be living, what kind of job Steven would have, or if I would even be accepted that year. It was a stressful time for a Type A person like me. Fortunately God came through with one of those “I’ve got this” moments. I was accepted into 4 medical schools including my number one pick, KU.
But everything can't be perfect. School started two days before the wedding which was stressful and meant no honeymoon. As if the first year of marriage and first year of med school weren't enough, it was also the first time I'd ever lived outside of my parents’ home and outside of my small hometown of 1500 people. It was quite the adjustment.
And by adjustment I mean living hell. I was studying all the time, Steven had just started a new job, I had to do dishes, and laundry, and vacuum (Isn't that what moms are for?), and I was trying to make new friends. As you could imagine I was more than stressed. It showed in my schooling and in my marriage. Steven and I fought about the dishes, laundry, and vacuuming. I kept thinking "What the hell did I get myself into? I can't possibly keep up with everything.” I felt inadequate in every role I was partaking in.
Those first few months were really hard as I tried to define myself as a wife, student, classmate, and daughter. But when I look back on it now I have no idea how I would have gotten through it without Steven. He was my rock. Being married added to some of the stress, of course, but it took away tenfold of what it added. Steven may not have been the best at seeing the sink was full of dirty dishes but he took care of all the bills, health insurance (and car, and renter's, and life), and did all of the rest of our finances. When school got to be too much, he was there to play a game or quiz me over the immune system or, most importantly, just sit and listen to me vent.
Maybe for some people holding off on marriage until after school, after getting a certain job, or some other worthy achievement may sound ideal. I am thankful that isn't how it worked out for us. I cannot imagine this past year and a half of my life without Steven. We all have our cross to carry and right now the countless hours of studying, devotion to the God of medicine, and infuriating emotional roller coaster that is medical school is mine. I am so very thankful that God blessed me with my very own Simon. Someone who was fearful at first of this world we would be navigating for the next 7-8 years, someone who has since carried me through my weakest of times, someone who gives so much of themselves for me to be able to fulfill my duty on this earth. I am blessed that I found him at the young age I did because it means that I have that many more years to love him, grow with him, and hopefully, if I'm lucky, help him as much as he helps me.
Katie blogs at NFP and Me about her life as a pro-life Catholic medical student (quite the enigma), being a wife to Steven and dog-mom to Jack, and you guessed it: the joys and pains of practicing Natural Family Planning.
Please check out the other posts (including some great guest posts) in my On Marrying Young series.