It's been a while since there has been a new post in my On Marrying Young series, yet it's still one of the biggest traffic sources for my blog, meaning there are tons of women out there looking for some advice and experience in this area. I also receive correspondence from time to time from women wanting to share their stories of marrying young. Leigh was one of these women who emailed me a bit about herself along with the offer to write about her young marriage. (Have I mentioned how much I love hearing from readers?) After reading her email, I specifically asked Leigh to write a bit about going to grad school with a little one at home since I've had several readers ask me about this. Enjoy!
Since getting married when my husband and I were just out of college and 21 years old, we have had the adventure of a lifetime! My friends and family were excited but anxious for me. I got bizarre questions like, “Does this mean you have to ask him if you want to buy a Coke now?” and “Are you really going to change your name?”.
I think it’s difficult for a lot of people to fathom giving up their individual wants for another person. I’ll admit I was quick to dismiss a lot of their questions, thinking to myself, “Ha, I am so much more mature than that”. But the truth is, I don’t know if I was.
The first few months were blissful, but challenging. There were small arguments about things like where the dishes should go after a meal. Then there was the fact that he liked olives on his pizza, and I think they are possibly the most disgusting food on the planet.
But I think the best part about getting married young, is the fact that I got to, and still get to, grow up with my husband. We hadn’t formed a million and one habits prior to marriage, so it’s been easier to form habits as a couple now that we are married.
Flash forward some time; I am now in my last semester of grad school for occupational therapy, my husband is working and we have an almost 3 year old. The decision for me to go to grad school was an extremely challenging one. My daughter was really young, and I didn’t want to leave her. My husband was working and couldn’t help out with childcare, we were broke (still are), and it would require us to move further from the city, which meant my husband would have to commute about an hour each way.
But we decided to do it anyway. The school was an accelerated program, so I’d be in and out quickly. My family was also close enough to help out. But, that doesn’t mean I didn’t cry my way through the whole first semester and question whether or not I had made the stupidest choice of my life.
But so many aspects of my recent life have been enjoyable! My classmates just adore my daughter. I’ve gotten to bring her and my husband to a few events. My studies correlate directly to parenting, which has been helpful. She even got to come to class with me one day! I also love that I am so young, so I have so much more time to have more children and work a little.
No matter how many great reasons I give myself, I still have hard days. It helps me to think back to the Gospel that was spoken at my wedding:
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of
mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his
house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the
winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because
it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these
words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish
man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams
rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with
a great crash."- Matthew 7: 24-27
In the Homily at our wedding, the priest spoke about rooting your life and your marriage in God. God gives you a good foundation and will keep a marriage strong, just like the house built on rock. I have found that my faith foundation has given me the strength to keep going even when times get tough. That and my husband’s tremendous support!
So to anyone who is thinking about getting married young, going to grad school, and having a baby (or any combination of those things), I will tell you truthfully that it is not the easiest route. But everything in life comes with its own set of challenges. I have found great joy in my family and in the work I am studying. I truly wouldn’t have it any other way.
Mama Leigh is a young Catholic wife, mother and grad student. In all of the “extra time” she has she blogs over at Coffee with Mama Leigh about food, faith, crafts and budgeting.