atlanta · lessons · life & love · relationships · self care · self love · wisdom

Why Marriage Before Age 30 Should be Illegal

You feel me?!

At this point, readers should be aware there’s no sugar-coating going on here. I write exactly what I feel, and sometimes it’s raw and uncensored. So if you strongly disagree with where this post is headed, that’s your opinion and this is mine. Variety is the spice of life.

Back to the subject at hand.

Sometimes, if we’re keepin it real over here, I wish when I told my parents at the ripe old age of 22 that I was getting married, they were legally able to send me to jail for a year. If I spent 365 days in an orange jumpsuit eating stale bread and sleeping on a mattress as thick as a piece of matzoh STILL wanting to be married, I could do so. In 7 years. When I turned 30.

Hindsight is 20/20, and it’s always easier to see the forest through the trees when you’re removed from the situation, but I have NO idea what on earth possessed my ex and I to make a lifelong commitment to each other without having our own individual identities first.

The young woman I was at 22 was naïve. I was eager to compromise, forsaking my own beliefs, my own convictions, just to be the image of what I believed the perfect wife to be. I put plenty of things on a shelf – including friendships, family, career, hobbies I wanted to pursue – all to support my ex as he completed law school, studied for three state bar exams, and dealt with the traumatic loss of his mother.

Now don’t mistake the message here. I’m no martyr. My ex was a fundamentally good person, and we divorced on as good of terms as two people could who were taking legal action to detach themselves from one another.

The nights watching TV with headphones on so he could study, our annual Vegas trip tradition (sweet baby Jesus, I hate Vegas), the Chihuahua I didn’t want, the house he bought during a lunch hour without letting me see it… I was a willing participant in all of it. I always had the option to say no. To put my foot down. I chose not to. I thought if I appeased him, he’d be happy. Happy husband, happy life.

But what about happy wife? While I was so busy trying to make him happy, who was putting me first? No one, honestly. One major problem with getting married so young, is our communication skills are typically still operating at an elementary level. And when you don’t communicate, what happens? Building blocks of resentment pile up. One atop another. And next thing you know, you’ve built walls around yourself. You’re unfullfilled and at a loss on how to “get your happy back.”

Our early 20s are also a time for exploration. Explore the world. Explore yourself. Explore others. Get out there and live life – figuring out what brings you joy and what brings you pain. If we prematurely attach ourselves to someone else, without having a clear understanding of who we are, how can we be the best version of ourselves for a partner?

There was a time when I hated the phrase “my other half” – shouldn’t we be whole on our own? But what I’ve learned only after my marriage, divorce, and all the years thereafter… is that yes, we should first be whole. However, once we’re good and ready, it’s okay to want that better half. The yin to our yang. The peanut (or almond) butter to our jelly. The icing on our cupcake.

I think we’re all put on this earth to give and receive love. What a wonderful feeling it is to have someone on your mind before your mind shuts down to sleep, only to have them reappear again when you wake the following morning. Someone to lean on through life’s ebbs and flows. Someone to share the highs and lows of your day. A TV-watching, pizza-eating best friend who brings home your favorite flowers for no reason at all.

It’s not a sign of weakness to admit we want someone to complete us, once we’re good and ready. Just be sure you know the reflection in the mirror, so as you lie next to that wonderful partner of yours, you both know exactly who they’re completing. 

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