Blah blah marriage blah blah blah Why We Wed- let’s get straight to the point. Jaclyn from Newlywedness has amazing wedding hair. It makes me want to read what she says about weddings. How about you? Beyond that. she’s smart and funny and one more lady to add to the “married sort of young” group in our submissions. …AND she has really, really good wedding hair.
(photos by Emily Foster)
People look at me funny when I mention my husband.
It’s a little disconcerting.
I watch the thought process unfold as they give me the once-over. Husband? they think, examining my eyes for wrinkles. She’s too young to have a husband.
Unless! Ah, a revelation. Maybe I’m older than they thought. After a few moments for propriety’s sake (or not) they ask me how old I am. And I usually tell them.
I’m twenty-three. I got married at twenty-two. Cue comments regarding how young I am, drawing out the last syllable in hopes of receiving an explanation.
This is not that explanation.
That explanation is the one I stumble on, the one that comes out sounding like an excuse no matter how many times I’m faced with the question. (“We’ve been together for almost eight years, since high school… Well, we lived together for a while, so…”)
I did not marry Dan for any of the reasons people expect of 22-year-olds. I am not accidentally pregnant or ultra-religious or trying to escape the tyranny of overprotective parents. I am not really anything other than absolutely sure of him, and of us, more sure than I’ve ever been of anything. So sure that I don’t really think it was ever actually my choice.
I met Dan when I was fifteen. I had just been dumped by an exceptionally large jerk, and a friend from a different school invited me out to a party that Dan happened to be hosting. That night, I spoke with him for about thirty seconds. But I left with what I can only describe as a completely calm knowingness that we were going to be together.
Five years later, we were living together in Toronto so I could finish my degree. We had talked a little bit about getting engaged, but nothing had been decided for certain.
That summer, I went on a trip to a cottage with my mom. Dan stayed back in the city for work. One night, I sat out on the dock sipping a beer and thinking about life and love and the shininess of stars. I looked up at the sky and very earnestly asked the Universe for its opinion regarding whether or not Dan and I should get married.
No big booming voice came down from the heavens, but the answer was clear: Eh, whatever. That part’s up to you. You’ll be together either way.
So we got engaged. Not because it was the only choice, but because it was the choice that involved so many good and wonderful things – friends and family and love and togetherness and parties and a piece of paper that declares we belong to one another. I’m not convinced that any of these things are actually necessary, but they’re certainly excellent, and I’m glad we chose this route.
We belong together. This was as true at fifteen and seventeen as it is now. It’s as true as it would be if we had waited until our thirties to marry (you know, just to be prudent) or if we decided to keep the $200 marriage license fee and spend it on caramel corn instead. It’s true when we’re laughing at the same ridiculously obscure Simpsons reference and it’s true when we’re yelling at each other over stupid stuff we can never remember anyway.
This is hard to explain to a judgemental stranger in a sound bite, and there’s something about personal questions that turn me into a blathering idiot. So I’m looking forward to the day when nobody’s surprised that we’re married, when we can finally talk about something else.
Seeing as I still get carded at bars, it could be a while until that happens. But even if nobody else understands, I take comfort in the knowledge that my own sure-ness of us outweighs the concern of a thousand strangers, that I found the right guy, even if the timeline was a little inconvenient.
I figured this out. I did this part right.