My adolescent marriage {on my anniversary}

My adolescent marriage {on my anniversary}

Today is my 14th anniversary.

Since I started blogging in 2011, we’ve celebrated our 11th, then our 12th, and our lucky 13th anniversary.

I’ve had more conversations than usual this spring—just coincidentally—with friends who’ve gotten divorced, or are in the middle of one. Those talks are sobering: I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what makes our marriage work, and what makes us go off the rails sometimes.

Will and I married at 21 and 22. There’s so much I loved about marrying young (I wonder if that’s because of our personality types—I’m an INFP—but that’s another post for another day) but with the perspective of years it’s easier to see how that could have gone either way.

Fourteen years. Some people would say our marriage is in its own sort of adolescence right now. That never made sense to me, although, ironically, I do see a parallel between our fourteen-year marriage and the twenty-something years.

Meg Jay, who wrote a wonderful book on making the most of your twenties, says that one of the biggest challenges of the twenty-something years is to “slide, not decide.” It’s too easy, in your twenties, to walk blindly down the path of least resistance instead of living with intention during this decade.

I’m not a twenty-something anymore, but I recognize those same challenges in my fourteen-year marriage. We have four kids and two jobs and interesting side gigs and a fair amount of craziness in our day-to-day. I hate to say this, but we are busy. Life is packed.

It would be so easy, when it comes to our relationship, to walk down that path of least resistance, which—in my mind—looks a whole lot like long-term survival mode instead of consciously, deliberately, intentionally nurturing this relationship that means so much to me.

I understand how that could happen to a marriage, and how it does happen, everyday.

But on our anniversary, I’m reminded of why we went all in and how glad I am, (almost) every day, to put my lot in with this guy.

Reflections welcome in comments, whether you’re not-yet-married, hope-to-be-married, swear-you’ll-never-marry, or sixty-years-married. 

P.S. More thoughts on marriage.

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74 comments

  1. Anne says:

    Happy Anniversary, Anne and Will! 🙂 Hope you find some time to enjoy the occasion.

    I will have to see what type my husband is and report back. I am INFJ, if I remember right. That *would* make for an interesting post! We mark 10 years this October and were 27 and two days from 27 when we married. I’d say we are past adolescence, past the quarter life mark….hmmm…nearing our 30s?? 🙂

  2. Sarah says:

    We got married at the same age! Celebrated our ten year anniversary and I realized how I was celebrating just what you talked about – purposefulness, choices. Maybe not as exciting as celebrating a beginning but special just the sam.

    Here’s the reflection I wrote: http://bit.ly/1ocQ8kr

  3. So many thoughts, not enough time! First of all, YES. A year or two ago, I heard someone say to never stop celebrating. They said that when kids come along, you get busy with birthdays and full-out Halloween celebrating, etc., and you tend to let anniversaries fall by the wayside for a while. But what a perfect time to celebrate the progress you’ve made as a couple and to remind yourself of how important this marriage thing is to you. 🙂 (Don’t think I’ve ever shared that on my blog – I might have to!)

    Also, I LOVE how you link up to old posts so naturally and so often in your writing. I always think of you when I do that. (Like, “Anne would totally link this up – I should too!”) And thanks for sending some people my way today by linking to your marriage section! Have a great night!

  4. Happy Anniversary! I think its awesome that you got married young. It seems like it would make two people develop together, instead of develop independently and then try to fit together. But I know that there are challenges either way! Regardless, 14 years is awesome!

  5. Hannah says:

    Happy Anniversary, Anne. We just celebrated 14 years of marriage. We were 22 and 23 when we married. Three kids, two dogs, tons of travel, jobs, adventures, and ups and downs later, we are still all in. But it takes work. Sometimes the work feels like work and sometimes it feels like nothing at all. In it for life, though.

  6. Happy anniversary!

    I married at 25. Husband was 36. Different experiences of our 20s and 30s, to say the least. I don’t think he would have done well getting married at 22 — but since it wouldn’t have been to me in that case, all for the best!

  7. Lori P says:

    Happy Anniversary! My hubby and I have been married 26 years. We married when we were both 20. It can take a lot of work, but oh so worth it. Wouldn’t change it for anything 🙂

  8. My husband and I are coming up on five years. We also married young and I’m an INFP and have loved being married through my twenties. It is always interesting to me to talk with other couples who married later in life and get their perspective. They often seem shocked we married so young and don’t feel it would have been wise for them to marry at that age. I think it’s more about a mindset than an age though. We were young and still had a lot of maturing and growing to do, but we also were old enough to make a commitment and a conscious decision to stick to it. Just my two cents.

  9. Lauren says:

    My husband and I married when we were both 21. Unlike most of our culture today, we waited to have sex until we were married, and I’m upfront to say that’s one reason we married before we finished college. We were tired of the fight of waiting after dating almost four years! Anywho, the commitment, the covenant relationship we entered into with each other and the Lord, was real, so we celebrate twelve years of wedded bliss on Sunday, the 27th of July. We have five kids from 15 months to nine years old. We almost always go on an anniversary trip together. We live nowhere near family, so dating regularly is more difficult, what with both finding someone we trust with this many kiddos and the need to pay for that, but a once-a-year getaway, we find essential. My husband says the more he’s able to treat me like a girlfriend, the better he feels about me. Dates help with that. Putting kids to bed early helps with that. Spending several days alone together helps with that. Happy belated anniversary!

  10. Nanci says:

    Happy Anniversary number 14.
    We are approaching anniversary number 53. We have had our ups and downs as everyone, but we are still best friends despite our very different personalities. Don’t remember our letters. Lots of different eras – almost like different people then and now. We were 20 (me) and 22. Total support of one another is one of the strengths that makes it great. We are both different readers – occasionally a book will overlap for us. He is action and suspense where I am dreamy, fantasy, great long sagas, family stories over generations etc. Life is good past kids with grand and great grand children.

  11. Janet Miles says:

    Happy 14th! We started later, I was 29 and he was 33 and we just had our 33rd. I am his third wife and he is my second husband. None of our previous marriages lasted longer than a year but we are still going strong. As you say, though, it takes conscious and deliberate nurturing! If you found the right one, it is worth it. From the beginning I always stressed that we needed to have date nights, especially after the kids came, because after the kids grow up and go, we need to remember why we got together in the first place. We are now at that time where the kids have grown and gone and we continue to have fun with each other.

  12. Joy in Alabama says:

    Happy 14th!

    My husband and I got married when he was just-turned-20 and I was 17; we celebrated 40 years last December. We’ve had good times and bad times but we made a solid commitment from the beginning that we would never divorce, so we’ve always worked out whatever has happened. I can honestly say I love him more and more every year and appreciate and respect him. He’s a great husband and a great father and he loves me and takes care of me. I pray you and your husband will have AT LEAST 40 years, too!

  13. Happy anniversary! All the divorces makes me sad so I’m thrilled to hear that you two are going strong! We celebrated our 25th last Sept and are almost empty nesters (one senior left!) I homeschooled our kids and when they were little I would cry at the thought of an empty nest. However, since we nurtured our relationship through the tough years where the days were long, we are actually looking forward to it! We celebrated our silver anniversary with my parents who celebrated their gold with a mega party! You can read about it here:

    http://www.makingthemostofeveryday.com/anniversary-celebrations/

  14. JZ says:

    Happy 17th Anniversary! I missed this post the first time around, but couldn’t resist commenting. What a delightful surprise to see you quote Meg Jay! She and her wonderful family are our next-door neighbors. She is incredibly kind and has a new book coming out this fall called Super Normal. The way she describes it, I can’t wait to get my hands on it and dig in for a good read!

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