This Sunday, my husband and I will celebrate our 12th anniversary.
I’m 33–I don’t feel old enough to have been married 12 years! But I was just 21, and he was 22. It’s easy to rack up some serious mileage by your 30s when you marry that young.
I never intended to get married that early. In high school and early college, my friends and I had declared 26 to be the perfect age to marry: old enough to explore the world on your own for a bit, young enough to enjoy a few years of coupledom before starting a family.
But I met the man who would become my husband in high school. It was not love at first sight. But he was a perfect kind of friend, the kind I’d never had before. Even after we started dating, 17-year old me wouldn’t have believed it if you’d told her she’d end up marrying that boy. But after a few years I couldn’t imagine living without him.
We had a few spectacular breakups along the way, but by the end of college, we were sure and it was time. Neither of us expected or even wanted to marry that young, but in the wise words of Harry Burns, “when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
But since we married early, we’re almost always the outliers in our circles of friends and groups we’re involved in. We’re always skewing the demographics. We were the first to get married, then the first to have kids. When I had my first baby at 24, all my new “mom friends” were 5 years older than me. And my kids are nearly too old to play with my old friends’ kids, because many of those friends did follow my old plan: they got married at 26 and started having babies at 29.
I wouldn’t trade getting married at 21 for anything. I feel like in many ways we’ve grown up together, and I love that. Other people have different stories (and oh, how I’d love to hear them!), but today I’m remembering my own.
Today, I’m grateful for my man–and the path that’s brought us to our 12th anniversary.
For more anniversary musings, visit this post from the archives: On My Anniversary: My Best Advice for a Happy Marriage.
How has real life surprised you?