Wednesday, May 15, 2013

On Marrying Young

Caleb and I got engaged last August, and I couldn't stop flashing my ring around and gushing to whoever would listen about our engagement (the story of which I will write about soon, because it is precious.) I was back in school and in the midst of awkward new class introductions where they ask you to tell something interesting about yourself.  So of course, my interesting fact was always that I had just gotten engaged, and everyone (ok, the girls at least) would ooh and ahh over my ring.
When I had a meeting for the literary magazine that my school publishes, we had a similar "go around and introduce yourself" moment. Hello, my name is Hannah, I'm a junior English student and I'm engaged yay! 
My interesting fact was not so warmly received this time.
To be fair, it was only one guy.  A professor.  Rather than congratulating me, or even keeping his mouth shut and nodding curtly, this guy gave me the ol' creeper up-down and asked "How old are you?"
Unsure of where this was going, I answered. "Um... 21."
The professor snorted and rolled his eyes. "What a waste."
That was enough to quell my interest in helping to edit the literary digest (your loss, douchey prof, I'm a pretty awesome editor).  But that wasn't it.  I later heard that this professor proceeded to proclaim how stupid he thought I was for being engaged at 21 to a majority of his classes.
If that was the moral of this story, I would conclude it here by saying that tenure is a joke and all the schooling in the world can't teach people tact and class.
But that's not really what I'm talking about here.  I'm talking about someone's right to make very personal, intimate decisions about their life without seeking the approval - or having to deal with the unsolicited opinions or thinly veiled "advice" - of everyone and their cousin because of their age.
If this question had been asked and I had answered 16, this eye-rolling, sarcastic reaction would be understandable. 16 and 17 year olds feel really grown up because they can drive and dictate their own schedules, as well as work to support themselves (at least in some capacity), and these freedoms make them (all of us, at that age) feel like we're ready to make other huge decisions, like who we think we're going to be with forever.  This generally leads to a big high school heartbreak with some bad decisions made along the way.
However, by age 18 we're allowed to vote and given a voice in the fate of our country. Not only that, but we can make the decision to join the military and risk our lives for that country. By 21 we can buy alcohol, and may have or almost have a college degree.
Call me crazy, but at 21 I feel like we are pretty well equipped to make a decision like who we want to marry.  If that is our choice.  For lots of 21 year olds its not.  And that's cool too.  But this business of "21 is a time to be wild, sow wild oats, etc ect" is silly and a childish mode of thought.  Whether someone needs time to "be wild" is a judgment to be made by every individual, not something that can be ascribed to an entire age group.
Another argument I hear is that 21 years is not long enough to know who you are.
I feel like I've known who I was since I was 19.  If it took you longer, that's fine.  But don't tell me that I don't know who I am just because you didn't at my age.
I also hear "But there are so many fish in the sea!"
Fist of all, fish freak me out so this analogy does nothing for me. Secondly, yeah, there are lots of people out there.  But I think that when you meet the person that makes all other people pale in comparison, who fully accepts everything about you and about whom you can accept everything, someone that can laugh with you and cry with you when you need it and continually puts your needs above their own if you let them, who's needs you can put above your own without feeling put upon, and someone that you can be silent with as well as talk for hours, someone who makes you never look at anyone else the same way you look at them... why would the fact that there are other people in the world matter, when there is no one else like this person?
Caleb is that person for me.
And on the flip side, here are some more tangible, practical reasons to tie the knot now:
1. Residency: Currently I am considered an Alabama resident going to school in Tennessee, and therefore I've been working my butt off on a scholarship that waives my out-of-state tuition.  Once Caleb and I are married, I'll be a Tennessee resident, and the scholarship won't be an issue, so I can focus more on my job, my grades, and finishing my degree.
2. Tax breaks: Caleb will be going back to school after I graduate, and if we're married, he'll get lots more back on FAFSA.
3. Living arrangements: We won't be living together until after we get married, and consolidating our places into one with one rent will be much easier financially.
But the biggest reason is this: because we love each other, we know that we will be spending the rest of our lives together, and we would like that to begin as soon as possible.
If you don't agree with it, you don't have to come :) You also don't have to tell me your opinion. Because frankly, I don't give a flying fart.  Shocker, I know.


  1. Good for you! My husband and I met when we were 15 in high school and we married right after we finished college. When you know who you want to marry, you know!

    Congrats on your engagement!

    1. Thank you! I totally agree - when you know, you know!

  2. it sucks that some idiot's comment made you feel like you had to justify your life and your decisions to others. At the end of the day, it's your life, make your own decisions and ignore the haters! (but lbr, based on the fact that he complained about you to a number of classes, it sounds to me like that guy was pretty bitter...)

    congratulations! being married while a university student can be hard, but it's totally worth it :)



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