Us walking to our hotel after the reception
I read an article a few days ago that I have to share. It's called Marry Young, and in it, Julia Shaw writes boldly and convincingly and wisely about marriage as a journey, an adventure, and most importantly, a beginning.
When I was engaged, I read and heard so many stories of brides who felt a post-wedding let-down, who felt sadness that the big day they had spent months planning was now over, wishing they could do it all again the next weekend. I was bracing myself for at least a little bit of that feeling as our wedding came to a close and guests began to leave and the party began to wind down.
But I didn't feel it. Not one bit. One of my girlfriends asked me before my husband and I left the reception if I felt sad it was all over. And I said truthfully, "Not at all. I feel thrilled and happy that this day has been fulfilled. That it's completed." And that feeling continued into the next day, and days, and weeks, and months. Not sad that my wedding was over, but satisfied that it was completed.
Because all along, I viewed my wedding as a beginning, not an end. Not the culmination of our engagement and our months of preparation, but the dawning of a lifelong commitment, a friendship, our marriage.
Julia's article speaks to this very point. Our generation tends to view marriage as an end, something to do after all of your post-college schooling has been finished, after an ideal point in your career has been reached, when your finances are in order, the debt payed off, when the young single years have truly been experienced to the fullest. When you are really and truly a grown up, your "travel the world" impulses out of your system and your desire to "settle down" finally at the forefront.
Julia's argument, and mine, is that having life 100-percent figured out doesn't have to be a prerequisite for marriage. In fact, it shouldn't be (if it were, nobody would get married!). Figuring life out, alongside your best friend and partner, is the most wonderful part of marriage. Here's the last part of Julia's article--though I do encourage you to read the whole thing:
Marriage doesn’t require a big bank account, a dazzling resumé, or a televised wedding—it requires maturity, commitment, and a desire to grow up together. My husband and I married young. We don't have a fairytale marriage or a storybook ending because our story continues. Going forward, we anticipate new challenges and joys: children, new jobs, new hobbies, new cities, family weddings, and family funerals. There will be things we can’t predict. But one thing is for certain: We are committed to each other and we will grow through them. We don't have the details of the later chapters, but we know who the two main characters are.