Life Lessons I Learned From Getting Married Very Young
Here’s the thing – I got married when I was 23-years-old. That’s right. 23. As in; fresh out of college, had just moved across the country, was attempting to start my acting career, learning how to live on my own – twenty. three. years. old.
And now, on top of all of that, I was planning a wedding.
The month before I got married I called my parents and asked their permission to move to a different apartment in the city that I was living in. That’s the mindset I was in. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I had my independence, sure, but I was only four years out of my parent’s home. That’s only four years out of my parent’s protection 24/7. That’s not that much time.
Here are a few things you might not expect to happen if you are young and planning on getting married. Hopefully they’ll help you transition into your new life as a super cute, married couple.
Sharing money is really freaking hard.
Between me and my new spouse we were $70,000 in debt living in Los Angeles. And now you are telling me that I may not be able to buy a pair of shoes whenever I want because what’s mine is his and he may not want to spend his money on a really cute pair of heels that I may wear at some point in the future for that job that I don’t have yet?! WHAT? Exactly.
Learning to share money is really f**king hard. You are constantly checking accounts, credit card bills, student loan payments, did he take care of this bill, have I paid that guy back yet, etc. It’s a conversation that has to happen constantly. You have to learn to move past the small stuff. So what if he goes out for lunch everyday with the coworkers at his new job? It’s making him happy, he’s connecting with new people, and you don’t want to get up early to make him lunch just like he doesn’t want to get up early to make himself lunch. Move on. You probably don’t need to be spending money every month to get your eyebrows waxed and your nails done either but he hasn’t asked you to stop doing that now has he?
Our time alone together is rare.
This may have been the biggest surprise for me. This is me and my train of thought the entire year leading up to the wedding, “Oh, we’re going to get married! I get to see him all the time! We’re going to go out so much. He’s going to tickle my back before I fall asleep every night. Blah blah blah. We’re in love. Everything is AWESOME!” Flash forward to a year into the marriage. He works a 9-5. I work three jobs, meaning I am gone 14 hours out of the day from 8am-10pm (if I’m lucky). One of my jobs I nanny so overnight hours happen more often than one would expect. Up until a couple of weeks ago I worked 8 hours on Saturdays as well. We both work in film so if we’re filming something BUH-BYE extra hours of the day. Right now, he’s working on four projects outside of his job (ha!). You can see where this is going….
From what I understand, we’re young, so this is the time to be doing all of this, because this is when we have the energy to be doing all of this. On top of it all, we’re pretty cool people. Our friends kind of enjoy hanging out with us. When I get home on a typical night my husband usually has a friend over. How rude am I to just kick that person out when I walk through the door? So rude. Especially since I like that guy and I want to talk and hang out with him too. I would say out of the 168 hours that we are given during the week, the two of us spend somewhere around 32 of those hours together, awake, and alone…and that may even be a generous estimate.
Learning to deal with each other’s living habits is a huge undertaking.
My husband and I have been together since we were 16-years-old. That’s eight years. We know each other pretty well but nothing in this world could have prepared me for what it was going to be like living and sharing a space with this man. And he’s not even a bad roommate. If I were in college looking for a roommate I would pick him. He’s pretty clean, he’s not dramatic, he’s super cool, and sometimes he’s even really funny. He really is an ideal roommate. You guys would love living with him, I’m sure of it. Still doesn’t mean learning to live with him hasn’t tested my patience every single day.
I think it’s so difficult for us because we are still so young, we’re feisty, we’re headstrong. Being young and living with someone permanently, forever, till death do you part, is a huge responsibility that I don’t think our young minds fully comprehend. We’re still learning how to live on our own. It’s hard. All I want is for him to put his dishes in the dishwasher right away after he eats and all he wants is to play one more round of whatever video game he’s playing before he moves the clothes to the dryer. It’s all one big compromise. I want things done right away, he wants me to trust him to get it done on his own time. It’s caused a lot of fights (A LOT of fights) but we’re slowing figuring out what the middle ground is. Thank GOD we’re getting it somewhat sorted out before we even think about throwing kids into the equation. Can you imagine? What child has ever put their dishes in the dishwasher right after they eat?? hahaha. Help.
Talks of “the future” are suddenly way more in-depth than they had ever been before and all of a sudden you feel like an adult. Ew. When did that happen?!
Usually when your young and dating you kind of talk about the future but really talking about “the future” just meant that you’re talking about what your plans are for spring break, not when you think you’ll be able to afford a house. I was telling a friend earlier today that I never realized how young I was until I got married. Funny how that works. I have always been an old soul. Anyone who knows me will tell you that. I don’t really fit in with my generation. I don’t identify with millennials and I don’t know if I ever will. However, it did not legitimately set in that 23 was a young age until after all the wedding fuss died down and I was sitting at the social security office getting my name changed. Now when we talk about the future we’re talking about when we should have kids, when we can afford to own a home, setting up retirement plans, etc. and that’s when I’m slapped in the face with the reality that my brain is still developing. I am still young enough to be on my parent’s insurance. I am closer in age to the kids that I nanny than to the parents that I work for. I am so fucking young! Why am I talking about mortgages and retirement plans?! I should still be exploring what the coolest bars are in town or which restaurants have the best hangover breakfasts. You know, things that twenty somethings do! But alas, here I am at 2:15pm on a Saturday in bed thinking about whether or not I need to buy my husband some new socks or not….what is life?
I’m the third oldest of eight kids. I’ve always been a caretaker, I’ve always been responsible, I’ve always worked hard for what I wanted, but getting married made me grow up much faster than anything else in my life has ever made me do. I am now responsible for another human being. We are our own family. We are making our own traditions, creating our own house rules, making our own home videos. We are each other’s futures. That blows my mind. He will be the father of my children. We are going to create human beings together and then we are going to work together to keep them alive. If that doesn’t make you grow up just a little bit I don’t know what will.
Life is so weird and beautiful and insane.
You will discover your true self.
This last point is probably the most valuable thing I have learned from my marriage. Going into our engagement I had a pretty good grasp on myself as a person. I can say with confidence that I had a strong head on my shoulders. I was independent. I knew how to make myself happy. I had my own goals, both personal and career wise. I was not lost in the world, but Garrett has taught me more about myself in this first year of marriage than I have ever known in my entire life. He has shown me how truly beautiful I am. He has helped me see my full potential. It is through his eyes and through learning to love him with my entire being that I have really come into my own.
Hopefully you are lucky enough to be marrying your best friend.
Let me rephrase that.
You should never settle for marrying anyone other than your best friend. (But, Cecilia, I have a best friend already and I’m not going to marry them cause that’s weird.) Here’s the thing; you have your best friends (your sister, your brother, your friends from high school, your college roommate, etc.) and then you have your BEST friend. The one who is going to be there for you when you’re throwing up at 2am, the one who tells you when you’re talking too loud in the car, the person who sees you naked and gets turned on and then the next week sees you naked because you have a really weird rash on your body that you need them to check out. This best friend is going to go through cancer scares with you, get out of debt with you, have sex with you, create human beings with you. They are going to be there with you through your happiest days and through your darkest days and you are going to learn so much more about yourself than you could have ever imagined because of it. It’s really beautiful.
Getting married and being married at such a young age is hard. We have so much still that we need to learn and so many people rooting against us, but we are having some of the most fun we’ve ever had and we are loving each other even more every step of the way.