A Reason to Wed

We've now been married for 3 years and 4 months.

Our son is 3-years-and-2-months-old. (Ahem.)

I don't say this so that you’ll assume we only got married because I was pregnant (partly true) or that I regret marrying him (not at all true), but because I know nothing about marriage without the context of parenting. Our decision to share a last name came from a place of practicality, not romance. And our commitment came from our decision to raise a child together, not from a signed document. To be honest, the idea of being “married” doesn’t hold nearly as much weight as the commitment of being co-parents and co-partners. Of wanting to create a stable and secure foundation for our family. Of wanting to model a healthy relationship for our children.

For us, that’s why divorce isn’t an option. And I don’t mean we’ll stay in an unhappy, unhealthy marriage for the “sake of the kids” — but I mean we’ll do everything to keep our marriage happy and healthy for the sake of our family. That’s what motivates us and keeps us in check.

That, and I love him very, very much.

I haven't talked a lot about my husband or our marriage, besides my optimism about our young relationship. Yet, right now, it's probably the biggest "thing" in my life. The "thing" that's most on my mind. The "thing" that's taking up the majority of my focus.

Mostly because I'm now realizing that I had no idea what the hell I was getting into.

What I didn’t fully understand is how drastically different marriage is from being boyfriend/girlfriend (or girlfriend/girlfriend or boyfriend/boyfriend). Maybe not in my day-to-day life (we had lived together for years), but in the way I have to think and behave in a marriage now that the long haul is up ahead. In the conscious effort it takes to strengthen a relationship over time rather than slowly deteriorate it.

I never understood why young couples got engaged. What’s the rush?, I’d think. What’s another 5 years of non-marital commitment? Just in case? I didn’t know why a signed piece of paper was so important to a couple without any shared financial investments or children to raise. What's the harm in waiting?

Justin and I have both agreed that had we not gotten pregnant, we most likely wouldn’t be married right now. That’s not to say we wouldn’t be together, but most likely not married.

Frankly the odds are against us. Getting married before the age of 25 drastically increases our chances of getting divorced, and I’m sure getting married while simultaneously becoming first-time parents doesn’t help. This is something that I'm acutely aware of, and something that I have to work even harder to overcome. Yet we uncharacteristically took the traditional route and decided that a strong partnership would give our kids stability and security – and we’re committed to seeing that through.

That, and I love him very, very much.

There have been a lot of studies done lately about our generation and marriage. The New York Times recently reported that most women who give birth under that age of 30 aren’t married. The Pew Research Center found that the Millenial Generation feels that being a good parent is a higher priority than having a successful marriage. And the Obama Administration’s Comprehensive Report on the Status of American Women showed that traditional marriage is drastically changing, with (educated) women marrying later, or not at all.

Why did you or didn’t you marry? How important is marriage to you?

Is marriage different than you expected?


Photo: Etsy.com/ReadyGo