As Valentine’s Day approaches people ask more and more, “Have any special plans?” Which eventually leads to a discussion about whom with and then comes my favorite question in the world, “So how long have you guys been dating?”
I say, “Going on five years.”
Don’t get me wrong I feel proud about the longevity of our relationship, but the reactions I often receive make me feel almost guilty and ashamed even though I know I have no reason to be. This is where many faces change from giddy and interested to even more intrigued and highly confused. The stream of questions ensue, some not always the nicest.
“Does he have commitment issues?”
“Are you sure he’s the marrying type”
“Do you even want to get married?”
And worst of all “Are you sure you really love each other?”
Yes, these questions can seem pretty harsh, especially when you step back and consider that we are only 19 going on 20. Sometimes it’s easy to feel angry and hurt, but when I really think about it the questions people ask and the ones that go unasked it makes sense.
In this culture we live in, and especially on the campus of BYU-Idaho (or BYU-IDO), it’s the norm. It isn’t uncommon to see people date, get engaged, married, and even pregnant all in less than one year’s time. I’m not saying this is a bad thing at all; Some of the people I admire most in my life go to school with me full-time, every day, and still go home to perform their duties as amazing wives and mothers. I just want to share a different perspective and a couple of key points on this highly discussed topic.
Marriage is a HUGE deal!
Time and all eternity. Not just some time here and there and some in our lives here after. ALL time and ALL eternity. Your choice in the individual whom you marry will be the most important decision of your life. It is an extremely vital decision and has far reaching after-effects. It deals with your immediate happiness and how you feel in the right now but also has to do with your eternal joys as well. It affects your families and your future families. You will be having children with this person, half of you and half of them. Again, huge deal.
People Change- A Lot
Long story short, I was born into the church 4 months after my parents were baptized, I attended church until I was about 6, and then we became inactive until one day I decided to go back to church when I was 14 with or without my family. Lucky for me they are the best and the next week they came with me. I got baptized soon after, and we have been strong as can be ever since. When we came back I also met Jason again and despite not being allowed to date until 16, I know I’m bad, we started talking my freshman year and were high school sweethearts. We were 14 and now we are going on twenty and to be quite honest I need two hands to count all the personality phases we have each gone through. Even though we are so different now, we still like and love each other as much, if not more, than before. Sometimes people aren’t so lucky, especially when you’re young. Many people grow up and grow apart and it’s ok to want to date someone longer than the norm of what you see around you. I can almost guarantee you that if that is the route you want to go you won’t regret it and in my opinion I would always rather say “I know you too well” than “We just didn’t really know each other.”
Financial Planning is Okay!
So by this point people might ask, “If youre happy and you love eachother then why not just get married?” Well the answer to this is extremely simple and true of many people my age, we’re broke college students. Many people tell me that the Thomas S. Monson said that there is no shame in a couple having to “scrimp and save,” and that “You will grow closer together as you learn to sacrifice.” I don’t doubt it, but he also didn’t say it was a requirement and we shouldn’t treat it like one. No, material things aren’t everything, but sometimes its ok to have a plan for how you want to achieve the basics. The Lord will bless the faithful but this doesn’t mean he will do everything for you or hand you wads of cash. I could always work and my future husband could always work, but sometimes it’s not that easy. My parents work their butt off so that I don’t have to. They afford me the luxury of being able to take 8 classes and an internship and focus solely on that. Work is work and so is a marriage and it doesn’t make you lazy, it just means you have a different idea of how you want your life to start out financially. By finishing school a year early and at the pace I am going, I have opened the door for an opportunity at a high-end public relations firm straight out of college where I would be very well off financially and I don’t want to feel bad about that being a priority to me over marriage right now since it will benefit my marriage the future. Sometimes finances involve making hard decisions now for a better future which usually isn’t easy.
I’m still young!
I’m not saying I’m going to wait till I’m over 30 to get married, which there’s nothing wrong with, and that’s exactly my point. There is no right or wrong time to get married. It is such a personal decision that isn’t to be taken lightly and is different for everyone. I am literally still a teenager and when I graduate in 1 year and then get married after that and I will still only be 21.Some may think that’s too old, others too young, but the fact of the matter is it is ultimately mine and my future spouse’s decision, it will be our lives, and our eternity. President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “Marry the right person in the right place at the right time.” That’s different for all of us and that is ok.
Whether you got married younger or older or you aren’t even close yet just remember, It is ok. Have faith. Trust the Lord and trust yourself. Marriage is sacred and special and truly individual to each couple, and deserves to be treated and respected as such.