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The Right Time to Get Married

04 September 2014

One of those purposefully polarizing articles made its way around Twitter this summer. It had, of course, one of those judgmental, preachy titles meant for inciting reactions and click throughs. I think it was "Why You Should Get Married in Your Early Twenties." The smart, composed group of women I tend to agree with online were up in arms. Isn't keeping our twenties to ourselves for expensive shoes, downtown apartments, trips to Europe and table dancing what we fought our way into equal standing for? Who would want get married in her early twenties and miss out on everything? It was really only in seeing this article and the response that it really hit me that I was the girl these women were talking about, the poor sap who married in her early twenties.

Next week, I'll be 29 years old with a baby and five years of marriage under my belt. I met Markus when I was 21 and knew after our first date I wasn't going on another first date ever again. I would have accepted a proposal after our first month of dating, but we waited eight more just for the sake of not rushing into things. After a longish engagement, I was locked in at the very beginnings of 24. 

When I married Markus, we didn't have nest eggs, advanced degrees or passports with proof of our sowed wanderlust stamped all over the inside. We just had each other, and that was more important to me than accomplishing any of the above strictly on my own. I had more than a completed list of things people will tell you you're supposed to do in your twenties before you get married, I had someone who ferociously believed in me. It's made me more fearless and opened more doors to experiences I could have never enjoyed had I been insistent on our own lives, apartments and bank accounts until I was a certain age.

Married and life just beginning in September, 2009 photo credit Danny Hurley

I've been asked how I knew I was supposed to marry Markus so quickly and how I was, as someone who values my independence and lack of interest in conformity, so certain about getting married young. If I had to boil it down, I would say I believed in our marriage and the timing of it for three reasons

  • I knew and liked myself for who I was.
  • I was ready to try selflessly loving someone else for who they are.
  • I was with someone who inspired me to be the best version of myself every day. 

I didn't just feel happy all the time or wanted to capture the feeling of butterflies in my stomach forever. I felt with Markus in my corner I was going to do something great, and I felt like I was encouraging him to a better life for himself as well. Why stop great from happening because society is telling you to?

Just like I don't consider my independent life over (while recognizing it is different) because I am a Mom, I never thought I would have fewer personal opportunities because I was married. I think life has been more than accommodating of letting me have this and that at the same time simply because I've politely said that is how it is going to be and I'm willing to put in an extra mile to make it work.

Cheers to continued adventures! Photo credit: Kate Mefford

I don't advocate getting married young or old, but I have to say that marriage has taught me more about myself, love and understanding than anything else. I have such a deep admiration for Markus that I walked in ready to do everything to make it work, and it's shown me how many other things work out when you put that kind of effort in as well. Looking back on my twenties, I am more thankful for the lessons and love in my marriage than I am regretful of anything I could have missed, with nothing immediately coming to mind.

So, am I dishing out advice on the Internet or warning you not to take advice on the Internet seriously? Either way, I hope you find amazing love, first from yourself and also from someone you admire. I hope it hits you in a way that you forget about what is ideal or convenient and you go all in. I'm not a huge risk taker, but this is when I put all my money on black and I wake up to the jackpot every day. I'm a big believer that it's what we all deserve. 


  1. I love, love, love this post! So well done! :)

  2. I love this post! And I'm also so glad that I am not alone in this. I got married at 22 after starting to date my husband at 19. One week after our wedding, we moved to D.C., and I spent so much time meeting new people and getting asked by potential employers (seriously, in job interviews) why I had gotten married and why I had changed my last name. I heard it so often that I took to pre-emptively calling myself a Southern cliche to stop their questions and insinuations. But the truth is that my husband and I are better as a team. We are better together, and if I'd spent a few years living alone a bit longer, I wouldn't have been as happy or as successful.

    There's this idea of marriage as a capstone, that you have to achieve to get to it, but I like to think of my marriage as a cornerstone on which I want to build my life instead, and that can be really difficult to explain to people who are convinced I got married too young.

  3. Great post, sweet Lilly! I didn't get married til I was in my 30's - not because I didn't want to get married young - I didn't meet the mr. til then. I don't like when people generalize and tell us what we should and shouldn't do. Your post was very introspective and thoughtful. I wouldn't expect anything less. Have a great week!


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