Aren’t you too young to be engaged?
Written on September 22nd, 2017
The short answer? No.
At the end of August I got engaged to my best friend and boyfriend of over four years. We met back in high school and have survived growing up and being long distance and everything else that has come our way.
I am 100% confident in my choice of future husband. I know that life won’t be easy, that we are still young, and that there is always growing up left to do — but I also know that I was meant to be with him.
I am happy and excited and sure, a bit overwhelmed with wedding planning during my senior year of college. I am a lot of things right now, most of them completely joyous, but I am also tired of the reaction I sometimes get when people realize I am 20 years old and engaged.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the well-meant concern. I get it — I’m young! In a society where many are choosing to get married later or not get married at all, my fiancé and I have become the anomaly. And that’s okay with me — but what isn’t okay is belittling us for it.
We are blessed to have numerous friends and family who are happy for us, but I’ve run into too many strangers who feel the need to tell me about divorce rates or ask me “if I’m sure” or otherwise become completely awkward upon seeing the ring on my left hand.
This behavior makes me so sad; just because I’ve decided to commit now doesn’t mean I’m an alien. While I’m at it, it also doesn’t mean I’m pregnant (you’d be surprised how many people assume). It simply means that I’ve been in love with someone for a long time and we’re ready to take our devotion to the next level.
Is it true that some young people rush into marriage and other big life decisions only to later regret it? Absolutely. Is it true that 20 is well below the average age to get married? Yes again — the average age for a woman in the US is 27, and even though I’ll be 22 by the time our ceremony rolls around, that’s still on the young side.
I understand all of these facts, and I respect them. I want people to think their decisions through. I want marriages to last forever and exist with integrity. But I believe at a fundamental level that if I don’t know someone, I have no right to question their life choices.
It would be one thing if people close to us were maturely bringing up concerns. We would listen! But when strangers whom I’ve never spoken to feel the need to judge my love life, I draw the line.
Someone who we’ve never met has no concept of what our relationship is like. They don’t know if it’s healthy or unhealthy, if we met last week or last decade, if we’re jumping in or dragging our feet. Without having any context of the situation these individuals are simply incapable of making a sound judgment about whether or not our engagement is a good decision — so why do they try?
I have plenty left to learn in life and I’ll never deny that. But I am ready to make this commitment and I am happy with my decision, and I will not allow random people to make me feel unsure.
I appreciate good intentions and am happy to talk about my relationship and how we got to this place. I will answer any questions you throw my way. But I implore you: when you meet someone who is engaged, even if they seem itty bitty and little and just too young, don’t question their happiness.
You’re not changing my mind — you’re just making me tired.