Young Love: Why I’m Glad I Got Married at 21

weddingweddingI did not have a typical wedding.

For one thing, my husband and I were both only 21 on the day we said "I do."

And for another, hiding under my empire-waist wedding gown was our daughter, five months old in-utero and just starting to make her presence known to me with some well-orchestrated butterfly kicks.

It's not the way I imagined my wedding day unfolding at all.

But I can honestly say that I have no regrets about my somewhat unconventional start into marriage.

I love being married. I love that I always have someone to share my day with, someone to cook with, and someone who, even after over five years of marriage, can still make my heart melt holding my hand while we take a simple walk after dinner.

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Of course now, looking back at our 21-year-old selves, I can't believe how young we were when we got married. And I will be the first to admit that we have definitely done a lot of growing up since then.

But we have grown up together - as man and wife.

According to the New York Times, the average age that most women get married is 27 - the age I currently am right now - while men tie the knot around age 29, making my husband and I definite outliers in the marriage scene. And although "Most Americans still marry eventually…and continue to hold marriage in high regard," the fact of the matter is that more and more people simply aren't looking to get married as quickly as they once were.

Marriage is not the pivotal, life-altering event it once was, that moment where life was neatly divided into the "before" and "after" matrimony.

Nowadays, more couples are living together, getting divorced, or shying away from marriage altogether, bringing the rates of marriage down by over 66% from our predecessors in the 1950s.

And while I agree with many of the shifting beliefs about marriage - namely, it's not a woman's primary ambition, men don't have to be the breadwinners, and there's (gasp) more to life than vacuuming - I don't necessarily agree with the underlying message that it's best to wait for marriage.

With delayed marriage, the pressure to have all your "ducks in a row" definitely creeps in - waiting until you're done with college turns into waiting until you're done with grad school which turns into waiting until you have enough for that down payment on a house which turns into wait, why are we getting married again?

For us, there were definitely no ducks in a row.

In fact, if such a thing is possible, I would say our ducks were all in shambles. Pregnant, broke, sometimes stressed-out shambles.

But even though we had no idea what we were in for, getting married young was an adventure.

In those early years, it was - dare I say - fun. I loved coming home from class and doing homework with my husband. I loved sneaking glimpses of him on our college campus and knowing he was mine. I even look fondly back on our diet of Digornio pizza and late-night ice cream runs.

Of course I am not advocating that we all jump headfirst into marriage, and I can't say for sure if I would have rushed my own walk down the aisle had that positive pregnancy test not turned up, but I can say one thing for sure.

I'm sure glad I did.

-By Chaunie Brusie

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