Saturday, January 9, 2010

Adventures of a Child Bride

All right, so I'm not really a child bride. (Although P gets plenty of robbing the cradle jokes. I mean, seriously. I'll be twenty-three next month and I still have people ask me "So, when are you starting college, honey?" It's a bit ridic. I mean, take a look at this:)

(Also, please disregard my terrible, terrible tan lines. That's what happens when you work in Disney World...)

I was only nineteen years old when P and I decided to get married. We met in 2004, we started dating in March of '06, and by September of that year he gave me his purity ring on a necklace to wear until he could formally propose. We wanted to keep it a secret- so naturally, everyone knew. And we got a lot of flack for it.

One very dear high school friend sent me an email begging me to reconsider. She had a good point- after all, P was my first boyfriend. And I was a freakin' teenager! She made an analogy about ice cream- sure, if I've only had vanilla, it'll be my favorite. But if I try chocolate and strawberry and chocolate chip cookie dough, maybe I'll realize that one of them is my favorite instead.

Basically, she thought I should date around. But I'm as stubborn as the day is long, and I stuck by my decision. It's been three years since we made that choice on a warm September night, and I've never regretted it.

Getting engaged as a teenager certainly doesn't work for everyone, but it worked for me. It worked for us. We've had the last four years to mature and form our future together. I'm not the same starry-eyed kid I was at nineteen, but growing up hasn't made me love him less or grow so accustomed to him that I forget to value and work on our relationship.

And surprisingly, I think one of the key reasons we've made it work is that we still had vibrant lives outside of each other. He went to school in Murfreesboro while I went to school in Green Hills (about an hour apart). He worked at the mall and lived with his guy friends in an apartment decked out with anime posters and every video game console known to man (and a couple known only to monkeys) while I spent hours and hours in rehearsals and went out with my girlfriends for midnight snack runs and afternoon pottery painting sessions. Granted, when we did see each other, we made the most of it. But we continued to build independent lives and independent friendships.

Sure, we were eligible for Engaged and Underaged on MTV, and sure, we agonized over the years and years of engagement (I called it Engagement Purgatory). And it didn't make it any easier that we decided to not have sex until our wedding night. (We've held to that, but it wasn't easy in the slightest!) I'm still glad that I said yes before I was old enough to drink. He is the right man for me, and age won't ever change that.
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