For seven wonderful years, my husband and I lived in New York City, where the average age of brides is 32 and the average age of grooms is 34. The national averages are five years younger both for women and men: 27 and 29.
We were an anomaly—we got engaged a few weeks before my 25th birthday. My husband was 26. Our friends were so confused when we called them to announce our happy news. Engaged? As in engaged to be married? They were excited for us, but even more bewildered when we announced we were having a baby three years later.
Dan and I knew the other was “the one” pretty quickly. We started talking about spending our lives together right from the beginning. Granted, we hadn’t just met. We were friends in college and, although we weren’t best friends, we were more than acquaintances. Because of this, we were able to skip over much of the introductory phase of the relationship and jump right into more substantial conversation.
It wasn’t easy in the beginning when our friends couldn’t—or wouldn’t—understand our commitment to each other. They didn’t understand why we spent so much time together, or why we were eager to start our life together. They felt we were way too young to even think about anything more serious than dating.
I couldn’t be happier that we didn’t cave to the pressure to be “young” and “carefree” because nothing about getting married took away our youth or our carefree-ness. The first few years of our marriage were full—the stressful moments strengthened our relationship, and we had tons of fun adventures together.
We were able to be married and enjoy our twosome-ness for three incredible years before deciding we were ready to take on a new challenge: a baby. So many people told us we were crazy to “rush” having a family: Once that baby comes there’s no going back! Get ready to never sleep again! You’ll be so lonely when all your friends are out partying and you’re stuck at home with a baby! Don’t start until your 30s, and if you have any fertility troubles, there’s always IVF!
The IVF comment was my favorite. As if IVF is an easy solution where poof! You snap your fingers and a baby arrives at your door. I have many friends who have gone through IVF and I don’t think any of them would say that’s an easy route.
The partying comment was my second favorite. I’d spent my early 20s “partying”. I was married to my best friend and had a wonderful group of friends I loved spending time with. The time for partying, for me, was over. I felt—and continue to feel—that the limited amount of free time I have is very valuable. Spending that time at a bar where I couldn’t talk to the person next to me is a waste of that precious time.
We’re two years into the parenting gig and five years into marriage; do I wish I’d delayed my wedding and having a baby until now that I’m 30? Not for even one teensy second. We love being parents so much that we’re pregnant with our second baby. I’ve never felt more secure or happy. I thank God every single day that this is my life.
Have there been moments over the past five years that I’ve missed having no responsibility? Of course—that just goes along with the territory of becoming an adult. However, I’m so proud to tell people my husband and I are celebrating our five-year anniversary this fall. Most of my friends just got married this past summer, or are about to get engaged. Some have been dating for many years and finally felt ready; others didn’t meet their spouses until more recently. Timing for everyone is different, but I promise you: life begins—not ends—when you marry the right person and start a family.
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