My son just turned 10, which means he’s just a few years away from being a teenager. If that isn’t enough to make me just a little bit queasy, I just realized the other day that he is only four years away from being the age my husband and I were when we met.
Yep, we were 14 years old when we met and had our first date. We broke up a few months later, but got back together a year later, when we were 15, and have been together ever since. When I think of my son meeting his actual freaking wife in a just a few short years, my first reaction is HELL TO THE NO. And yet, I would be a total hypocrite if I didn’t think it was possible for such a thing to happen and end up being truly wonderful and amazing.
Of course, I’m not talking about him getting married at 15, and I’m sure that neither my parents nor my husband’s believed we’d end up staying together all these years either. I mean, when we were teens, my husband and I fantasized about the idea of getting married and having kids someday (I think that’s typical of a lot of young lovebirds), but we definitely thought that was the stuff of fairy tales.
And yet, here we are. We’ll be celebrating 24 years of continuous dating this fall, and 16 years of marriage this summer. And as crazy as it seems for me to have settled down with pretty much the only person I’ve ever dated (I’m not going to count my middle-school boyfriend who I wasn’t even sure I was officially dating, bless his heart), I absolutely wouldn’t have it any other way.
Our marriage is not perfect (whose is, really?), but it’s damn good, and although many high school romances don’t endure the test of time, there is something about knowing each other since we were basically kids that definitely contributes to the solidity and strength of our marriage.
Being high school sweethearts means that your relationship withstood high school, and that is saying a whole hell of a lot. It means you’ve been through every immature, infantile aspect of a high school romance. Your relationship has probably endured its fair share of jealousy and insecurity too. But you got through it all, your relationship still strong and intact.
Of course, high school had its fair share of fun and adventures, and you carry that into your relationship until this day. You remember what it was like to sneak around, to find those stolen moments when one of your houses was empty so you guys could hook up (Note: This becomes very handy when you have kids). You have probably stayed out way past your curfew just so you could spend a few more hours in each other’s arms.
You know what it’s like to fight for your relationship because, in all likelihood, there were people along the way who didn’t believe that your relationship would last. There were probably people who advised you not to stay together, to branch out and experience other relationships. But you knew in your heart that this relationship was special, something that would last. You trusted your gut, and you were right.
But what I think is maybe the most incredible aspect of being partnered up with a high school sweetheart is that you know them — I mean really know them, inside and out.
I have seen my husband through all kind of stuff — times that he’s messed up badly and times that he’s done the most amazing things in life. And he can say the same for me. I know his history. I remember when his baby sister was born, and when his parents split up. He remembers when I stopped talking to my dad for a year, and he accompanied me on a trip when I was 18 to visit my dad and reconcile with him.
High school sweethearts share some of the most fragile and intense times of life — the teen and young adult years — when the hard stuff of childhood gets sorted through and faced head-on, and when your voice as an adult is being shaped. Chances are, you shaped that voice together, and that can be an incredible, unifying force that defines your relationship.
I certainly don’t think partnering up with your high school sweetheart is something that everyone should do. Some people need more time to explore and find themselves before settling down that young. And for some, their high school girlfriend or boyfriend is just the wrong person for them to spend their life with, even though it may have not been clear at first.
To be honest, I think it’s pretty rare that people find their “one and only” in high school. I still sometimes think of it as some kind of fluke or dumb luck that I did. And if my son were to bring someone home in a few years claiming that he’s going to spend his life with them, I’d probably brush it off as just a fling.
But the thing is, you never know. The person you meet at 14 years old just might be the one you are meant to spend your with life. And if they are, you hold onto them and never let them go.
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