I have absolutely zero doubt that my husband and I got married too young. But we were young, in love, and still foolish enough to believe that love was enough to overcome any challenge.
When I say we got married too fast, I’m not being dramatic. There were literally less than 24 hours between our initial jokes about heading to the courthouse and our exchanging nervous glances while signing the marriage certificate.
I should have taken the parking ticket I received that day as a foreshadowing of the challenges that were to come. But instead, I paid no attention to it at all.
For transparency’s sake, it’s worth noting that we were engaged for about a month when we eloped. But by the time we reached a month of marriage, we’d already started having issues.
The problems started on our honeymoon. I was excited to be married. However, I was in the midst of a quarter-life crisis and terrified of jumping headfirst into adulthood. Plus, I had no idea how I’d explain a secret marriage to my family.
I’ll never forget heading into the bathroom to put on my “special” honeymoon outfit and loudly sobbing as we prepared to have sex for the first time as a married couple.
Needless to say, that honeymoon needs a redo.
The most obvious issue we had is that we had nowhere to live together. I was fresh out of college and he was fresh out of an active duty assignment. We were married but forced to live separately, which sucked. So we decided to move into my grandparent’s house to be under the same roof. But years of emotional abuse from my uncle, who also lived there, quickly made that living situation impossible.
Before we knew it, we were sleeping on the floor in the living room of my mother’s two-bedroom house.
Our marriage counselor suggested we move into a homeless shelter so we’d have our own room. We ignored her suggestions and my husband went full-time active duty military instead. I didn’t want to move, but I had greater ambitions than sleeping on my mom’s floor for the rest of my life.
I cried the morning I waved goodbye as he headed to our new home without me. Three months later, he’d found us a home and was ready for me to join him. But we had to spend our first few months in our new home readjusting to each other.
Both of us were stubborn, opinionated, and headstrong. It was clear that each of us considered ourselves “the expert,” and each of us showed less respect toward the other as a result of it.
We were constantly fighting, and both of us felt like we had made the wrong decision by getting married. We loved each other, but we’d never been around each other in our own space. There were a lot of things we did differently. And many times, I packed up the car ready to go back to my mom’s house.
Although we were having relationship troubles, I ended up pregnant, and we knew our child deserved better than what we were offering. It was enough to make us reconsider the way we interacted and get serious about repairing our relationship.
Knowing a baby was on the way made me stop trying to run away every time we had a conflict. My dad missed a lot of my life, and I wanted our child to have a better home life than I did.
I also stopped trying to change my husband and started seeing how I self-sabotaged. I had to learn that our new location was my home. And I realized I wasn’t the only one making sacrifices for our family.
I wish I could say our problems disappeared, but they didn’t. Instead, things just seemed so much less important when put into perspective. I was willing to lose a fight if it meant it might save our marriage.
Five years and two children later, I can’t believe I was ever stupid enough to think love was enough for a healthy relationship. We’ve had a million fights since that day at the courthouse. Some of which could have been the end of everything.
It’s been five years of up and downs, and I’m no longer in denial that we should have waited. At the same time, I appreciate our story because the hardships make our relationship stronger, more powerful.
A lot of folks say marriages that start in courthouses end in them.
I don’t know if that’s true. But I’m gonna enjoy every moment of the journey there.