Monday, December 31, 2007

Don't get married.

You guys know how much I love Jason right? Like, I love him so much that the sheer force of my love could potentially knock a starving dog off a meat wagon? Like his happiness makes me happy? Like his sadness makes me want to go kick people in the crotch? Like I want to make him chicken fried rice and put extra chicken in it just so he'll say, "YAY! You put extra chicken in it!"?


Still. Marriage is hard.

Recently someone I know got married, and I've been really sad and conflicted about it.

Sad because, well, she's 18 and hasn't yet graduated high school. Conflicted because, well, what the hell do I know? And maybe they'll have as much of a chance to make it as those of us who were twenty-freaking-seven when we tied the knot.

Girl and Boy Child will turn 18 on March 21st, 2016. Presumably, they will graduate high school at the end of May, 2016. I don't want them to get married before they graduate high school.

Okay, to be honest? I want Girl Child to become President of the Universe and Boy Child to fulfill his life-long dream of being a Chef/Animal Hunter/Really Awesome Dentist before he settles down. I was thinking the other day that it would be perfectly fine with me if they only went out with groups of friends and didn't have any serious boyfriends or girlfriends until they were in college.

I know that's not realistic, really. I know that they will have minds of their own and hormones and all manner of things that I have absolutely no control over. And really? Honestly? I have no desire to control them. I'm interested in who they will become, because who they are is awesome.

Maybe this girl I know, who has only been 18 for a few days, will graduate high school. Maybe she will go on to graduate college. Maybe she will have a really awesome career. Maybe she'll stay home and be a really great mom to really great kids. Maybe she'll be happy and fulfilled and satisfied, and pleased with her life.

Marriage is important to me. I love my husband and I love our marriage and our family. My worst day with these three people is better than my best day without them.

But it makes me sad that I went from my parents house into a house with my first husband. And I didn't make enough money to pay the bills on my own, so when our marriage became absolutely horrid, I knew I had no way out. I couldn't go home anymore, and I couldn't stay there anymore. I had to rely on him to pay the bills, and he? Was not reliable.

And I put myself in that situation.

What also makes me sad is that I didn't take the time to date a lot of people and find someone who was more like me. My first husband? I have no idea why I married him. None. I am still so puzzled at how I felt like I could have been happy with this person, who is sullen and mean and not interested in spending time talking or listening. Who would rather sleep than explore, who would rather be sharp and mean than kind.

In my heart I know, it didn't matter if I was happy or not. I was fulfilling my fate. I was doing what I was supposed to do. The morning of the wedding I was getting dressed and someone said to me said, "FINALLY! You are FINALLY getting married, old maid!" I was twenty years old. Twenty.

What makes me most sad is that no one, ESPECIALLY not me, looked at twenty year old me and said, "You should go to college. You belong in Graduate school. You have talents and gifts and while it's perfectly okay if you want to be someone's wife, being someone's wife isn't the ONLY thing you can be."

Instead? I got to start all over two years later, when I was twenty-two years old and had two babies. I had to find a way to support myself and two other people. I had to find the courage to go to college. I had to buy my own house, my own car. I had to figure out all these things that I should have figured out before, but not only was I figuring them out for me, I had to figure them out for me plus two tiny people who relied on me.

None of this is anyone's fault, I understand. It was only me. It was my choices. It's my fault and I have no one to blame but myself. It was completely and totally and 100 percent my bad choices.


I do wish someone had said to me, "You don't have to do this. You can be more than this. It's okay for a girl to be self-sufficient. I believe in you."

And I wish that someone had said to that girl I know, "I believe in you."

Would it have made a difference? For either one of us? I don't know.

But it would have been nice to have a chance.


Unknown said...

This family member not only got married, she moved across the country? I think she'll get a real slap of reality. And, although you wish you hadn't married your ex and you wish to God someone had slapped sense into you, you are a brave strong woman with that sperm donor's two amazing kids (from your 23 chromosomes not his, of course). And, we all think so much of you for managing to do it alone with two.

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

My mum had a close call...almost married someone like your ex. She was lucky though. Her brother took her aside and told her she didn't have to. Her relief in that moment was indescribable, she said. So when I got engaged, she told me. It's important to love people enough to say things like that to them, I think. I'm glad no one told you, as funny as that sounds. The world needs boy child and girl child, you know.

Anonymous said...

I think getting married young is a Southern thing. Alot of my family got married and had kids young. They probably think my sister and I are old maids waiting to have babies til we were 27 and 28.


The girl is probably pregnant and they are hurrying it along in true southern style because she is fixing to start showing. Probably best she is moving across the country, then when the baby comes in 5 months, they can hid her/him for 4 months, announce his/her birth in August and then bring their gigantic 5 (NINE) month old to Christmas next year. Not trying to be ugly, just realistic...I'm from the south, too, that's how some of us/them roll...

SJINCO said...

I totally agree with you, marriage is tough! And um, that's a little young (IMO) to be getting married. Here's to hoping that it works out for the best!

Because it IS possible.


Anonymous said...

I was 21 when I got married and that was too young. I got divorced when I was 23. My parents did not encourage nor discourage this marriage. They knew that I would not have listened to them had they discouraged it.

I pray that her marriage lasts.

frannie said...

I really hope it doesn't turn out the way I fear it well.

Heidi said...

It's so hard to know what is okay to say when someone is marrying someone that you don't really approve of (even if it's not the person, just the situation).

I appreciated this post more than you know--I've been struggling with what to say to my little sister, who just got married at twenty.

Emma in Canada said...

I too got married at 20. It was a big mistake. Walking down the aisle I knew it. But I thought of all the money my parents had spent and I went ahead. Sometimes I think "What the fuck were you thinking?" But mostly I think I got 2 great kids out of it. Would I have been a better mother 5 or 10 years later? Definitely. But it wouldn't have been to those two kids, and they make it all worth it.

That being said if my daughter comes home in 5 some years (like your two she is a March baby so will be 18 before the end of school) and says she and Joe Blow are getting married, well she may just find herself locked in her room until she is 25.

Dreamer said...

I got married when I was 18. I dropped out of High School and got my GED before I even met my husband. Sometimes, I wish someone would've slapped me, and told me to just wait a year. My dad tried to tell me to wait a year, but I really loved (and still do love) my husband. That said, I'm happy I got married, but I do wish I would've went to college a lot earlier, and waited a year to have kids.

Of course, marriage has it's ups and downs, but let's hope your family member will have more ups than downs.

Ry said...

I got married at 18 and our 12th anniversary is this Saturday!

Some people are more ready at 18 than some people at 30!

Marriage is hard at any age, but with a good support system, they have a much better chance!

Angie said...

God allows us to make the decisions we make. .. don't you think he just sits back sometimes, and wonders what in the marshmallow fluff we're thinking?!

You are the amazing woman you are now -- because of the path you have taken. You can teach your kids so much by your steps....or mis-steps.

. . . and yes, I was told (at 25) that I was an old maid, too. Sigh.

Jill said...

marriage is tough. its not like you can run away from your spouse, like you said, and i moved from my parents to my hubby, i DID go to college in between, so i was kind of on my own, but my hubby had been in the military, so he had a lot more skills than me, we learned together and it's turned out okay. alright so we're great, but i'm still very shy and dont do a lot on my own.. i'm working on it..

CPA Mom said...

Got married at 21. Divorced at 22. I wish someone had said that to me too.

Liz said...

I think that it is often very hard to warn people if you are worried they are making a bad decision. They usually end up having to figure it out for themselves, unfortunately. My sister recently married a lying bum of a man. We all tried to tell her he was no good, but that seemed to make her want him even more. He hasn't worked in months, sits at home and drinks all day, and got her fired from her job. I think she is finally realizing what we all knew last year but she had to find out for herself.

Anonymous said...

You know what's most amazing about you? Is that even though you were raised in an environment where you weren't told you deserved better, it's still IN you to know that you are meant for greater things.

You didn't just lay down and give up when you became a single mom. Somehow, it was in you to push yourself through college and become this great thing. You broke out of a cocoon of ignorance and became this butterfly of knowledge and wisdom.

I'm in awe of you.

Because I was raised to think that men aren't needed. My mom was a hardcore feminist. So I've always known that I'd go to college. I only did it because I didn't know I couldn't do it, you know? But you, you did it the hard way. And it means way more than the piece of paper that hangs on my wall. I only wish I could be 1/10th as strong of a person as you are. I say you run for president. I'd become a US citizen just to vote for you.

Rachel (Crazy-Is) said...

I've wondered how different my life would be now, if had not gotten married 2 weeks after my 20th birthday. Although, I am sure if I were to think about it, there were probably people telling me not to and me being 19, I didn't care. I knew everything.

But, if I hadn't gotten married then, I would not have Kaylie and most likely wouldn't have met Chris, so I would have him or Haley or Alyssa. Everything happens for a reason I suppose.

Edie said...

Just think what a priceless gift this knowledge will be for your two children... Please share this with them when the time is right. It may not change a thing, but I bet it will.