If you google ‘reasons to get married young’ you will see list after list of reasons and justifications people have given for why getting married young, as in 18-23, is a good idea. I didn’t read all the articles but most of the ones I read or skimmed made sense, they have valid points. Many of the authors admit that there are also cons to getting married young but that’s true with almost anything. There are also lists of why not to get married young but those I find less convincing, possibly true but fairly selfish. Anyway, if you google ‘reasons to get married older’ you really aren’t going to find much more than a couple lists for people considering marriage after 50. And that’s not the kind of older i’m talking about here. My point is that Ryan and I are 34 and 29 respectively and getting married older works for us.
Ryan still is a big proponent of young marriage but that wasn’t God’s plan for either of us. I also have many friends who are older (*gasp* late 20s or 30s) and would love to be married. This post is for you. I’m not saying these things will end up true in every relationship or even that marriage is the ultimate goal. But here are some great positives that Ryan and I have found just in our first month or so of marriage.
Getting married older definitely works for us and here are 12 of the reasons:
1. He’s self sufficient. This is the something I remind myself on a regular basis. Ryan has survived on his own since moving out of his parent’s house. He made it to 34 without someone reminding him to eat vegetables, do his taxes, floss his teeth or buy new underwear. He can do his own laundry (he actually is better than I am at taking care of his clothes and separating colors) and he can feed himself (his pizza and pasta making skills are excellent) and he knows how to clean too. These are very basic things but they are a huge perk. Of course I don’t always make him feed himself or do the laundry or clean the house but knowing that he is fully capable is wonderful.
2. Sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince. So I wouldn’t really advocate for this one but it has proven true for us. Past relationships are definitely formative and hopefully, whether good or bad, we learn from them. I would like to think that even without my previous relationships, I would still value Ryan very highly but there is something about looking back at ‘what could have been’ and for me, being abundantly thankful that I didn’t choose that road. Comparing can be a dangerous thing but in this case Ryan is head and shoulders above the rest. Both figuratively and literally.
3. We know how to be good roommates. Because Ryan and I have both lived in many different situations other than in our parent’s home or the dorms, we know how to live with other people. We definitely have our way of doing things but we’ve had to deal with other people, sharing space and making it work. These are über valuable skills. Although I think i’m pointing out the obvious here when I say that there are major differences between having a husband or wife and having a roommate. But even with that said, we’re thankful for the past roommate/housemate experiences.
4. We didn’t need to date for years. I’m so thankful that Ryan and I only dated a year before getting married. If we had lived in closer proximity it might not have taken that long but even so a year was long enough but not too long. Once we knew, it just made sense to get married.
5. He’s the right one. I have no doubt that Ryan is God’s best for me and Ryan knows that I am God’s best for him. It may have taken us longer but we didn’t settle for second best or someone who could work. Of course there are compromises and things that we might have wished for on our dream lists (sorry Ryan that I don’t have an angelic singing voice) but we focused on the very important qualities that will sustain us in the long run.
6. God worked on us as singles first. In the Bible Paul talks about not getting married because then your attention will be divided. Of course marriage sanctifies you but Paul has a point. Ryan and I both value our time as singles and the work that God was able to accomplish in us and through us. We are abundantly thankful.
7. “She knows how to be creative in the kitchen.” So this one might really be unique to us but after living in Papua New Guinea I learned how to cook and be creative when it comes to using what’s in the house. Ryan definitely has his food preferences and I am still learning how to please him. But even he would tell you I’m doing a great job. It helps that I know how to follow a recipe, I am not afraid to take chances, try new things, make mistakes but eventually get the recipes to work for us.
8. We have good family habits and boundaries already established. Ryan has lived in California for over 10 years and also lived in North Dakota and Colorado. His family is in Wisconsin and although they love to see him, they don’t expect him there for every event and holiday. I’ve been here, there and almost everywhere so my family loves it when I make an appearance during the holidays or any time really but they don’t expect it. Ryan calls his parents once a week but if he forgets or something comes up, life goes on. I don’t have a regular time that I call my parents but we have our own system. Because our families have realistic expectations for our time, Ryan and I now have the freedom to figure things out ourselves and establish our own family traditions and habits.
9. No one questioned our marriage. So maybe that should read, no one questioned our marriage to our face. But I think this is something people face when getting married young, all the questions “Are you sure?” and doubting statements “But you’re so young!”. I guess the older equivalent is “Did you wonder if you would ever find someone?” and “Are you settling?” But all of that aside Ryan and I did wonder who God had for us, when it would happen and we are both so glad we didn’t settle. I think it was obvious to our families and friends that Ryan and I would be Mr. and Mrs. Ryan Reiter. And it is good.
10. We know that we want marriage. I definitely still need the reminder that God would be sovereign even if I were to have been single the rest of my life and now that I am married God is still sovereign. But Ryan and I both really wanted marriage. We didn’t just want marriage because we were in love with the idea of marriage. We didn’t just want marriage because it’s a social norm or because it’s the next thing to check off the list. We wanted marriage because we want to share our lives with each other. We recognize the joys and sorrows that will come and we choose marriage over our lives as singles. We choose a life together with no regrets of what we might be missing had we stayed single. We are thankful for our single years but now we are thankful to be married.
11. We come in with great life experiences. Ryan and I are both grateful for our experiences and journey before marriage. Although we are looking forward to a lifetime of shared experiences and memories, we both bring to the table unique knowledge, different perspectives and parts of the world unknown to the other. We get to draw on those varied experiences and have them add to our strength as a couple. A small part of me does wish I had met and married Ryan earlier but if given the choice now, I would not give up the experiences in my 20s, not even for this wonderful man. We’re not even sure the 20 year old Joy and 25 year old Ryan would have liked each other. 🙂
12. It’s what God had for us. And that’s the simple truth.