"How could she be ready to get married? She was only in high school," "She must have been pregnant," "She'll be divorced before their five year anniversary" and "She's absolutely insane" are probably some thoughts you're having right now.
That's totally fine; I'm used to these types of comments. When you think about it, getting married right out of high school IS crazy. But, as the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland says, "We're all mad here."
It was January of my senior year in high school. I was dating and having a lot of fun, when I met a boy. A man, actually. He had already graduated, and one thing led to another until we fell deeply in love with each other.
I'll save you all the mushy details, but ten days after our first date on Valentine's Day of my senior year, I had already picked out a ring and we started planning our wedding.
Both of our families were incredibly supportive and we knew we were going to end up together, so we didn't see a reason to postpone an awesome marriage. My only request was that he wait until I graduated to actually pop the question and make it "official." He surprised me by showing up to my senior trip and proposing exactly one week after I graduated.
We were married two months later, and I can honestly say that I wouldn't change a thing. We are very happy, and we've both grown up a lot since our wedding. We've learned so much about each other, about the world and functioning as a married couple.
Here are some of the best lessons I've learned from my experience that will hopefully help anyone trying to function in the world, whether you've been married a long time, you're a newlywed or single:
I was seriously judged during this time in my life. While people typically didn't tell me I was crazy to my face, my best friends would get comments all the time from people wondering what I was thinking.
I was in love and I was happy. I honestly didn't care that anyone was talking about me, but I could have been offended easily. It opened my eyes to the fact that everyone has their quirks and strange things, and we're not qualified to judge what anyone else is doing. Love, support and kindness are the only things that really matter when it comes to other people's business.
One of the most beautiful things about human nature is that people have the ability to express what they're passionate about. I love hearing people's opinions on everything from what type of ice cream is best to what the best age is to get married.
While I was dating my husband, people had a lot of opinions. The most important thing to remember is that people having opinions is not a bad thing! Take other's opinions in stride and be graceful about the way you react in any situation.
You'll never be able to please every person in your life, and this is something I still struggle with but had to learn early on. Trying to please everyone will only cause more problems, and ultimately jeopardize your own happiness.
It's important to take feelings of your loved ones into consideration when you're making big decisions, but you ultimately know what's best for you.
I'm a HUGE Disney fan, and when I was little (and to be completely honest, a teenager) I would dream of my prince charming coming to sweep me off my feet. I had been told that marriage was hard, but it wasn't hard in the ways I was expecting.
Suddenly, we needed forks to eat. Weren't those supposed to just be in the drawer? I was living with someone I hadn't lived with before, and I had never had a roommate. How was I supposed to share literally everything?
My husband and I hardly ever fought in our first year, but we did have a whole other set of struggles that came with learning how to function in our new life. The bottom line is, your marriage might be incredible and it might be hard, but everyone has imperfections. Learn what yours are, and work on them in the best way you and your spouse know how.
I can't tell you how many people told me I should go travel the world, have roommates and have a "real college experience" while I was still single.
The thing is, I still got all of those things. My husband and I take trips all the time together and have so much fun. We're roommates, but we get to cuddle every night instead of fight about who takes too long in the bathroom every morning. We go to the same school, and we even had a few classes together in our first couple of semesters.
Don't feel bad for young couples who "missed out." Young couples get to have those same experiences but they are a lot more fun with the love of your life.
I knew I needed to marry my husband. I wouldn't have been able to live with myself if I let such a wonderful man go.
Although I never planned on getting married so young, I took what life had given me and ran with it. It would have been easy to listen to the people telling me I was crazy and I would miss out on life experiences, but because I went with what I knew was best for me, I honestly couldn't be happier.