Young Marriage: Growing Together, Growing Separately

What happens if a young couple isn't growing in the same direction? Or maybe just growing at different paces — with one person perceived to be lagging behind or even unwilling to "grow up"? What happens when, one day, you look over to the driver's side of the car, at the man you've been planning a life with for the better part of a decade, and you're overwhelmed with this nagging thought of, crap; maybe we were too young. Maybe everyone has been right, all along. Maybe we're becoming different people; maybe this will all end.

(Note: That's a lot of maybes.)

When Heidi sent me this guest post, it really hit home. Both Heidi and I have spent our 20s going through what the Internet likes to call an "awakening" of sorts — a subtle nudge toward a deeper faith, an awareness of our issues, a mindfulness. And the entire process has been really cool and hard and comforting. But your change doesn't have to take the form of meditation and peace signs and Jack Kornfield audio books. Perhaps you're challenging some deep-set ideological issues, or you're in a self-help phase on controlling your own happiness, or transforming your diet, or connecting with a new church. Maybe something has triggered something inside of you that's helped you, and then you look over at the poor schlub you're living with, and it's like you're on different planets.

 What if I continue to change and he doesn't? What if...what if...what if...?

The thing about stereotypes — the thing no one really wants to admit — is that if you dig beneath the twisted distortions and broad-stroke close-mindedness, therein lies a nugget of truth. And here's the truth about young marriages: We do change a lot throughout our lives. And so if we get married at a very young age, we have more years to change and evolve together. If you can skip through the meadow of life holding hands, totally connected along the way? Well that's a damn beautiful thing. But odds are, we'll have individual growing pains and different types of growth spurts. We can do our best to change with our partners, but we only have so much control in life.

Okay I could go on and on, but I'mma let Heidi take it from here. I'm going to check back in soon with my own struggles with co-dependency and growth, and all of the misconceptions I had about what a marriage actually looks like. For now, let's cover some of the basics with Heidi Oran.