real life

Straw poll: Is this too young to get married?

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“Who gets married at 22? Me.”

By JESSICA PETERS

My colleague stared at me wide eyed: “But you’re too young to get married! You’ve barely experienced life. What’s the rush?”

“You’re just a baby,” another exclaimed.

A discussion about how old my colleagues were when they tied the knot followed. All of them were at least thirty.

I fiddled with the sapphire engagement ring hugging my finger as they agreed I didn’t have enough life experience to get married. Who gets married at twenty-two these days?

Me.

My temper was boiling. How can people who only know me in a professional manner declare that I am too young and inexperienced to get married? They don’t know anything about me or my fiancé.

My fiancé and I have been together for six years and have lived together for two of those. We have endured my depression, anxiety and low libido. I supported his decision to join the defence force at the tender age of eighteen.

We survived a two year long distance relationship and only saw each other every three months. We soldiered through his deployment. I left my family and friends behind in Tasmania and moved to far North Queensland to be with him. He is my best friend and I couldn’t imagine my life without him.

We support each other and compromise for each other. We are committed to each other in every single way. In fact, I trust him so much that if he admitted he had cheated on me, he would have to produce photographic evidence before I would believe him.

I admit, I am a young bride-to-be, considering (according to IBISworld Australia) the average age of the Australian bride is twenty nine. I don’t understand why young marriage has become stigmatised when it used to be the norm. At what age will we be considered old and experienced enough to take the plunge? Twenty-four, twenty-eight or thirty-five?

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“I am well aware marriage is going to be hard.”

Some people may believe that I am swept up in the fairytale of having a wedding. But we have no desire to have a big, perfect wedding. Ours will be simple and intimate, in a garden with no more than 50 guests.

I have purchased as many things from Ebay as possible and my Nan is making the cake. We are spending no more than $5,000 on the entire day. We consider anything over that a waste, especially when that money could equal a house deposit.

It is just one day where will share with our family and friends a commitment we have already made to each other. We don’t need to spend a fortune on that.

To us, marriage means committing to sharing our future, family and friends, good times and bad times. It means promising to love each other unconditionally, to support one other to achieve our dreams and to pledge to do everything in our power to make our relationship work.

I am well aware marriage is going to be hard. I know I will have to make compromises and sacrifices. But I have decided that I am ready for that.

Yes, I may be getting married at a young age, but who cares? I am old enough to drink legally, drive, buy a house, support myself financially and vote for our country’s leader. I have had plenty of life experience in the past six years and am capable making my own decisions.

So please stop making me feel like a naive child.

Jessica is a 20 something freelance writer who dreams of publishing the next Hunger Games. She lives with her fiancé and overly large dog Melvin. You can find her on WordPress here.

Do you think 22 is too young to get married? How old were you when you walked down the aisle?

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