I got engaged at an early age, and though others may scoff at that, I don't regret it for one minute.
Sometimes, people treat me as if I'm insane for getting engaged at a young age. They always fool me into thinking that life is a set of calculations I have to solve before even considering marriage, and I hate it. They think I'm idiotic when I say I don't have all the answers, but I have a direction and plan. They comment on how I should have everything lined up, and I'm left feeling like my romantic view of love has been zapped of all its wonder and magic.
I start to believe them, that maybe love is more than just wanting to marry your best friend; it's money, a secure job, insurance, car payments, rent, and all the troublesome things of real life.
This is the problem I have with many views on love circulating around our culture today. Too many people empty love of its fascination, making it more a matter of getting your ducks all in a row instead of sweeping you away in something profound and magical. People blog on the joys of being single, parade around how great it is to be young and not engaged, and talk to those who are engaged as if they're making a mistake. But in my mind, these views don't have the right perception of love.
Maybe, we're against getting engaged at an early age because we believe the wrong things about love.
Call me a rebel, but I don't think love is dependent on my age. Here are the things I do believe about love, the things that propelled me to propose in the first place:
1. Love is not an end.
Some people's solution to the growing divorce rate in America is to find out who you are and get what you want in life before you enter marriage; that way you're never left guessing whether you could've had more during your marriage. I hate this view. It makes it seems like you have to have everything together before you get married, like marriage is a halt to your ambitions, stopping you from doing what you want and becoming who you need to be.
Love is not an end. It is continuous, encouraging and cultivating us to be more in this world. Love, when expressed in its greatest fashion, is meant to encourage your dreams, not stifle them.
2. Love is not part of a checklist to life.
When people talk about life and love, they act as if falling in love and getting married are part of some cosmic checklist to life that everyone has to accomplish. The thing about this view is that when you have checklists, you feel unsatisfied unless you move onto the next thing and cross it off your list. Marriage then becomes a requirement for everyone.
For me, I find magic in the idea that marriage is not something I have to do; it's something I choose to do. Seeing marriage in this light adds value to what I'm doing, beautifies it by making it a choice rather than an obligation.
3. Love is not determined by age.
People say I'm young, and that's true. But when people say I'm too young for marriage, I oppose that. Maturity and love are not defined within numbers; they're expressed through manner. Sometimes, maturity is linked with age, but as you grow older, your thinking, your circumstances, and how you position yourself in society define your maturity. If you prove yourself to be ready for marriage, then a number shouldn't tell you otherwise.
4. Love is not measured by the quantity of your money.
People wait to get engaged until they make a certain amount, and there's nothing wrong with that. But that's not my story. In my heart, I was wildly in love with my fiancé, so much so that I couldn't wait till I had a steady job. What I knew was that when it came down to it, I would buckle down and provide, no matter what that costs me.
If to love is to risk, then let love be measured by risk, not by how comfortable you are.
5. Most importantly, love is an adventure.
Some people live boring love stories, where their relationship is nothing more than a routine of dinner and a movie. When love is viewed as a routine, it's easy to encourage others not to jump into it at an early age. We tell others to live life while they're young, but maybe, to love is to live life. Because love, in its right sense, is an adventure, compelling us to live better stories with our lives. It doesn't make sense to dull love down to habit and procedure. If love is to live to its potential, it should continue to sprout new stories and new journeys, sprinkling our lives with creativity and enjoyment rather than boredom.
Love is the most creative and daring adventure anyone could choose to go on. This means that the only end associated with marriage is the ending to a boring and complacent story.
These are the foundational lessons on love I'm holding onto as I get ready to marry my best friend. They remind me that the only insanity I have is to love deeply and passionately; and in my opinion, that's the best form of insanity there is.