Why Getting Engaged Young is the Best Decision I’ve Made

If you don’t follow me on social media, you may not have heard that my girlfriend, Elese, and I got engaged recently – if you do follow me, I want to take a moment to say thank you for all of your congratulations and well wishes! However, considering I am only freshly 20, I expect that I will be receiving quite a few judgmental stares from those who catch a glimpse of my engagement ring. 

I never imagined I’d be the “type” of girl that would get engaged so young. If that sounds presumptuous or judgmental, that’s because that’s how I felt about it. I would sneer at my Facebook timeline, questioning why yet another one of my friends got married right out of high school or roll my eyes when I saw college girls with flashy rings. That seems to be the majority opinion about marriage among millennials today. Before, it was expected for people to make these commitments before the ink on their high school diplomas dried. Now the number of people getting married has severely dropped, whether people are deciding to get married in their older years or just not do it at all. 

But then I found myself in a committed relationship for several years, and one day I realized that I just couldn’t imagine my life without her. 

We had talked about it on several occasions – the conversations becoming more and more frequent the longer we were together – so there was no question about what either of us wanted. It was never a question about if we would make “forever” happen, but when. 

And so, on Apr. 6th, we were in Oven Park with her mother, and she dropped down on one knee. 

Now, because there is such a negative stigma about getting engaged/married young, I want to share a few reasons why it is the best decision I have ever made. 

1. I’m Doing It Because I Want to, Not Because I Feel Pressured to.

Between the Facebook timelines clogged with engagement announcements and wedding photos, marriage is often at the forefront of any person in their late-20’s mind. There seems to be a lot of pressure put on women in their late-20’s to early-30’s. Seeing all of their friends getting married can often lead to jealousy and feeling pressured, which can lead to people tying the knot for all the wrong reasons. However, that pressure to get married – feeling like “time is running out,” as some people put it – isn’t put onto those in their early-20’s. We are getting married young because we want to, not because we feel pressured by our friends getting married or by parental units. It was very much our decisions, there was no pressure at all.

2. I Have A Built-In Support System for My “Turbulent 20’s.

Your 20’s is supposed to be a time of extreme change, between graduating college, finding jobs and careers and overall just figuring out who you are and what your place in this world is. However, my fiancée and I have supported each other through every life transition so far – from the hormones of our teenage years to adjusting into college to figuring out who we are in this milestone of life – and we will continue to support each other through our “turbulent 20’s.” This time of transition and self-discovery will be much easier to tackle knowing that I have someone to come home to who will support me through anything.   

3. Tackling Your 20’s Together Can Actually Strengthen You as a Couple.

Having a sidekick for this transition in your life isn’t only helpful; going through these challenges can actually strengthen you as a couple. You learn how to support one another through every new challenge, and how to be there for each other and share your joys, not just your problems. 

4. The Fun Things You’re “Supposed” to Do in Your 20’s Aren’t Actually Life Requirements ...

We’ve all seen the lists of “20 Things to Do Before Getting Hitched,” or “30 Things to Do Before You’re 30.” These lists often include things like, “Go on a road trip,” “Pick up a new sport,” or, “Face one of your biggest fears.” In reality, I’m sitting here thinking, “How many of these things would I have actually done if I were single? Would I really go on a road trip across the country by myself? Probably not, but I did do it with her. Every person is different, and not everyone needs to do these things in order to have a fulfilling young adulthood.   

5. … But They Are Even More Fun with Your Best Friend Beside You.

I went on a road trip across the country with her – twice. I went on my first flight with her. We are moving into our first apartment together. We have had a ton of amazing adventures and milestones – and we aren’t even married yet! The idea that marriage is the “end of the road” is complete bull that makes it seem like marriage is the end of your youth and the end of having fun. In reality, if you marry the right person, it’s only the beginning of the road, not the end. The person you marry should be the person you can have these fun adventures with – and make it far more fun than doing these things alone.  

6. We Have Watched Each Other Grow and Change for the Better.

She saw me when I was a hormonal 16-year-old trying to tackle her mental health and an 18-year-old trying to figure out if I even wanted to go to college. I have changed tremendously in college, and I’m only halfway through! Witnessing this change in a relationship is so important; you not only have a deep background, but you are aware of and comfortable with the fact that your partner will change. I am ready to grow and change with her knowing that we can adapt together.   

7. We’ve Got Nothing but Time. 

Growing up, when I thought about marriage, my goal was to reach that milestone of our 50 anniversary. Now, my fiancée and I will have plenty of time to reach that and hopefully beyond. I have much more time than I could have imagined with this person who will be by my side through every milestone and every evolution and will love me through it all. In the end, time is all that matters, and I have until the end of it with her. 

The truth about getting engaged so young is that people will judge you, but my truth is that it is worth it. It is worth it to look into my fiancée’s eyes and see our future. My truth is that I don’t care what other people think. My truth is that I don’t care what my wedding colors are or how many carats my ring is or what my ceremony looks like as long as I get to marry my girl. My truth is that I am happy, and I am ready for this. 

We plan to wait until we both graduate before we officially get married. And after that, we head toward forever.  

All images courtesy of Jaelynn Hart.