5 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Getting Married In My Early 20s

When I heard our pastor say, “It is my joy to present to you, for the very first time, Mr. & Mrs. Vagner Lage,” I almost cried for the millionth time that day. I will always remember the elation I felt when I realized we’d actually pulled it off and were finally married. All of my fears faded away as I partied the night away with my brand spankin’ new husband — it was seriously the best day of my life.

But obviously, we’ve had some hard days in the two-and-a-half years since we vowed our lives to each other. Getting engaged at 21 years old and married at 22 years old isn’t for everyone, and if you’d asked me before I met Vagner, I would’ve laughed at the idea. (Vagner wanted to get married young from the time he was a kid, which is hilarious to me!) Obviously, it’s one of the smartest decisions I’ve ever made, but if I could go back in time and give myself some advice, I would. I asked Vagner what advice he’d give his past self, too, so I think this is the first blog post that we’ve ever co-written! Anyway, let’s get started.

I Wish I’d Known That…

1. FOMO Is Normal

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Just like anything else in life, there are pros and cons to settling down in your early 20s. You’ll be in a different stage than a lot of your friends, which isn’t a bad thing! But I sometimes have to say “no” to things because Vagner and I are trying to save enough money to eventually buy a house, and I’d feel like a bad wife for being sad about it! There’s no need to feel guilty if you feel a pang of jealousy when you see your friends vacationing together — it’s actually totally normal. But…

2. Unhealthy Codependency Is Real  

This is an important follow-up to the previous point, and I have to emphasize that it’s important to say goodbye to your husband or wife and spend time with other people. Whether it’s a business trip, night out with friends, or work happy hour, you don’t have to spend every waking moment with your spouse, and you’ll probably feel pretty lonely if you do. I wish I’d said yes to more things in the beginning, too, but we were still figuring everything out. There’s a balance. You may not have as much fun money or free time as your single friends (and if you do, please tell me how, because I seriously need to know), but you still need to make sure you prioritize other relationships. 

3. Intimacy Is Actually, Like, Complicated  

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If you’re related to me, you can read this section without getting grossed out, I promise — no TMI details here. But I do think that I’d be misleading y’all if I didn’t address this: If you’re getting married young and have decided, with your partner, to hold off on sex until marriage, you have to have difficult conversations beforehand. Everyone made it sound like a breeze: You just find an awesome spouse + live happily ever after, but it’s so much more complex than that. I also think it’s so important to not get married for the wrong reasons. The best advice I ever received pre-marriage was, “You’ll have sex, and it’ll be awesome…but then what?” Is there anything else in the relationship you’re looking forward to? If that’s the top perk of marriage, it may not be time.

4. You Can Still Chase Your Dreams

I started my career at the Tampa Bay Times, and a lot of people were baffled when I announced that I was leaving because Vagner was working across the state. I honestly worried that I’d seem vapid for moving for a romantic partner, but I don’t have any regrets looking back. It’s a sacrifice to put your goals on the backburner, but being married this young hasn’t hindered my career choices. If anything, it’s helped them! I have the most supportive husband in the world, and when I’ve applied for jobs across the country on a whim, he’s been excited for me. We’re chasing our career goals together, and it’s awesome.

5. There Will Be Growing Pains 

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When I look back at our wedding pictures, I think about how young we were! It’s only been two years, but I think about how much I’ve changed. My theology, political views and career outlook have all transformed radically, and Vagner says the same thing. And even though you try to grow together, sometimes there are clashes along the way. Open communication helped us figure out how to love each other even if we didn’t agree with the other or weren’t on the same page, and I look forward to many more years of growing for that reason. Do you have anything you wish you’d known before marriage or a long-term relationship? Drop it in the comments!

xo,

Ayana

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