I Got Married on a Whim

And it was the best rash decision I ever made

I know some people who spend their youth just waiting to get married, dreaming of the day the love of their life drops to one knee in front of them and raises up a ring, eyes a-twinkle. I was not one of those people. In fact, I would’ve guessed that I’d probably never have gotten married or had kids, being adamantly opposed to marriage in general and kind of absurdly independent. I wasn’t the romantic type. Just ask some of my exes. One described me as, in a word, calloused, another as cruel (although I’m sure there were quite a few other words used). No matter how serious a relationship was, marriage was simply off the table. The notion was laughed at (OK, maybe I was cruel). The institution seemed inherently bound to fail and full of strife. That’s all I saw and that’s all I thought possible, and I wasn’t about to tie my happiness to anyone besides myself and risk misery I couldn’t control.

Then I met my husband. We had nothing in common. We shared no interests, came from entirely dissimilar backgrounds, had different goals, and had very nearly opposite lifestyles. None of that mattered. At all. I moved in with him the day after we met. When one week later he said he loved me, I said the same thinking nothing unusual about it. When he proposed another week later, I responded with “about time.” For the first few weeks of telling people, I got tired of answering repeated questions with, “No, I’m not pregnant, and yes, I am sure.” All I knew was that I knew. I never second-guessed it.

Of course, that was completely stupid and could’ve, should have, ended in disaster. But I’m ridiculously lucky.

I wouldn’t say that either of us changed for the other; it would be better described as we evolved together, from the very beginning and to this day (and I hope well into the future). We immediately began aligning our lives, with very little conscious effort. The “important stuff” (finances, family planning, where to live) was never argued over or disagreed upon; we discussed and decided, calmly and easily. While trying to change anyone is futile and misguided, changing was still necessary for our relationship to work. If he were still the guy I met a decade ago, I’d be absolutely sick of him (to be fair, if I were the same as then, I’d be sick of myself, too). People grow with time, inevitably, and the direction we both took was toward each other (and I’d like to believe for the better as individuals, as well). We found ourselves agreeing on things as simple and inconsequential as wanting the same entree to split at a restaurant to choices as pivotal as deciding how many lives to bring into this world.

I’d be lying and foolish to say the marriage is perfect. We have struggles, peeves, complaints and pain. Disagreements and distress have resulted in fights where metaphoric teeth are shown and very real tears are shed, and there will be more. But we always seek resolution and never retreat from each other. While harm has been caused, it’s never been intentional and has always been corrected as soon as it’s brought to the surface.

That being said, we’ve hopefully got decades to go, and I know that it will take constant work reevaluating our relationship so that positive change can still be made to correct the moments that move us apart. It’s easy to get complacent and take each other for granted, which leads to treating each other with less respect than is owed. Being aware of this is how to avoid it though. Our goal is to let our love show, even through (especially through) trauma and turmoil.

Do I recommend rushing into a marriage? Of course not. But sometimes, you just have to admit that it’s occasionally true what they say: When you know, you know.

2015, 2021