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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Why wait?

    “”And this is my husband, Joe.””

    I should be getting used to the reaction — the widening of eyes, the hesitating smiles and quick glances to the diamond ring on my left hand, verifying that I am, in fact, not joking.

    My name is Kathleen Roosa. I’m a graduating senior in finance and creative writing. I am 22 years old. And yes, I am married.

    I introduce Joe Zakhar as my husband in one of two ways. The first is a rushing giddiness, a desire to pluck daisy petals or maybe sing something from “”The Sound of Music”” while dancing awkwardly. It’s a statement of pride, inspired by the natural history of his laughter I spy in the turned-up corners of his mouth.

    The second is said defiantly through a knifelike smile. “”THIS is my husband, Joe.”” It’s a forceful declaration. It’s a manifesto of my right to be a wife.

    Because I know what they’re thinking, the men and women with raised eyebrows — not just strangers, but friends I’ve known for years. They’re thinking I’m too young. That I have no experience. That we haven’t been together long enough.

    I know what they’re thinking because it’s run through my head 1,000 times. Every way you could possibly condemn me as a full-blown idiot has already been considered. I know how crazy it seems to be married at 22, attending school full time and working. My life is a conflagration of to-do lists, calendar notes and heavily doodled notebooks. I know it seems insane. Trust me, I’m living through it.

    My only defense is a love that I can’t describe without jumping headfirst into a pit full of clichés. So excuse the following lines.

    The way I love my husband is not only a reason to wake up in the morning, but a reason to stay up at night (sometimes very late into the night).

    What surprised me most about marriage is that it’s not as big a deal as pop culture makes it out to be. I’m not domesticated. I wasn’t stuck at home folding Joe’s underwear after saying “”I do.”” Come the weekend, we head out with our friends to bars or restaurants. We don’t feel old and grown up. We’re just two kids lucky enough to find our match before we set out on our lives.

    I’m not saying that marriage isn’t work. It takes a lot of honest communication (no mind games ladies!). When things get tough, I can’t run back to my apartment and curl up with a Jane Austen movie. There’s no nasty emails or angry drunk calls since we’re almost always together. And, of course, there is no breaking up for the experience of getting back together six hours later. This marriage stuff is forever.

    I, like many students, thought I’d be married quite a bit after college. Maybe late 20s or early 30s. When I found that guy, I’d be super independent, have a fantastic job and have finally learned how to file my taxes.  

    But marrying at 22 might not be such a bad idea. In August 2009, the American Sociological Association gathered data suggesting that those who marry past 30 run the risk of ending up with poorer-quality marriages. According to the study, “”the greatest likelihood of being in an intact marriage of the highest quality (is) among those who married at ages 22-25.””

    It makes sense. Being young, we aren’t set in our ways and are willing to play the give-and-take game necessary for a successful marriage. It’s easier to start a life with somebody rather than phasing someone into a life already established. We’re graduating into one of the crappiest economies that students have ever seen. A diploma comes with no certainties now, and since we’re starting on square one, we might as well head into the world with someone we love.

    Obviously, life won’t disintegrate into despair and disillusionment if you get married the day after your 30th birthday. But also don’t rush off with your partner of three months and get hitched in Vegas next weekend. Joe and I thought through our future lives and made the decision to get married with a certainty you will only experience once.

    There isn’t much to life but timing. Joe and I will move to New York City in the fall while he attends medical school. I don’t know how my life will end up, but having him in it is all the certainty I need.

    Unless you have somewhere to be, be with someone you love. If that means 30, great. If that means 22, that’s awesome too. So if you have someone amazing in your life and you know you want to be with them, why wait?

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