The first thing people who don’t know me and James do when we say we’re engaged is very often negative.
We’ve had rolling of the eyes, raised eyebrows and in a certain, nameless bridal boutique, all out refusing to take me seriously because I look so young until I rang up (their attitude changed tenfold).
All of this naturally centres around the fact I look about fourteen, and I look like if I am engaged, it’s probably illegal in a lot of countries including the UK.
And even if I am older than I look, I can’t be that old.
The second thing is to ask “what, are you religious or something?”. My exasperated answer always revolves around, “yes, I am a Christian, but no, that isn’t the only reason I am getting married.”
People seem to assume that James and I are a) not taking this whole engagement thing seriously, and b) we’re only getting married because we’re ‘religious’.
Yes, getting engaged at 22 in 2014 is young and somewhat unconventional. And yes, being a Christian has something to do with that.
But actually, I didn’t really care how old I was going to be when I marry James. I just knew, from quite early on, that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. Marriage is such an important life step, and I wouldn’t want to take that lightly with anyone – I certainly don’t want to be a divorcee by 30.
Marriage is something that has to be built and of course there is no happy ever after. I fully expect that after a while, James’ explaining voice will drive me over the edge; that sometimes he will be hard to love – and so will I.
But marriage wasn’t created to be easy – we’re all imperfect people trying to find our way in life.
We live in a throwaway culture, where marriage is just seen as the ‘next stage’ in a relationship, and one that if it doesn’t work out, can just be abandoned. That humans aren’t meant to be monogamous and it’s only human nature to want to move on and get bored. That the feeling of being in love & feeling butterflies in our stomach is the only thing that should keep us together.
But that is what makes marriage so special, that we go against our instincts to sow our wild oats, and commit for life to one person. For me, divorce isn’t an option, unless of course someone was in an abusive, disrespectful relationship.
So yes, we are young – we fully expect the rolling of the eyes and the disapproving looks. But we are living for something much greater, something that our God has ordained and planned for us, even if that bucks the societal trends.
And I won’t let that bridal boutique treat me like a silly little girl.