Last week I decided to open up my direct messages for anyone who had questions that I had not yet answered. As much as I love sharing my experience and all that entails, I want to provide content that actually interests my readers.
I got and still get this question all. the. time. and I love answering it because I feel like “knowing the right time” to get married has been so beneficial to starting marriage out on the right foot.
So, I feel like I should start from the beginning.
While most people base their timing of marriage on their feelings, me and my husband combined what we felt with practicality to ensure we were starting marriage off as best we could…whatever that means.
The first and most important factor of our relationship that made getting married much less complicated was that:
- My husband has owned his own house (the one we live in now) since he was 18 years old. This completely eliminated the guess work in finding a place to live once we got married. Plus, that is 5 years of him managing his money as a single man, which means whatever payments or bills he had were easily manageable for him. Which leads me to my next point…
- One of the first things we did in talking marriage was the “money talk”. So, at the time I had a part time job at my college and was a full-time student. I made very little but every penny I did make, I saved once I realized we would be starting our lives together as soon as possible. However, my husband was already in his career. He was established and level headed with his money– he even had and has a side job to bring in extra cash.
- After we had the money talk, we budgeted out our finances as if we were already married. We wanted a clear picture of what that looked like as far as me being added to things like insurance, buying groceries for 2, etc.
- Neither of us had any debt. THIS WAS THE BIGGEST HELPING FACTOR in starting our lives together. Now, I 100% do not want to discredit anyone who may have debt from college or other life happenings because it is often unavoidable. But, somehow we both managed to avoid student debt through hard work and scholarships, our vehicles were paid off, and we avoided credit cards like the plague. What this meant for us was that bills would be kept at a minimum, and we knew we would have to work really hard to live as within our means as possible to continue to avoid debt.
- In addition to #4, I moved home my senior year of undergrad to save my refunds for the program I am currently in. As soon as we decided we were getting married, I knew continuing my education would have been the biggest financial strain on us. This was because when you graduate from a 4-year to attend a 2-year, you lose your biggest scholarships. So, to avoid having to pay for school, I moved home. Once again, no debt.
- My family paid for the wedding and his parents paid for the honeymoon. Both of our families are southern and old-fashioned; while some may not agree with it, we are eternally grateful for these acts. Not only did it help us continue to save, but it was the greatest way they could have showed us their support for our marriage and the joining of our families. The BEST part of that whole process is BOTH families were so “it is whatever y’all want” that neither parties argued…not once. They were so helpful and kind– we will always cherish this and return the favor for our children some day.
Now, onto the less “practical” side of things.
- We loved each other. I don’t just mean the butterflies in your tummy, daydreaming about each other all day kind of love. I mean, we didn’t argue because we could NOT stand to hurt one another in any way. We hated being a part. It was like, all of a sudden our days were just better when we spent them together. We immediately started building our life together. He let me start making changes to the house, I was a part of almost all financial decisions, and he asked me all of the big questions. We have always felt like 1 unit.
- We respected each other. There was no guessing games. There were no instanced of trying to make each other jealous or provoke emotions that weren’t already there. It was just that simple, peaceful kind of love.
- We both felt at peace. There was no questioning it. No matter what life was going to throw at us, we wanted to endure it together.
- We communicated about everything. Anxiety? Let’s talk about it. An ex calls ya up? Let’s talk about it. Feelings leading up to the wedding? Let’s talk about it. We allowed ourselves to have the hard conversations whilst never holding it against one another.
- We were (and are) committed. Yes, to each other and this relationship but, marriage is so so much more than that. We are committed to eachother when we want space, when we are tired and cranky and snap at each other, when we are overwhelmed, when we have a million things to do, when we are mad, and any other situation.
- We show grace. You have to have grace in your relationship to have a successful and healthy marriage. You will make mistakes in your relationship. But you cannot dwell on those mistakes. It’s about realizing that you’re an imperfect person and not holding that against one another.
These are just just a handful of factors that made us feel like marriage was totally right and possible for us at that time. We had a plan, and with little deviation we have stuck to it. I feel like talking about everything, avoiding major purchases, and saving for a year and a half prior to the wedding really helped us to enjoy our first year of marriage for all that it was.
Our journey is likely to be different than most and THAT IS OKAY! Different things and circumstances work for different people.
You have to trust yourself and your significant other. Communication is a huge key. If you can’t communicate reasonably while you are dating or engaged, it does not get easier when you get married. If anything, it gets harder. Your roots are your foundation in the years to come. You want to avoid root rot at all costs.
I still have so much to say about this topic, but this is my beginner story. And I hope it resonates with some of you.
With love, Elizabeth.