I was married at the young age of 19. Yup, I know. Besides possibly setting a new record, I am also "crazy." Don't worry. You don't need to tell me that. I already know.
In fact, I've heard it all:
"Didn't you just get out of high school?"
"It was just yesterday that you were in diapers!! You're just a baby!"
"Don't you think you should date more before making such a big decision?"
"Are you sure about this? It's a lot of responsibility."
"Oh wow, engaged? Wait... Really? But you're only 19."
"Are you even old enough to sign marriage certificate?"
"Are you pregnant or something?!"
"How do you know he's what you want? You haven't even tested the waters!"
"You're too young to know what real love is."
And perhaps the most common statement of all:
"Don't you think you'll regret not living up your single years?"
"I wish I waited a bit longer to get married and just let myself have fun. You can't take back these years that you're giving up to get married. You can wait, you know."
To all those people who doubted my decision and told me I was "giving it up," you were absolutely right.
I gave up my heart. The moment I said "I do," my love was no longer my own. I gave another imperfect human being the ability to take me higher than I've ever been, but also the power too crush me to a million little pieces.
I gave up my privacy. I went home on June 8th in someone else's car, to sleep in someone else's bed and to breathe someone else's air. It would never, from that moment on, be just "me" anymore. It was now me and him and him and me. It was now our family, our home and our decisions. It's funny though, because the moment "I" became a "we," I realized what it really meant to be happy.
I gave up my name. The name I was known for my whole life, didn't define me anymore. I would be known by his name now. I was his to cherish, love, hold, laugh with, cry with, provide for and protect.
I gave up my secrets, my weaknesses, my thoughts, my mistakes and the things I hid from the world. Someone now would know. But, someone would also know exactly how to help me, love me and comfort me. Someone would know me so well that they would know what I needed without me ever asking. I would lose all the hidden parts of me, and gain a perfect understanding and love from someone else.
I gave up my agenda. I would have to cancel plans, rearrange my schedule, work longer hours, go to the grocery store when the car was available and cook dinner instead of taking a nap. And as the clock was ticking I would come to understand the reason I was given time in the first place.
I would give up dating different people. I no longer was available for anyone to take out. I was done meeting potential spouses because I had found mine. Yes, I could have dated more. Yes, there are lots of great people out there that I didn't meet, but no, there's no one else as perfect for me as my Ash. And yes, I can know that even though I dated less years than most people and yes I did know that when I picked him, which was WHY I picked him.
I gave up awkward dinner conversations and replaced them with evenings laying in my hubby's arms, with a round belly and no make up, sporting his sweats and an oversized T-shirt I won at some jazz game, eating microwave popcorn and watching Netflix and feeling more beautiful than a celebrity on the red carpet.
I gave up my money, my time, my need to be right, my stubbornness, my life and my whole self.
And yes I did give up YEARS of my life that I can NEVER get back or change.
BUT the difference between me and you is I don't regret one day, minute or second of those years.
If anything, I wish I had began this incredible journey called marriage sooner, because nothing I have ever done, or could ever do, has filled me with as much love, happiness and peace as this. Yes it can be harder than I ever imagined it would be. I am challenged every day to be a better more selfless person that I am, but my life has taken on more meaning than I knew it could and I have become more complete than I thought was possible.
And if given the choice, I would do it all over again.
I would "give it all up" in a heartbeat.
This post was previously published on Natasha's blog Confessions of a Teenage Bride.