You'll Be Married by Nineteen

April 27, 2018

When I was eighteen and got my acceptance to Brigham Young University, it seemed that everyone I knew told me, "you'll be married by nineteen." I welcomed this. I was excited. I hadn't had any family ever go to BYU, but you hear the stories of the lost freshman crossing paths with the recently-returned RM (returned returned-missionary?). They fall in love, they get married four months later. I practically wanted this to be me - not in the sense that I was desperate for love and would marry the first poor sucker to turn my way, but because I just felt like that was what was going to happen. It was exciting. I was going to find the man of my dreams and make babies and live happily ever after.
I came to BYU and I quickly learned that Prince Charming wasn't quite so charming. He didn't text back. He only wanted to ask your tall, tan roommate on dates. He showed up in the voice of his even-less charming friends, meaning well, telling you to dress better. I didn't go on dates. I'm not sure there were even that many boys that I was really interested in (not that I talked to that many people anyways). I can maybe name two guys that I was qualified to have a crush on.
I decided in my sophomore year of college that this binging Netflix and eating frozen chicken pot pies thing wasn't working for me. I really don't think much changed other than forcing myself to be outgoing, but I was actually getting asked out on dates. And compared to my friends, it seemed like there were a lot of them. I've never been her before - the girl that guys were interested in.
I'm an extroverted introvert. I love one-on-one interaction with people and I crave and cultivate relationships with those around me, but I wasn't about to just chat up the cute guy in my ward. And if I did, he wasn't going to take me seriously.
Cue the college boyfriend (Am I old enough to refer to someone as my college boyfriend?). I knew his roommates but I didn't really know him. I thought he was cute and I had our mutual friend drag him to things like game nights and taco Tuesdays (because I was hosting these things on a weekly basis, and like, people actually came???) and somehow wrangled him into a relationship. We were nauseatingly cute and I was excessively happy and I fell in love fast. It always seemed to be a serious relationship, we weren't just casually dating. But we wanted different things (cue Chandler Bing voice: could I be more cliché?). The more serious the relationship became, the more obvious it was. And that's okay. We dated when I was 20-21. By this time I had already missed the "ring by spring" three times.
But I learned qualities that I wanted in a partner: hard working, funny, genuine, and caring. Loving his family as my own was a very significant added bonus. He broke up with me during my last semester at BYU. I graduated single and without a plan in the world. I joked that my mom was dissapointed that I finished school at the "Lord's University" without an eternal companion, but I know this can be a cause for concern for many.
Um, I'm pretty sure I was promised (by no legitimate authority other than my own convincing) that I would get married at 19? Didn't God remember that?
Throughout my main college relationship, I had slowly stopped throwing as many parties. I worked a lot, volunteered a lot, and stressed a lot. I didn't go to church as much as I should've. I didn't really know anybody. I soon turned 22 and I began online dating.
I only met a few guys from online. Of course they were extremely vetted beforehand. I took silly (but in my mind, necessary) precautions (message me if you want a good laugh) if we were actually going to go on a date. None of them seemed like the kind of guy I would even want to be in a relationship with, let alone marry for time and all eternity.
Then I met Jamison. He was annoyingly charming (he still is). If I was ever mad or sad, he could instantly change my mood. He took me to meet his family and opened his life to me. We trusted each other with our faults and weaknesses. We have grown together, loved together, and binged too many TV shows together (because this doesn't always have to be a bad thing). He is so different from any other man that I have had feelings for, but it's different in a good way. He puts me out of my comfort zone. He makes me better. And I love him. I have known for a long time that I wanted to marry him.



So here I am. 23 years old. I have been graduated from college for a year and a half. I have been in a relationship for over a year. And now, we're getting married. By no means is 23 a "spinster" age, especially outside of Mormonville, Utah, USA. I have felt a lot of frustrations in dating. I have seen friends meet someone after I have, get engaged, married, and have a baby before we got anywhere near any of those steps. I have been in a lot of long-term relationships. I have seen glimpses of futures with many. I have loved myself and I have hated myself. I have been convinced that the only "soul mate" that I would ever have were my female-best friend-roommates. I have felt like a spinster and I have been a hot commodity (emphasis on the hot).
There's (probably) nothing wrong with getting married at nineteen, but there's nothing wrong with getting married at 23 either. I am excited for me and Jamison to begin our lives together. I am excited to grow together, to love deeply, and to be eternal best friends.
I have lived in Utah for five years now (wow, somebody stop me), and I have only recently found the one for me. I have found the one to bring me closer to God. I have found the one to help me better love myself. I have found the one who likes the same TV shows that I do and (probably) doesn't watch them without me. It took me a little longer to find him than most of my peers, but he was worth the wait.

Yours truly,
McKay

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