by Dusty Pendleton, As Mom Sees It
I’ve heard people say that the chance of getting divorced is minimized if you get married when you’re older, as opposed to when you’re in your teens or twenties. I’ve never pictured myself divorced—I suppose most of us don’t—but I also never pictured myself waiting to get married until my late thirties.
The latter is a bit easier to picture now since last year, I was married for the first time at age 37.
Everything Is The Same, Probably
I would love to tell you that waiting until you’re older to get married made everything easier, but I’ve not been married before, so I have no frame of reference. If I’ve learned one thing about being married, it’s that it’s work no matter how old you are.
I hate to use the word “work” and apply it to the sanctity of marriage, but every day you have to try. Whether it’s trying to make the other person happy in some small way, or trying to make time for each other when jobs and kids are a part of your every day, marriage is indeed work.
While we both are a little older and possibly wiser, the truth is we were also dead-set in our ways because we’ve been single adults far longer than we’ve been married adults. We had our own savings accounts, checking accounts, spending habits, and we each came with our own baggage. Except now that we’re older, our baggage is heavier and more worn.
Everything Is Different
At 37- and 38-years-old, we had far more to confess when we started dating. We had more notches in our bed posts, we had more skeletons in our closets, we had more “you-should-probably-know”s, and I already had kids. We had to figure out how to merge all of our skeletons—and wardrobes, for that matter—into one closet.
We had to figure out who paid what when we moved in together. We had to figure out a way to make two completely separate lives work as one seamless life together. Higher possibility of divorce or not, I imagine that doing those things when you’re in your early twenties has to be easier.
Once Our Skeletons Found Their Way
Dare I say, though I know my husband will agree, that finding a way to live together was far more difficult and challenging than planning the wedding and actually getting married. We fought so much our first year of dating that I’m not even sure how we made it to this point. When you’re dating in your twenties, there’s so much room for the “who cares” and “there’s other fish in the sea.” When you’re in your thirties, it’s more of an audition for a permanent spot as the star of a major show. Not because of a lack of time or choice, but because it seems less like the Dating Game and more like real life.
When we registered for our wedding, it was more replacing worn hand-me-downs than trying to stock an entire new home. When we said our vows, we did so in front of immediate family and when it came time for our reception, it was an all-out party and in no way proper. We had a pig on a spit and a disco ball in a tent in our backyard.
It was a low-budget production that was absolute perfection. We would not have done it any other way.
My husband and I often wonder if we would have fallen in love and gotten married if we’d met earlier in life. One of many things we both agree on is that the answer to that question is an emphatic “NO.” You meet who’s right for you when it’s right for you, even if it’s in your late thirties. You work at it, no matter what your age, and you make it work together if it’s meant to be.
Thank God, we also both agree, this was definitely meant to be.
Dusty Pendleton is a happily married mom with two kids, a 16-year-old and a 5-year-old. She lives in Ohio with her family and is the editor of the lifestyle and travel blog, As Mom Sees It.