Hey everybody! You may have noticed that I haven’t had too many personal posts on my blog lately, but I’m happy to be back speaking one-on-one with you guys — and about something that I’m super passionate about: love!
If you’re new here (welcome!), you may not know that I am soon to be married to my high school sweetheart, Ryan. Our wedding is on May 19, 2018, which is exactly 30 days away! To celebrate, I’m going to do a full Q&A specifically about being in a long-term relationship as a 20-something!
A lot of my fellow blogger friends were recently engaged and/or married, and many of them experienced contention when sharing their exciting news with friends and loved ones. Ryan and I were so lucky to not have anyone (that we actually knew) not support our marriage, but we did get a lot of backhanded comments from people like secretaries at the marriage license office (ahem) who didn’t support our choice to get married young.
If you’re in a similar situation, I hope this compilation of advice helps you!
Disclaimer: I am in no way certified or especially qualified to give any of this advice. This is all from personal experience and should not be taken as professional guidance.
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1. How long have you two been together?
Ryan and I have been officially dating since October 2014, so by the time we get married, we will have been together for 3 and a half years! In that time, we both graduated from high school, I graduated from college (twice!), and he graduated from EMT academy. We also moved in together about a year ago!
2. How do you deal with disagreements?
Everyone always asks this and I don’t know what to say because I wouldn’t consider myself a counselor of any sort, and I don’t feel like it’s my place to tell other people how to run their relationships!
That said, Ryan and I grew up together, so there isn’t really any issue as far as communication goes between him and I — we’re both open books! When we do have disagreements, we usually just sit down (in person), talk them out, make up, and move on.
I don’t think there’s any secret to this, and I wouldn’t say we “never go to bed angry,” either. (Sometimes you just have to sleep on things!)
Anyway, Ryan and I are comfortable enough in our relationship to be able to talk things out without issue. I always know I can tell him how I feel without having to worry about a thing!
3. What is one unexpected challenge you face in your relationship?
This is such a hard question! I actually had to sit and think about this one for a bit before typing up my answer.
I think it can be very difficult for young couples to grow into individuals as well as growing together. Ryan and I started dating in high school, and now as a college graduate, I am a completely different person than I was when we started dating — and Ryan’s a completely different guy, too!
This means that we’ve had some growing pains over the years — and I’m sure there will be more — but we always come out of these rough patches stronger, which I think is so important.
I feel like he and I have really blossomed together and as individuals over the years, and we always push each other to be better, more ambitious, and more successful. And when we accomplish these things as individuals, we’re able to set up goals as a couple: from marriage to moving out to getting a pet and (one day) to having kids.
So I think the biggest challenge for young couples is making sure you grow together as you grow up — but if you can get through these major life changes in young adulthood, you can probably get through anything.
4. How do you show your love every day?
I don’t think this one is as hard as people make it seem! To me, sharing my love means appreciating what he does, showering him with gifts (whenever I get the opportunity), and providing encouragement to him to chase his dreams, whatever they are!
I know Ryan also makes it a point to appreciate what I do for him, even when that’s just cooking dinner or folding the clothes — he always says thank you! He also likes to surprise me with little things like a hot chocolate from Starbucks or a candy bar when I’m having a bad day.
We also support each other’s mental and physical health, and mutually try to be better people every day, and I think that really shows how much we care for one another.
5. How do you make sure your relationship doesn’t feel stagnant or routine?
When I know the answer to this question, I will be a millionaire.
In all seriousness, Ryan and I try to take advantage of our youth by traveling as often as possible and trying new things whenever we can. It’s great that we grew up together, because we had a lot of the same experiences growing up, and now we can tackle all the new stuff together!
I think it’s also important to not let your life become routine outside of your relationship, or you may feel stuck all around. Don’t be afraid to do things by yourself, have your own group of friends, or pursue an individual dream. You don’t have to do everything together, and chances are, if you’re happier as an independent person, you’ll be happier as a spouse!
6. How do you respond when people tell you you’re too young or too inexperienced to be married?
Like I said before, people don’t really tell us this that often. I think maybe 2 or 3 have said it in the entire year and a half we’ve been engaged — and we didn’t know any of these people by name — so we really don’t have to deal with this like many other young couples do. That said, my best advice for those in this situation would just be to take it with grace. Say thanks for the advice, and move on.
If they won’t let up, you’ll have to be a bit more aggressive, but I think it’s important to keep in mind that when people tell you this, they mean well. They probably just don’t want you to make the same mistakes that they (or someone they know) did.
The issue arises, in my opinion, when everyone starts telling you this — or when people who are very close and important to you do. For me, I know if my parents had a bad feeling about my relationship, I would put a lot of weight on that, because my parents are two of my closest friends.
If your parents or friends are concerned about your relationship, however, you may want to ask for clarification: why do they feel that way? Are they seeing red flags that you don’t see? If their opinions have any merit, they may be able to answer these questions and give sound advice. It’s ultimately up to you if you take it, but don’t hesitate to hear them out at least once.
7. What advice do you have for other young couples thinking about marriage?
My best advice is to just follow your heart. I think you know when you’ve found the right person for you, and if you’re being treated like a king or queen by them, you’re happy to spend time with them, and you can see a future together, your relationship is probably on the right track.
But just remember that (s)he doesn’t have to be “the one.” You don’t have to settle down in your early or even late twenties! Do what feels right for you when it feels right for you, and don’t rush anything for anyone else’s sake.
I hope these seven pieces of advice help you in your love life! Thank you guys for always supporting Ryan and I on our journey through life together, too — I can’t wait to marry my best friend in just 30 days!
See you soon!