Growing up I often heard about how I needed to be preparing to get married and when I would have a family. It ended up having a negative effect on me--instead of being excited to get married, I didn't think I ever would get married and I didn't like the term "home-maker" ever being attached to my name.
I married my husband just before my 25th birthday and it was the most amazing day! I love my husband and my family. My husband and I had the chance to meet so many times when we were both younger but we never did (my fault, not his) and I'm glad we didn't. If I was given it to do all over again, I would do things differently and start our lives together sooner.
Things I learned because I waited to get married
1. How to think for myself
Growing up, I just did what I wanted. I never gave much thought to it or had any reason for doing what I wanted, I just did what I did mainly because it was easy. I never really started thinking for myself or feeling confident in my choices until after I graduated college and had to make a choice that wasn't expected of me or was a long-term commitment like college was.
Now that I'm married it helps our relationship that I have had experiences in researching and judging choices then dealing with the consequences. When it came time to decide about what to do with finances or when to start our family, I had the confidence that I could add value to the decision making process and I could think differently than my husband and that was OK.
2. How to handle disagreements with a calm demeanor
Ask anyone in my family, I was the instigator growing up. I was notorious for tormenting my older brother until he would hit or chase me and then complaining to my mother so that he would get in trouble--my mother caught on and I had to learn to be sneakier. Going through college with frustrating classmates and hit-or-miss roommates will force you to stay cool. You can't yell at your roommates like you can your family and them not think you are totally bonkers or want to throw you out.
My husband and I have been married for just over 2 1/2 years now. Since then we have had conversations about how to handle finances, politics, career paths and more. It's a no-brained that no couple is going to agree on everything through their marriage and we are no different. The way we handle our disagreements have been greatly blessed because my husband just has a calm demeanor about himself and I was given extra years to learn that skill.
3. How to stick to my guns but still be willing to look at things with a different set of eyes
"Argue your point, even after you learn it's wrong--then just change the way you're arguing it so it's right" was my slogan. I never wanted anyone to be right when I was wrong. Being wrong or admitting defeat was a failure. There wasn't really an a-ha moment about this until after I was married and really had to take someone else's perspective with more than a grain of salt.
My husband and I have had times when we've had discussions and I started out thinking one way was the right direction to head in but talked and listened to the other point of view until WE, TOGHETHER, made a decision. Sometimes I would change my stance and we would go the way my husband presented and sometimes we would go my way. The key to this is that we both agree about the final decision and don't look back or say, "I told you we should have...".
My marriage is no better than yours and no couple is perfect. Our marriage has been blessed because we both have opinions and are able to think for ourselves, we keep a calm head as we discuss the things that come up in our life, and we both stand where we feel we should on our positions but keep an open mind until the decision is made.
I've heard from my in-laws that my husband was born this way, that he has always been calm, wise and acting rational. I, on the other hand, needed a few more years to learn how to be the best wife and companion to him. I'm learning that I want to raise my daughter (and future children) to be better than I was. To not be a stubborn child that gave her parents so much heartache and pain. I want to raise my children to be ready to be a great spouse and companion without needing to wander aimlessly for years as their mother did.