Nina's Stillwater Calendar

Sunday, September 16

Teenage Marriage, Part III: Gusto

I titled this little series "Teenage Marriage", but what do I know about teenage marriage? I mean I got married as a teenager, but how is that different from getting married at some other age? A 30-year-old probably gets a better honeymoon, a side effect of owning more than $34 in small bills and a 20-yr-old Oldsmobile on her wedding day. But her 30-yr-old husband will promptly start acting like a man and she will have stories much like mine. So what makes a teenage marriage special?

I am going to guess the answer is 'gusto'. I'm not putting down all those loving, happy marriages that started off with maturity and resources and the ability to legally purchase alcohol. But there is a certain enthusiasm that comes with being young and stupid that we lose as the years go by. Of course this enthusiasm can lead to overrun credit cards, ill-advised pregnancies, and other assorted precursors to a bitter divorce. It doesn't have to end that way. It can also end in a bitter middle-aged marriage, kept together because of kids and habit, suffused with resentment over lost opportunities. This is why teenage marriages aren't typically encouraged.

Obviously, I am laboring under the impression that my marriage is an exception to the aforementioned pitfalls and that the gusto in my teenage marriage was a good thing. At their best, maybe teenage marriages can provide a cushion of support that allows both partners to pursue all of the opportunities available to young adults. Having a permanent back-up is nice at all ages. When I head out of town for conferences or internships, someone is home taking care of my house and dogs. When Scott is working all night, someone brings him dinner and a pillow. We'd go to internships and work all night if we were single too, but it is easier and more fun to do it with a back-up person available. But teenagers are particularly prone to needing a back-up:

Umm, sweetie? I missed the bus...again.

Did you know that particular cleaner could melt plastic?

Well, I didn't
realize I left the cell phone in the pocket when I threw them in the wash!

I can't do this problem. I am way too stupid. Why did anyone let me into school anyway? I am going to fail. I should quit now.

And marriage (at its best, at least) gives teenagers a built in back-up that loves them even when they leave their shoes on the floor and wash their new cell-phones and start crying over an algebra problem.

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