“If the point is to be together, then let’s just be together.”
That’s what I told my then-boyfriend when he suggested that we wait 15 months to get married. It was 2005, and Mike, my now husband, had received orders to Incirlik AB, Turkey, effective almost immediately. He thought it was asking too much of me to leave my job, marry him and move overseas. After all, we’d been dating for only six weeks.
But it wasn’t too much for me; although we were a new couple, we’d known each other for years. So I told him I wasn’t going to waste my time waiting. In a matter of months, we were married and living in Turkey. We hadn’t been a couple for even one year.
Perhaps many of you can relate when I tell you that the hindsight view of our wedding story makes my head spin. “Crazy” might be the word to describe it. What I’d always envisioned as a lengthy, careful process ended up being a series of quickly made decisions that drew a straight line from engagement to wedding.
There wasn’t a romantic proposal or a traditional year of showers, tastings and fittings. My dress was on sale, and our priest gave us a crash-course in marriage preparation. We had a civil ceremony several months before a church wedding. The church was an unfortunate product of 1965 architecture, but it was cheap and available.
And it all was perfect.
I remember thinking nobody had a story like we did. Surely we were the only ones to experience marriage in the express lane. But, I soon discovered we were just an ordinary couple who answered the military’s call by ignoring conventional wisdom and racing down the aisle.
What were we thinking?
Within military circles, it’s no surprise if you married young, quickly or in front of a judge instead of a minister. Few will bat an eye when you mention how little time it took to go from boyfriend and girlfriend to husband and wife.
Outside of military circles, such marriages might seem downright nuts, presenting the usual red flags that lead in the opposite direction of marital bliss. And yet military couples will simply say, “It just feels right.”
So how does that feeling of “right-ness” make a lot of us let go of all the conventional wisdom that says marrying young or fast is a 30-minute recipe for unhappiness?