Monday, May 2, 2011

High school sweethearts

Reading a tweet from the wonderful Rae today, I was struck again by a stereotype I've encountered again and again....

"Marrying your high school sweetheart is the stupidest thing you could possibly do."

We see it again and again in movies and songs, in people's reactions and commentary. And I see it every time I tell someone how my husband and I met. That's right, Einstein and I were (are?) high school sweethearts.

Why is this considered a bad thing???? I mean, really. I heard (and still hear) things like:

1) You are/were too young to know what you wanted.

Um, okay. Trust me, I knew what I wanted! Here's the thing: if we were too young, we were BOTH too young. And we've grown up together. And because of that, we've grown together, not apart- I always say I fell in love with a boy, and have just kept on falling in love. Why? Because I (we!) work to do that. We aren't the same people we were when we fell in love (more than 10 years ago), thank you, God. I'm actually pretty sure there isn't a magical age where people stop acting like idiots; I'm just glad I found an idiot who has gotten smarter along with me.

2) You can't experience the world with a boy tying you down.

Maybe if you are a codependent person in a relationship with a homebody. Both of us traveled, had separate friends, lived hundreds (sometimes thousands) of miles apart. It wasn't easy. It wasn't always roses and chocolates. But I have experienced more of the world than I would have had the courage to do without him by my side (either physically or mentally).

3) How can you possibly make a decision like that after dating only one guy?

Because I firmly believe that marriage is AT LEAST half determination and commitment. I'm lucky enough that so far the other 50% has been being crazy in love. But I'm pretty sure the determination and commitment will see us through even when the crazy in love dwindles to 5-10%. Also, he is a pretty great guy. Everyone has flaws. Waiting for Prince Charming wouldn't have worked for me; I'm a perfectionist- I would never, ever have found him.

Okay. I could rant a lot more on this one, but I have to go to work in the morning. That's all I've got.


Rae said...

I love this! The reason I tagged my tweet #SadButTrue was that I now think that was a very immature (if funny in its silliness!) view of the world.

I think there is something remarkably wonderful about young love which grows together. And while I would never advise someone to marry his/her highschool sweetheart *while still in highschool* I think it is great when good relationships last far, far beyond highschool. But even that I would qualify as my parents-in-law got married before my MIL finished highschool, and 30+ years later they have one of the best relationships I've seen.

Ross said...

I agree! My fiance and I dated from the summer before freshman year of high school to present, and never broke up. I don't regret it for a second. Luckily, all of our family and friends (aka, the people who count!) are supportive, it's only the general public that disapproves. And really, I don't care what they think!

Anni said...

Er, speaking of my fiance, I was on his computer and signed into his Gmail. Whoops!

James said...

All relationships live or die depending on exactly what you said about determination and commitment. It really doesn't matter how you met, how long you dated, how old you were when you got together etc etc etc. There are couples that met and got married inside of a month that have been married 60 yrs (my husbands grandparents) and couples that met on a bus, married 2 weeks later and have been married over 40 yrs (my aunt and uncle). Many judgments get passed on those types of people too. "How can you know you want to marry that soon. It'll never last, you know nothing about each other" blah blah blah. It's just as you said, determination and commitment.

That said, I too am guilty of the high school sweethearts is somehow "bad" stigma. Mostly because it was "frowned upon" in the mid west where I grew up. The idea was you hadn't experienced enough of the world or enough other people to know that's what you wanted for the rest of your life. But the truth of it is, if you're in love and committed to the relationship and have no desire to go "looking" any further you have just as much chance as making it as anyone else.

As I told Rae on twitter, I still feel the need to tell people that my husband and I were not high school sweethearts. Why, I don't know, I guess I don't want other people that think that way to pass judgment. We went to high school together, were friends, and graduated the same year. My DH was in love with me since the day he met me and I was way too cool for him then ;) I actually dated someone else during high school (who I thank God every day that I didn't marry even though I thought I wanted to at the time).

James said...

and I couldn't remember my gmail password so I too am signed in as my husband LOL


Solitary Wind Chime said...

I'm half of a high school sweetheart marriage, and I agree that it's the best thing. I can't imagine having had to go through college worry about finding a date or getting over a break up. I watched everyone else do it, and it was madness. I'll take my DH any day.

Tressa said...

Love this! I did not marry my high school sweetheart, but we were young. Not as young as some, but we had only known each other 6 weeks when we decided to get married. Fortunately, my parents were pretty supportive, but others couldn't believe that I was marrying this guy that I barely knew. I knew him enough. It bugs me when people tell teens that they don't know what they want. They do know, and they feel things deeply.

There is a lot to be said for growing up together. We did have some growing pains, but we worked through them. 18 years later and we are still going strong.