My husband and I were married when I was 22 and he was 25. Our union has been tried in ways I never thought possible, and we have dealt with each of the "Big Three" issues that marriage counselors say often lead to divorce: sex, money and in-laws. Now, 2½ years into the marriage and almost one baby later, we are closer, more in love and more committed than we were when we married—without a prenuptial agreement but with a commitment to work out problems and stay happily married. We married the old-fashioned way: young and for life.
I think the grandest "idealistic dream" that 21st-century Americans need to check at the door is the idea that 30 or 40 years of living with few responsibilities and little accountability will prepare them for a stable, happy marriage. Upon graduating from high school I did something few people my age do any more: I moved out of my parents' house, got a job, worked my way through college and lived in cheap, crowded apartments with several roommates and without a car, cell phone, or any money from my parents. More so than 30 years of partying and "finding myself," these experiences helped shape me into a woman who was ready for marriage. If we want to make peace with marriage we need to grow up enough to accept the responsibilities it entails.
South Jordan, Utah