Julia Shaw wrote an intriguing article for slate entitled I Married Young. What are the rest of you waiting for?". The article struck a particular nerve with me. Shaw discusses how she had originally planned to wait for marriage, because life needs to be all ironed out first. Then, she met her wonderful husband during her sophomore year of college, and she decided an early marriage wasn't so bad. This, it turns out, has been a great decision for her. Her article enumerates all the benefits she has gained from the support of her husband and their wonderful marriage.
While I'm certainly happy for Shaw, as she seems to have married well for her, I am irked that the article focused on the age at which folks marry and not instead on who and how people date and make the decision for marriage. If Shaw had instead said "don't let your age hold you back from marrying your amazing boyfriend" or "don't break up with a great man because you have 'life plans'," I wouldn't be half so annoyed at the article.
I didn't get married at 29 because I was waiting for my life to fall into place. It just took me that long to find my wonderful, amazing, kind husband. Matt truly is one of the best people I know, and I am both proud and lucky to have him as my life partner. We were 26 when we met, and we prudently dated for awhile because we'd both dated people who started out nice and devolved into awful. If I had the good luck to have met him earlier, we would likely have married earlier.
I did meet a guy my sophomore year of college, and we did consider marriage. But my reasons for leaving that relationship weren't related to "not being held back." Yes, I did break up with him to study abroad. But, even at the time, I knew that was just a convenient time for a break up. He would have held me back in life. Not due to changing my goals, but because he was not the right partner for me. If I had pushed to get married earlier so I could have had that life partner through my random wandering 20s (which were mostly independent apart from being on my parents' cell phone plan), I would have married wrong and had that early divorce that many young people do have.
I'm glad Shaw's marriage worked out well. For some of us, it takes world wandering, soul-searching, and some growing up to find (or become) the right partner. To Shaw: don't judge us because we were not as lucky as you.