Too Young For Joy

Yesterday on TODAY’s KLG + Hoda, Jada Smith offered some blunt advice to her daughter and TODAY viewers – don’t marry young. And of course it caught my eye and I started to wonder, well, how young is she talking? Turns out Jada and Will got married at 26 and 28, and now she’s telling her daughter that’s too young, adding “there’s no rush, there’s a lot of life to live”.

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This makes me so sad! And I couldn’t just let it slide by. When Marshall and I got married I was 24 and he was 26. And we both agree that had we met in college, we probably would have gotten married a lot sooner. Why? Because we knew young and quickly that we were with the one we were going to spend the rest of our lives with.

But Jada’s statement also suggests that she thinks after marriage, there’s no life left to live! How sad is that? Of course there’s a lot of life to live, but I certainly would rather live that life with the person I love the most by my side! Does she really think that all the fun of life goes away once you get married? That you can’t accomplish life goals, or travel, or go to school, or….. anything? There sure IS a lot of life to live, and I’m grateful every second that I get to do life with him. It’s a heck of a lot more fun that way.

I kind of feel the same way about starting a family. I sure had my fair share of people who so kindly suggested that we wait a while before having kids. In a way that said (even literally said) once you have kids, it’s over. WHAT?! SERIOUSLY?!

Now look, I say all of this with the full understanding that some people don’t ever want to be married, or don’t ever want to have kids. And I 110% support that. That’s not for everyone. But while I’m surely not trying to go Dugger or anything, I personally felt that my life, my existence, my plan, was family centered – and I couldn’t wait for it.

And let’s get real clear about one thing, I haven’t missed out on anything because I’m married with children by age 26. I’ve felt more love, made more friends, and experienced infinitely more joy, because I’m married with children. And to this day Marshall and I still mention, bummer we didn’t know each other sooner.

I talked to a friend last week who’s …in the second half of her 30’s… she asked my thoughts on starting a family. She said they want to, but they have so many friends telling them to wait wait wait… to have fun while they can. I was so sad… for her friends. That they feel this way. I was so sorry for them, that their family life robbed them of joy, rather than bringing them more. And you can be sure that I offered a view from the other side of the field. I encouraged her that (if they were ready) starting a family is the greatest thing, and has only made me happier.

Don’t you want to go on vacations? Even without kids, we weren’t going on vacations. We splurged one time and had a grand honeymoon in Aruba. And we loved every second of it, and it was totally worth it. But let’s be really clear – we don’t have the money to be doing trips like that regularly. And the trips that we can afford, the things we want to do, are just as fun to do with kids. Isn’t half the joy of seeing new things, showing them to your kids too? Not to mention, when our kids are off to college or the working world, we’ll be a comfortably young ~46. And we’ll be up for all sorts of adventure. And hey, maybe we’ll actually be able to afford those crazy vacations people talk about. One thing I know for sure, there will be plenty of adventure to be had. Both now, with our kids, and later on our own.

So. When did you get married? Or have kids? Do you regret anything? Would you do it differently?

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