When another birthday passes for me so does another year of marriage. I got married three days after I turned 24, very young in today’s standards. At 24, however, I was fiercely independent having been thrust into early adulthood after the death of my father just before my 16th birthday. I am one of four children, the second oldest and only girl. There is just eighteen months between my older brother and I, but eight years between me and the next. Consequently following dad’s death, in many ways, I became the second parent to my younger brothers.
Upon dad’s passing I grew up fast and sudden. My childhood, before that, I could only describe as idyllic. We were a close knit and high functioning family, with young ‘hippy’ parents doing their absolute best to give us everything. Dad’s death, in many ways, speared us all in a different direction with life becoming very hard.
I tell this story because I think it connects in some way to me getting married young. When I started going out with my husband I was twenty. We had actually known each other for about four years before that but the age gap then meant I was sixteen and he twenty, so he was not someone I had considered dating. With this in mind you could also argue that it was not love at first sight for us, but when we did start seeing each other love quickly followed.
Looking back I remember early on in our relationship wanting to marry Mark. I had absolutely no doubt that he was the man for me. I do wonder, however, if I sped up the need for this because of my desperate want to regain the security of family that I had lost with the death of dad. I had felt quite lost between the ages of sixteen and twenty with significant traumas occurring close together. I had no anchor and no strong sense of connectedness to a family unit anymore or life in general for that matter. Mark provided almost a lifeline to a future that I had felt possibly lost to me forever, to once again be part of something strong, supportive and secure; a new family, our very own.
Mark and I have been together 26 years now and married for 23. It is a strong and secure relationship and one we have worked hard at forging. There have been rough patches but in all instances this relationship has provided me with everything I sought. The most challenging phase for us was the brief time where we parented. This, at the very least, provided us with clarity that ours was a marriage that could survive anything.
Having spent the large part as a twosome we have an incredibly unique and strong bond. We are happily not co-dependent but very much in tune with the needs of each other and our wants for both an independent and joint lifestyle. We allow each other space regularly whilst also having consistent and ritualistic routines that see us spend quality time together. It is a wonderful merge of two worlds, both independence and a strong sense of connectedness to another person. Long lasting love for us is truly in the air.