Young adults should be confident in decision-making

When I became engaged to my now-husband Ty on Christmas Eve 2014, people reacted in many different ways. Close friends squealed in excitement with me and began helping me plan my big day.

Old friends and high school classmates sent those awkward, “Hey, are you pregnant?” texts. But, the most interesting response I got from many types of people was, “Why would you limit yourself like that?”

While being married certainly limits my game in the dating scene, marriage was not limiting for me. Rather, it was a challenge to work harder, achieve more and grow as an individual more than ever before.

Instead of losing my identity or freedom, I gained the strength of a person who knows me better than I know myself — a partner who will support me no matter what challenges life throws my way.

Ty does not limit me. He pushes me to go further.

Another common response was, “How do you know what you like, or that he is ‘the one?’”

I know Ty is the one for me not because he fits my preferences, but because I like who he is. Scoping out a possible partner with a laundry list of requirements will only leave you disappointed.

When I was in high school, I wrote a list of attributes for the “perfect” husband. Does Ty fit that list? No, he does not, and I highly doubt anyone ever will.

There are some aspects of him that differ vastly from me, but even those parts have challenged me to grow as an individual. That is how I knew he was the one for me. He challenges me.

I understand everyone has their own approach to relationships. Some people want to date lots of different people before settling down. Others want a long-term relationship shaped by commitment and trust. I happily put myself in the latter crowd.

I met Ty during a key point in both of our lives. We were both seeking our purpose and passion, and through that journey found each other and our passions, intertwined.

We have had the privilege of sharing many “first experiences” and difficulties throughout the years we have been together. I cannot say it has been easy, because it has not, but I am so glad I chose to have those experiences with him and him alone.

Even though I married before I could have my first legal drink, I believe my commitment was the best for me and for Ty. For me, committing my life to our relationship at the time we did was nothing but logical.

Our marriage did not steal my identity, limit my ability to succeed or my freedom. Rather, it gave me a new line of support and motivation to push me to be my best, not a limited version of myself.

When you find what is best for you, go with it. At every stage in life there will be someone giving tips, advice and suggestions, sometimes unsolicited. Only you know what you need and want. Whatever you choose in any situation, remember the choice is yours and no one else’s.