“Shouldn’t you see the world first? Shouldn’t you have fun before you settle down?” These comments surrounded me after I got engaged my junior year of college. My response was always, “Who says that I can’t see the world or have fun when I’m married?!”
My first year of marriage has proved me right.
Three days after I got married, I stepped off of a plane in Lisbon, Portugal—one hand holding onto my brand new husband and the other dragging behind me the few bags that were supposed to last us a whole year. Those first steps led to many adventures, including traveling western Europe, studying, writing, making new friends, trying to learn a foreign language, and performing as a musical duo in Lisbon restaurants.
Today it is common to assume that the right time to marry is when you want to “settle down”—when the fun is over and you’ve spent all your passion. With this view, married love is essentially a plateau: it doesn't go anywhere but in the direction of children, pets, or hobbies. No wonder people wait so long to get married!
Thankfully, my husband and I were raised with a more positive understanding of marriage, one that could best be summarized by my mother-in-law’s toast to our engagement: “Here’s to the adventure!” Coming from a woman who is still very much in love with her husband after 41 years, 7 children, and 22 grandchildren, I place a lot of trust in that playful, wise remark.
Marriage has only enhanced my opportunities for and enjoyment of travel and adventure. But the real adventure surpassing everything has been in the quotidian details of marriage itself: in waking up every morning to the one I love with a kiss and silently saying yes to the challenge of loving him better each day for the rest of my life, no matter where we are or what happens.
For me, marriage is a time for love and passion to increase, a time for us to grow together even until we are old and creaky-boned, facing all the unexpected aspects of life with the other at our side. With such a disposition, I know that marriage will continue to be the best adventure of my life.
(Photo via Flickr user elitatt)