We were only 14 when we started dating, so we’ve both changed a lot:
-I’ve grown up. I used to have a “me, me, me” mentality. I’ve realized that not only was that frustrating to people around me, but I’m much happier when I can take control of my own happiness instead of depending on others for it.
-My passions have changed. I loved literature and writing, and I never thought I’d be passionate about science. But Psychology and Biology amaze me, and while I still appreciate good literature, I enjoy “geeky” reads as well.
-My identity has changed. I was always liberal, but I’ve become more realistic than idealistic… I stand firm in my beliefs, but I’ve seen more of the world. In this vein, R and I were both very Lutheran when we met and started dating, and over the past few years we both (fairly independently) went through a time of spiritual limbo, ultimately ending in non-faith and a stronger amazement of science.
-I believe in myself and stick up for myself. I had a very low self-esteem when we started dating. I wanted to be thin and active, but I was too afraid to do the things that looked fun to me. I constantly worried I’d look stupid, etc. He showed me that he loves who I am, and that helped me to not worry about what others think. On this track,
-I took back what was important to me. R supported me going back to horseback riding, which my mom banned me from doing at the age of 13, after 5 years of riding, because she doesn’t like horses. They’re one of my great passions, and I was miserable for the 4 years I lived at home without them.
I find it interesting that peoples’ criticism of early marriage usually stems from “but you’re changing so much, how will you know that you can still be compatible?” – we’ve clearly gone through major changes in the time we’ve been together, but what helped us come out stronger for them is that we leaned on each other for support, and kept open communication. We never expected the other person to change, or assumed that they’d conform to the others’ wants or needs. Instead, we grew together because we wanted to, and because we love something about each other that is much bigger than the little details.