‘Love is a learned experience’

A student writes about getting married at a 21 and her fear of being judged for being married.


What began as an interview with another student about the Asian-American diaspora became a conversation about life, politics, dreams and lived experiences. I soon realized I had never felt at home with anyone like this before, not within the first few moments of talking.

After a while, my friendship with Matt turned into staying over one night to several sleepovers each week. We began cooking together, exploring the city’s selection of eateries, and finally deciding that we should move in together.  

Living together seemed to strengthen our bond and our love for each other. We were living as if we were already married, so the transition to marriage itself didn’t seem like too big a hill to climb.  

The question of marriage kept coming up, in short conversations, to longer ones that we would have late at night. On one particular night, the question of marriage came up again but this time it ended on the burning question: “Would you be willing to spend the rest of your life with me?” I did not hesitate to say yes. 

Last year, on a warm, beautiful spring day, we got married, and when I signed my name on the self-uniting documents, I took a really long, deep breath. This was the telling moment of my life. I would be forever united with my partner, my college sweetheart, and my best friend.

To many people, the news of my marriage came as a huge surprise. Before I knew it, everyone wanted to know what it was like being married, especially at the young age of 21 years old.

Whenever I would tell anyone that I’m married, I’m always asked a follow-up question: “Wait, how old are you?”

The two biggest misconceptions about marriage I’ve experienced are that to be married, you must be old with kids, and if you aren’t old but are married, your marriage isn’t going to last very long because you’re young and don’t know how to manage it.

Even before I got married, I had seen many posts online talking about marriage in very negative ways. Some of my peers have described marriage to be a “cage” or a “trap,” wanting to wait until after they finish their education or get a successful job before starting that part of their lives.  

I was self-conscious about my decision. In the beginning, I questioned my decision often. Should I have waited? Will people think this is too early? What are they going to say?

At first, I was hesitant to tell my friends and family about the news. As a young, married couple, I thought people would call us naive and careless. I thought they wouldn’t accept it.

After a while, I told my siblings and most of my friends. To my surprise, my brother and sister were very accepting. They believed in my choice and supported my decision. My brother said, “You should do what you think is best for you.”

My friends constantly showered me with encouragement and support. They were curious about the experience of marriage, and “who asked who first?”

My mother-in-law discovered the news on her own, and contrary to our initial thoughts, the only thing that disappointed her was that she wasn’t the first one to know. She happily congratulated us.

To this day, I still haven’t told my parents. But I’m sure they’ve also discovered it from social media, or through the fact that my husband and I are clearly inseparable in every single thing we do.

Throughout the course of my marriage, I’ve not only learned so much more about myself, but I’ve also learned how to love myself, too. This is thanks to the love and support I receive from my husband. I wouldn’t have made it without him.

Yes, being married as a young adult can be very confusing. The entry into adulthood can be the most confusing part of your life. But, as crazy as it sounds, I believe your twenties can be the most enjoyable time in your life, especially, to get married.

Having a partner to help me navigate the crazy terrains of finding an apartment, remedying my homesickness on lonely days, cooking warm meals on extremely cold nights and to be the smiling face when depression hits the hardest, has empowered me and provided the strength I need to continue on with my life.

By marrying young, I run the risk of being considered careless, naive, reckless and even foolish. But I believe that marriage is about intention, and your commitment to that intention will determine how long you will last.

All my life, I’ve seen people of all ages go through terrible breakups, divorces and separations. Your age can’t possibly determine how capable you are of loving someone. Love is a learned experience, and you can learn about love and how to love at any age and at any point in your life.

I got married to Matt because I believed that there was no one else in this entire world I would rather spend the rest of my life with. I wanted to spend the rest of my life with someone who not only knew who I truly was, but could understand and accept who I will be in the future.


  1. I love you so much Kathy and thank you for opening up about your experience and the misconception of marriage at our early 20s <3

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