Marrying young doesn't mean settling – finding my husband sooner means I have loved him longer

I was 13 years old the first time I saw him.

The man who would become my husband.

Almost 25 years ago, and I can remember it like it was yesterday.

He was wearing a white Adidas t-shirt and playing volleyball in the local community park with friends. His flashy sports car was parked in the makeshift gravel parking lot.

I walked in, laid my 13-year-old eyes on him, looked over at my friend and said: “That guy right there? I’m going to marry him one day.”

And that I did. A little over 10 years from that moment when I first saw him, I was his blushing bride, and he was my handsome groom.

Heather and her husband Tony.

Heather and her husband Tony. (Dean Peckford)

(I’m obviously a woman who sticks to her word. Or one that doesn’t give up too easily. We can debate that fact another day.)

And here we are, so many shared anniversary cards on the mantel and celebratory bouquets on the dining room table later. Three children, two homes, and one dog under our belt, and I’m more crazy about him now than I was then.

So when I overheard a middle-aged woman the other day give the following advice to a young woman, (who just so happened to be around the age that I was as a bride), I so desperately wanted to stop, and interrupt the conversation.

“No one should marry young. Don’t settle," was the advice given in the stairwell.

I wanted to stop. Right there in my tracks. To talk to these two women that I have never met.

I wanted to tell that young woman that if she wants to marry young, she should do it. To tell her that if she should find the one that is written on her heart at a young age, she should celebrate it, not run away from it. To reassure her that if her heart and soul are telling her that should she be blessed enough to meet a man that feels like nothing short of a gift sent straight from God, she should not be fearful that there is more out there. Rather, she should be thankful that she found the one that was meant to be hers. The one that He had written to be hers, before she even knew it herself.

I also wanted to hug that middle-aged woman. The one who passed along this tidbit of advice to that young impressionable heart. For I’m quite certain that it came from a place of sadness.

I’m not sure what caused the sadness. Or what caused her to speak from such a place of pain. I’ll never know, but I’ll always wonder. I'll always wonder did she miss the chance to find the one who made her soul burst with excitement when he walked in through the door after work? I'll always wonder if maybe her heart never felt at home with the one that she shared wedding bands with. I'll always wonder if she lays her head down at night, wishing and wanting more.

I won’t wonder, however, why I walked into that local community park on that special day. Or why I peered over into that (highly improvised) volleyball court.

It was my gift. My gift from Him.

Settled? Never.

Instead He allowed me to go find him sooner, so that I could love him longer.