"That’s what happens when you marry your high school sweetheart"

Today in class we were discussing Julie Powell of the Julie/Julia Project and someone brought up her infidelity and one of my classmates said, “That’s what happens when you marry your high school sweetheart.” I have to admit that up to this point I wasn’t really paying attention so it took a few minutes for this comment to truly sink in. Class ended and I didn’t realize how I actually felt about this comment until I was in my car. Fortunately for all of us, I had a nice hour and 15 minute commute to collect my thoughts.

I cannot disagree more with that statement. What happens when you marry your high school sweetheart? Automatic infidelity? Heartbreak? An unhappy and unhealthy marriage? No. Those things occur when at least one of the two people involved decide they no longer want to work on their relationship. Marrying your high school sweetheart really is no different than marrying the person you met in college, or at work, or where ever. It just means you’ve known each other longer, that you’ve cared enough to make it work through the absurdities that college presents, and that (if you’re really in a good, healthy relationship) you’ve probably avoided the high possibility of contracting an STI. A high school sweetheart is just a person you happen to be in a relationship with that you met when you were younger.

Marriage has little to nothing to do with when you met the person you’re marrying. It has everything to do with a decision to commit to a person for the rest of your life. Agreeing to get married is agreeing to deal with each others bullshit, wash each others laundry, sit in the same room together when you have gas, deal with the dreaded in-law’s, laugh together, possibly make children together, and so much more. How that decision is affected by meeting each other in high school is truly beyond me. 

Marriages fall apart and infidelity occurs when one or both of those people decides they don’t want to wash the laundry, smell the farts, or any of the other shitty things involved in marriage. When people stop working on their marriage, the marriage falls apart. End of story. That can happen to two people who met in Vegas on a Friday and were married by Sunday, or to people who met while studying abroad during their junior year of college, or to two people who met and fell in love in high school. The only guarantee for disaster is a lack of effort. And I resent people who assume otherwise. 

I hope that people stop and think about what they say before they say it. I personally know many couples who met in high school and are very much in love today. My parents recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. They are both are in their early 40’s. You do the math. M’s parents have an especially wonderful dynamic. His mom and dad, who met and fell in love in high school, eventually divorced, but still have a wonderful relationship. His mother is now in a very happy and successful with her best friend from elementary school. They will be the most amazing and supportive mothers-in-law ever. 

My point is that it works if you work at it. And M and I do and will continue to work at it every day. 

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3 Responses to “"That’s what happens when you marry your high school sweetheart"”

  1. this post is fantabulous! very passionate and HILARIOUS ( “you’ve probably avoided the high possibility of contracting an STI” = major LOLZ).. I totally feel your point about putting in the work and not giving up on the commitment (gas and all). As a single gal marriage seems like a scary beast to me, but after reading your post I cant help but wonder what it’s like/ how awesome it must be to have found some one who inspires you to keep working at it no matter what.
    maws & Congratulations!!!

  2. My cousin and her high school sweetheart just had their second child, a little girl named Bree Harper, and they’re the happiest little family I’ve seen. Continue to do what makes you happy and don’t let anyone ever tell you differently.

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