Getting married young is not for the faint hearted let me tell you. People for some reason, feel the need to tell you their opinion on your relationship regardless of whether or not you have asked for it. Some of it can come from a place of kindheartedness and others, pure disgust. (There is no other way to describe it) Amongst these pieces of “advice” we heard things like this;
“You’re making a mistake.”
“You’re too young, you don’t know what you are doing.”
“You’re going to regret it.”
“Marriage is just a money-making scam.”
“How will you make it work. You’ll never be able to.”
“I got married and I was divorced within 2 years, you’ll see.”
Some of these I heard when people felt the need to approach me on my bachelorette night. Let me tell you, by then, I was no stranger to hearing these comments. Some people flat out just refused to believe we were engaged, and still in Italy today, people refer to Angelo as my boyfriend. So yeah, I guess you could say our marriage wasn’t all together accepted by everyone, but it didn’t bother us, because the people whose input we valued, supported us wholeheartedly.
Back to the real matter at hand, although Angelo and I are again, not what you would call “veterans” in the world of marriages, we have experienced our fair share of challenges. We spent the majority of our relationship apart, having to do long distance as a dating couple and as an engaged couple is not for the faint hearted let me tell you. In some ways though, I really felt that it helped teach us a good couple of lessons along the way.
One of our biggest lessons was communication. Yeah, sure its a super cliche’ thing to say but really, just talk. I am a notorious bottler of emotions, when the going gets tough, I quite literally will build a wall, of blankets (Yes I am a child). Angelo likes to talk it out, and I need space and to give the silent treatment. Not very mature. So one thing we learnt was that we had to talk, especially during the long distance, silent treatment wasn’t fair, and definitely not healthy, especially if you aren’t even in the same continent, let alone the same room. So when ever a problem came up, full honesty was expected and to talk about EVERYTHING, as someone like me it takes some getting used to, it’s also something I’m still learning.
Trust was also vital to our relationship, we had to trust one another not only to be honest when sharing their side of the story but also knowing that Angelo would put my feelings first.
So anyway, it seemed like we had gotten over the roughest bits, but now we had to move countries, alone, and I had to find a job. Italy is ranked as one of the most difficult places for expat women to find jobs, but literally by the grace of God I found a job within a month of moving. It was scary. Moving to Italy introduced many firsts to me, it was the first time I had taken a train, or a bus around the city. I also didn’t speak the language, and lets just say the locals aren’t exactly jumping at the opportunity to help you. So Angelo literally became my life line. I clung onto him where ever we went. I wouldn’t leave the house outside of work, if he wasn’t with me.
Those were some of the loneliest and strenuous months for us. Not only us as individuals, but as a couple too. We had the stress of whether or not we would have enough money, Angelo basically had to babysit me, I didn’t have friends or family, and I was too anxious to even leave the house. We fought a lot, but we always reminded each other how we loved one another. It was some of the most difficult times, but it was probably the most significant time in our relationship. We prayed and prayed, and we loved each other through it. I learnt what it meant to truly depend on someone else, and that sacrifice was more than just a whole bunch of pretty words at an alter.
Dear reader, you see? Getting married is the easy part, it’s that thing in the middle called life, that can get in the way. It’s easy to commit to someone in front of your friends and family, it’s a lot harder to a life of uncertainty when you’re crying in the bathroom at 2am in the morning because you’ve run out of money for the month. What brought peace to me, and to us during this time was that I knew with all my heart that our love was more than just a white dress and gold rings on the 29th of August, I knew our love meant Angelo confronting my boss when I was on the verge of a mental breakdown. I knew it meant knowing that there was no amount of uncertainty that would make me question the choice I had made, I knew the God that had brought me through all of this, showed me what love was, was not going to let me fail. He showed me what a love was by showing me what sacrifice meant.
I sacrificed my life in South Africa to help Angelo chase his dreams, Angelo showed me my dreams by loving me with a love that can move mountains, no matter how much the world shook. We aren’t heroes or incredible people, but we do follow someone who is. We had each other through these times for sure, but we also both knew that God had brought us here and there was no way this battle had not already been won.
“The fight we’re in, has already been won”