Happiness With a High School Sweetheart
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to marry your high school sweetheart? For some, that thought may leave you swooning. For others, it may make you cringe.
So many emotions are associated with high school, and with young love. Young love can be magical. Explosive. And amazing. It can move too fast. Be unpredictable and confusing. And it can change. Young love is sweet, but hot-blooded, too. It is a flame that ignites quickly but often burns out just as soon.
Success with a high school sweetheart is indeed a very rare thing. Most high school sweethearts never make it out of high school together. One statistic I found said that less than 2% of all high school sweethearts end up getting married, or not divorced.
So I guess that means my husband and I are a pretty rare thing.
Andy and I met in junior high. I don't know if I can say it was love at first sight when I was just twelve years old, but what I can say is there was an immediate attraction, a very strong "like" and I was always drawn to him from that first moment on. When I was sixteen, I looked at him at a party, and knew I would marry him one day. It was like a voice was telling me this, but it was my own voice at the same time. Divine intervention? I can't explain what it was, but I just knew. Needless to say, I flirted with him incessantly at that party until he finally asked me out. And the rest is (our) history. In high school, we went to three proms, two homecomings, and about a million movies. We stayed together from that party on, dated all through high school, and stayed true through my time at college. Andy proposed when I was twenty-one and we got married when we were twenty-two, just six weeks after I graduated college. We've now been married for twenty-two years, and all told, we've been together for twenty-eight. And yes, we are still happy.
Some may wonder how/why one would want to be with the same person since high school. I say, if you find the love of your life, does it matter when you found him? I'm very proud of our marriage and of the fact that we can say we are one of those very rare "high school sweetheart success" stories.
So what's it like to be married to your high school sweetheart? And more importantly, what can be learned from young love that grows into an old relationship?
For me, the best part of being married to my high school sweetheart is having a permanent reminder of my youth. When Andy grabs my hand at a carnival or asks me to a movie, I still feel the butterflies like I did when we were teenagers. (Even though we now have two teenager sons!) All the magic emotion of our high school love still remains because it is part of our story. It may be buried under bills and chores and endless errands sometimes, but it's always there. I think part of the reason why I still feel sixteen, and still see my husband that way, is because that is where our story began.
I love that we are each other's histories. When you start dating in high school, there really aren't any exes or excess baggage that you have to deal with. We each dated a little before we got together, but basically we are where our relationship records begin and end. There is something so easy and drama-free in that and it's definitely an advantage not many people can say they have.
Like most "young love" couples, we fell head over heels and never stopped to think or question a thing. We took all the passion we had for each other and placed it in our relationship, too. We were so young, but we took our relationship seriously, putting our trust in each other above all else. From day one, we were each other's confidante, soft place to fall, and rock to count on. In each other we found all that we needed. We didn't ever have to look to another, and we never have.
Despite how inseparable we were in high school, though, we knew we had to give each other space. When I decided to go away to college, Andy supported my decision. And although it was difficult, we knew it was the right thing to do. He visited me every few weeks, we wrote letters, and we spent hundreds of dollars on phone calls. (This was before the age of texting or e-mail!) The time apart allowed us to be with our friends, to be individuals, and to be sure of our choice to be together. It really is true....absence does make the heart grow fonder. Going away from Andy only made me want to come back home to him. Even today, although we allow each other space, we never want to be apart. We still remember the days when we longed to see one another and dreamed of being married and sharing a home. Now we appreciate that we have those things. We love our time together and cherish the life we have built.
Above all, we were, and still are, best friends. There is something about those high school friendships that make them so special, maybe like no other. You share crazy, fun times that bond you, stories that make you laugh and make you smile. Andy and I have that between us. With our friendship also comes a mutual respect, an ability to make each other laugh, and a knowing that we will always have each other's backs. We have so many memories to fall back on and times we love to re-live. It makes me look forward to making more memories with him.
To me, the ultimate aspiration in a loving relationship is to grow. What better possibility than to share a life with someone who knew you and loved you when you were so young? A sweetheart who shared your vulnerable, awkward times, and could witness you blossom into adulthood and parenthood and through the losses as well as the lucrative times of life? Life may have changed for us since high school--we now have a business and a career and two kids to care for-- but at our core, we have remained the same. We've never lost sight of what is important and no matter what we'll fight to keep what we captured back in high school---a love that was special and strong. I know I am a different person in my forties than I was in my teens, and Andy is too. Because we grew up. But through the sunshine and storms of life, we've weathered them together, and we have grown closer, rather than apart.
Being in the same relationship from adolescence to middle age has allowed me to grow, and I believe I've grown into a better person by knowing and loving Andy for so long. I fell in love with him for many reasons--- his good nature, his honesty, his wisdom, his willingness to work hard, his sense of humor, and above all, his kind heart. Even when we're fighting (yeah, we do that sometimes) these facts do not change and never have even after all of these years.
Andy and I realize how rare our relationship is. As high school sweethearts we beat the odds by being together for all this time. We take pride in our story of how we met so long ago when we were so young yet have managed to still be in love. We appreciate that we have this history, and we protect it. Although the years have gone by, we've never lost touch with that young love feeling of yesterday; in him, I still see my boyfriend. We've been there for one another since we were teenagers and we've never let others come between us. And even though we were so young when our relationship started, we've never questioned that we were meant to be. We've grown through the years, but never apart. And our love has grown, too. Above all, we're best friends with a trust and a bond that goes back almost thirty years. Less than 2% of high school sweethearts can say that.
I'm so glad we're among the few who can.