A Quick Lovestory: Why I got engaged after 7 months of dating

“You’re only 23?” “Wait how long have you known each other?” “Oh wow people will tell you it won’t last, but I’m sure you’ll be fine.”  These are real responses from people after hearing that I, Kierstyn Rios at the young age of 23, am engaged to Nicholas McClellan, 24, after only seven months of dating. Don't get me wrong, I understand why people have their doubts; I'd be lying if I said I've never questioned other couples tying the knot. It's human nature to judge and question things we don't find comfortable or are familiar with. In today’s culture, and especially for millennials, it’s uncommon to get married this young. There is this pressure to be done with college, working a nine to five, and financially stable; you’re crazy to settle down with someone before you’ve achieved those things. So, when people see me serving tables with no college degree, still years away from a career, getting married to a man I've known only seven months, I'm not surprised they have something to say.

Naturally,  I do not enjoy the criticism. I don’t take critical comments well...at all. I’m a defensive person by nature, and when my relationship gets questioned, I get frustrated. I find that I almost second guess myself, which is not in my nature. There has been a recurring theme with each of these negative comments: they all come from people who don't know Nick or I. They come from people who see us on a surface level; they see "crazy kids" who haven’t a clue as to what we’re doing. This speaks volumes. It reminds me that we live in a society where fifty percent of married couples get divorced; the rate being even higher for young couples. I feel sad that people have conformed to the idea that young couples can't succeed in their own marriages.

If someone ever finds they are in my position I would offer this piece of advice. First, follow Jesus. Next, follow your heart. Most likely the two work side by side. Having a strong relationship with the Lord has proven that things will end up the way He has intended them to be. When I met Nick, it felt like God dropped him in my life at the perfect moment. It was as if He had been preparing my heart and soul for Nick. Our relationship took off. We threw caution to the wind and opened ourselves up to one another without hesitation. We knew we were meant to be in each other’s lives from very early on and I remember putting everything I had into it. I told Nick I loved him a month after meeting him; I knew he’d be my husband the following day. This took a lot of following my heart. I had to trust myself, which is very hard for me to do. Trusting yourself is the best thing you can do when falling in love this quickly. If you start to let negative comments and ideas into your mind, you’ll find yourself doubting your every move and you’ll question your own intentions. This is where my best piece of advice fits: surround yourself with loving & supportive people.  

The part I love most about our engagement is receiving positive reinforcement from people who do know us. Do you know what these people tell us? "I've never seen you happier!" "You two give me hope." "Your love is undeniable." These words have given me the reassurance that I am doing the right thing. My friends and family have been supportive from day one. I still remember my girlfriends listening to me gush for hours about how, “I’d be stupid if I didn’t marry this guy!” after our first date and my gracious parents inviting him over for Christmas morning (We met November 5th!) The support has been endless. We are surrounded by the best people who have never, ever doubted us.  

No, our relationship may not be conventional to a fellow millennial and we may not be doing things the "right way." But when I look my fiance in the eyes I don't care if it makes sense to anyone else. He gives me hope, he gives me peace, and he provides a light unlike anyone else. Nicholas makes me feel safe, he makes me feel beautiful, he makes me feel more loved than I ever thought I was worthy of. Most importantly, Nicholas and I share a love for Jesus Christ. We wake up each morning knowing that He is in control, and as long as we strive to live and love like Him, our marriage will be strong. We’ve promised to never stop pursuing Him as individuals and as a team and that is how I have faith that Nicholas and I are going to make it.

Trust me, I know marriage can be a struggle, but we are up to the challenge. We know that we must wake up every day and choose one another, even when we don't want to. We know the hard work that goes into a successful marriage and we're still not scared to take on the challenge. Our love for one another is bigger and stronger and more resilient than the odds that stand against us. Life is too short to always do things the “right way.”Sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone. Ask out that guy you’ve been thinking of, kiss someone on the first date, tell him you love him too early. Don’t be afraid to take that chance. I handed my phone number to a cute guy seven months ago and in a year I get to call him my husband. Take risks, love hard, and continue to pursue a life that you’re proud of. Because I did, and I met the love of my life.  I cannot wait to be Mrs. McClellan. Twenty four, no degree, no money, but hand in hand with my best friend ready to take on whatever this world throws our way.

Author: Kierstyn Rios | @kierstynrios 

Photos: Maddy Hardisty | @maddyshoots