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There’s been a lot of talk recently about when in life to get married, and whether marriage works best as a “cornerstone” or “capstone.” As a quick summary, marriage has traditionally been a cornerstone, something to do early and then build a life on and around, for various reasons. But today more people are moving towards viewing marriage as a capstone, and wanting to “establish” their careers and sense of self before committing to another person.

I can only speak from my own experience here, but I got married relatively young by today’s changing standards, fitting into the cornerstone camp. I definitely had some reservations, wondering if I’d “grown up” the appropriate amount, or experienced enough of life to know if I was doing the right thing. I mean, I’ve been with my husband since I was 20 — was I missing out by committing myself to him so soon? Was I doing myself and all of womankind a disservice? I regret it in hindsight, but those thoughts certainly colored my view for a little while and I’d sometimes stare down at my shiny left hand and have doubts.

Now that I’m on this side of things, I’m very glad I didn’t listen to that skeptical voice.

I’m not saying people should force marriage, or revolve their 20s around finding a mate and settling down. Certainly, focus on yourself and following your passions! But I don’t believe in delaying marriage, when you have a good thing going, just because all the ducks aren’t in a row. If given the choice, why would you want to fit marriage into a life that already exists, when you can use marriage as a support system to create a life together? Just because you’re married does not mean you cease to be your own person. I have actually never felt so secure, because I know that whatever does or doesn’t happen in my professional life or with my own goals, I have our shared life to keep me steady. My husband doesn’t get in the way of my dreams — he cooks dinner so I have more time to follow them!

This is clearly a deeply personal situation, but I am a little sad when I think of young people segmenting their lives into “me” vs “us,” “my life and dreams” vs “tying the knot,” as if these things are exclusive and can only be done one at a time, in order. Like my friends who plan on marrying their current boyfriends, but couldn’t possibly consider it before they’re 30.

I’m so happy that I have my cornerstone.

I’m curious to hear your opinions — what’s your outlook on marriage, and when/how it fits into life? If you’re married now, would you have done anything differently?