By Lauren Linhard – moxie.lauren@gmail.com

It wasn’t because of an unplanned pregnancy, a summer love affair gone too serious or some regrettable his-and-her tattoos. Instead, on June 28, 2013, Mike and Jenni very sensibly threw societal expectation to the wind and got married at 21 years old.

I know what you might be thinking.  “I’m sorry – what? That’s crazy. They’re way too young for that. What about their careers? What about other fish in the sea? What about living it up in your 20s?”

The fact is, it doesn’t matter if you get married young or old as long as it’s the right thing for you. And for Jenni it was.

jenni2
#bestweddingphoto

“Had I not been in the position I was in, and someone I knew was getting married at that age, I would judge,” Jenni admitted. “There is a real danger to people not thinking it through, but I think if you’re together for a certain amount of time and you have that maturity, it makes sense. It’s less of an age thing and more of a maturity thing.”

For Jenni and Mike that meant five years of dating before getting engaged. And to think, it all began, awkwardly enough, at a bowling alley smack dab in the middle of those not-so-awesome-teen years.

Apparently, all it took was a free cup of coffee, after weeks and weeks of attempted flirting, and Jenni was a goner. So – either she’s very easy to please or she has a caffeine addiction, but that would be a totally different article.

Even after four years of dating, a one year engagement and two years of marriage, Jenni said Mike is still the ying to her yang, the mac to her cheese and the Fred to her Daphne. But in all seriousness, they were lucky to find “the one” at such an early age and to have each other through the unforeseen hard times.

“My parents were divorced and my mom died when I was in high school. I went through a lot with that,” Jenni said. “And he was always there with me, through the whole thing. I figure if we can get through something like that, we can definitely handle whatever now.”

A little Wentz romance at the Baltimore Aquarium.

That “whatever” has included tight financial times, when they were struggling to keep a roof over their heads, and tension because of Jenni’s struggle to separate her work life from home life. No – that doesn’t mean she has to pick between love and a career, she said. It just means she is learning to prioritize a little better.

It can be tough, Jenni said, but mostly it’s just a lot of fun. Grocery shopping and doing the laundry is so much better when you have your best friend with you, she said.

Her final words on the subject – Just do you. Alright, it was much more wise-sounding like, “Do whatever is right for you.” But mine was catchier.