A common denominator in the often-confusing millennial conversation are words like “transparency” and “authenticity.” These are ideas that have remained constant among millennials when they speak about brands and companies. As a way of staying true to our word, I, RaSheba Jones, created a blog series to give readers a glimpse into the lives of the members that make up this community. My purpose is to fill in the gaps and provide texture to the generalizations made about millennials. Together let’s color in the lines by exploring the lives of millennials around the country.
Picture this: you’re in your early 20’s, about to graduate college, you have work, class, exams, and other interests you need to balance in your life. And of course, you need to stay human, so you have to balance your relationships with friends and family as well. Now let’s imagine that on top of all of this, you’re married. How could anyone manage all of this?
Reece Johnson, National Millennial Community member, and Anna Johnson, a nursing student, both at University of Missouri Kansas City, are living this exact scenario. Here is their story of how they conquer all of this together as a married couple.
How we met:
“We grew up in the same town,” said Reece Johnson. “We always knew each other, but didn’t know each other well.”
Reece and Anna’s parents always supported them and treated them like adults. Reece and his brothers were raised by his parents, and Anna was raised by her parents, both in Missouri.
In middle school, they began to have more and more classes together and started to become friends. “I was interested in being more than friends,” Johnson said. It was a process that took time.
“I was able to see her grow from the time we were both ten years old to now,” Johnson said. “The first time I told her I loved her, it was Valentine’s Day and we were in our junior year of high school.”
Deciding to get married in their early twenties it was not about age, but life stage.
“We talk about that a lot in the Millennial Community, that it doesn’t just matter how old you are, just that you’re a millennial and this is how we market to you,” Johnson said.
The millennial generation, due to technological advances, economic issues and a host of other issues, often fall more appropriately into life stage categories rather than age cohorts.
How is married life?
A truly successful marriage will always require hard work and commitment, but younger newlyweds typically face added societal pressures and stereotypes.
“We knew it would be difficult to be married young and we knew we would have challenges being married young, “Johnson said.
Having each other for support has elevated their individual lives academically, professionally and personally.
“There are some things you don’t know about being married until you are married,” Johnson said. “It does not matter if you are 25, 35, or 65, you are always going to have challenges.”
Johnson encourages others in relationships, especially couples that are married, to look at every day as a learning opportunity and to pursue each other every single day.
“Technology and communication play a huge role in today’s relationships,“ Johnson says, “the fact that you can swipe right and swipe left all based on an image. There is no real connection or risk, which is missing in dating today. To have the courage to potentially lose a friendship because your heart feels more about someone.“
“There was no texting on the side. I don’t know what a side chick is and I don’t want to know,” Johnson said. “The immediacy of dating and how it is set up has a lot to do with why marriage can be viewed differently.”
A strong point of any relationship is communication. People in relationships, whether friendships or intimate, tend to avoid tough conversations.
“Do not shy away from having the hard discussions,” Johnson explains. “Try to get it out in front of each other.”
As Johnson put it, “The most important thing is the commitment to each other and being the absolute priority to each other.”
Reece and Anna filled in the gap, displaying that being married at 20 is not the reality for
everyone. However, it's inspiring to know that there are millennials out there that can make it work. It's important to note that with any relationship, professional or personal, communication remains the key to make it function.