Last May I got to marry the man of my dreams. Tall, handsome, kind. Libertarian. Loves Jesus and me. Gingery.

Getting married young is an unpopular thing these days. It seems like every time I turn around there is another blog listing the “8 reasons I’m glad I’m not married,” or “13 reasons getting married young makes you morally superior” or last week’s rage-fest over Amy Glass’s “I look down on Young Women with Husbands and Kids, and I’m not Sorry” Just this morning I looked over a Buzzfeed that detailed all the many ways Hermione Granger would have been better off if she hadn’t married that ginger Ron Weasley.

The common theme among these articles against marriage is that in marrying someone you must give up your identity. In my (albeit limited) experience, I couldn’t disagree more. Marrying the right person has allowed me to be more myself than I ever was as a single.

Popular culture and my personal dating experience taught me that my worth is not tied to my intelligence, ambition, or wit, but to whether or not I have the right clothes, a thigh-gap, and suitable attractiveness.

Let me acknowledge my spouse privilege here: I got a good one. He’s supportive of my career, thinks I’m hilarious, and is willing to be a stay-at-home dad if that’s what works best for us when the time comes. A real catch, and as far as an empowering husband, I can’t imagine of one much better. I enthusiastically took his last name after we married.

We are mutually submissive to one another and strive every day to have an egalitarian and respectful outlook to roles within the house and our relationship, and in this I have become more free to be myself than I ever felt I could be before. Instead of concerning myself with sizing up others as potential partners, and worrying about what they think of me, I spend my time building meaningful friendships and working relationships.

I’m no longer concerned about people thinking I’m too quiet, too loud, too fat, too tall, etc. I get to be myself. I know my husband has my back, and that’s enough for me.

But this is about more than my insecurities. It is also about efficiency. Living in one house, with one set of bills and a common financial goal, we have much more flexibility to get out of debt, buy the goods and services we need, give to charities, and otherwise live comfortably and economically. We are able to use our comparative advantages to run an efficient relationship and household. Compare this to our financial state (broke broke broke) when we were dating, and there’s really no question that it is a better situation for us.

The point is, maybe getting married isn’t for everyone, but it works for me. My husband and I are better together than we are apart. We are happier, more satisfied, more financially comfortable, and more able to use our talents to help others than we would be without one another.

Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all. Love one another!