Written by Carrie Baker. Media by Kayla Morton.
Spring is right around the corner. Just as the first showers of spring start to come, college campuses come to life! The grass turns greener, the skies get bluer, snow starts to melt and flowers start to blossom. But, rosebuds aren’t the only things starting to pop up on college campuses second semester. No, once spring has sprung, more and more young men “pop the question.” To many college students, especially those who attend private Christian institutions, this trend is known as “ring by spring.” Whether you are wondering why you’re single when EVERYONE else seems to be getting married, or contemplating getting hitched with your significant other, here are some things to consider before you plan on participating in the hype of ring by spring.
For all you single ladies and gents worrying about finding Mr. or Mrs. Right…you have time. Even though your grandma may be telling you the clock is ticking, statistics say otherwise. The National Center for Educational Statistics conducted a survey on 20,928 undergraduate students, and of those surveyed, only 18% were married or engaged. The fact that less than a fifth of college students are married isn’t a coincidence. Studies done by Pew Research Center show that in America the marriage rate is declining, while the national marriage age continues to rise. In 2011, their study found average age at first marriage for men is around 26 and 28 for women. These numbers relate to many things such as public opinion, education, even the economy. Whatever the cause, it’s clear that Americans, especially college students, seem to be waiting until they are older to get married. Greenville College Senior, Jen Kendall and her long-time boyfriend are two of these students. She says, “I do not see a need to rush into things when we are both happy right now, and this allows us to get to know each other even more.” So while it may seem like everyone you know has already tied the knot or is busy picking out cake flavors and table linens, I promise you they aren’t. Don’t fret! If you don’t have a ring by spring, chances are you aren’t the only one!
But maybe you don’t fit this statistic. Maybe you were one of the college students who either got down on one knee or whose ring finger now sports a pretty little diamond. So what do these statistics say about you? Absolutely nothing. Whether you believe that ring by spring is a legend, a myth, or a doctrine to live by is your choice. For many students in long-term relationships, the decision to get engaged seems natural and exciting. Getting engaged or even married in college means couples are able to share more of life with the one they love. Engagement and marriage in college can be really tough, but contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t mean that your marriage will be any worse off in the long run. In fact, studies show that, “the greatest indicated likelihood of being in an intact marriage of the highest quality is among those who married at the ages of 22-25.” To young couples, whether they are engaged or married, the decision isn’t about an official title or a legal union; it’s the beginning of the rest of their lives together. Newly engaged GC Senior, Keli Totten agrees. Graduating college and starting a new life can be emotional and overwhelming, but she says, “Knowing that I get to make the transition with my fiancé Willem by my side makes it less daunting.” To many young couples, getting married is about sharing more special moments together.
So whatever title you are claiming as this spring rolls around, enjoy every minute of it. If this spring you find yourself without any diamonds, that’s perfectly fine, because love has no deadline. As Ecclesiastes 3:1 states, “There is a time for everything, and season for every activity under the sun.” But, if you just so happen to get that ring by spring, congratulations; and may God bless you on this exciting journey.