I am 21 years old and will graduate December 2012. I will be married in 44 days.
That’s right—I will be married before my fiancé and I graduate from college. We will be back for one last semester in the fall.
There is always buzz on campus about romantic relationships. Everyone has an opinion about the couples here. And more often than not, I have heard conversations bashing the idea of young marriage, or especially marriage while at JBU. I have read columns on the Threefold that have made snide comments about marriage between students here.
Because I am in the minority, roughly six percent of the student body, people seem well-versed in reasons to avoid early marriage, but not the reasons as to why some of us welcome it. Here are a few of my thoughts. Of course, these only completely apply to my own situation, but I bet they apply to most other couples as well.
1) This isn’t a romantic whim. I have explored the details of graduation dates, life insurance, health savings accounts, rent, change in social security status, the myriad of possibilities of birth control, financial aid, earning enough money for a honeymoon and not a spring break trip, tax codes for dependents, juggling two families, finding jobs and a whole lot more. The paperwork and hassle of job hunting, wedding planning, graduation seeking, and everything else in life will make just about any couple take a second look at the whole marriage in college/right out of college thing.
2) We do realize money will be tight, thank you. Reports show that finances are one of the major causes, if not the most common, of divorce. That is a pretty sobering statistic—one that has made us consider carefully about our budgeting and financial strategy.
Both our fathers were most concerned over the lack of money that we would face in our first years together. After first making sure that we could balance things like loans, scholarships, gas money, insurance and savings, we explained that we probably would fight over money sometimes. Doesn’t everyone?
Often the serious, repetitive fights stem from different views of how money should be saved and spent—something that couples should know about each other before they get engaged.
We both come from similar Christian households that taught the same principles about saving and spending. Because we know our foundational beliefs are the same and that God is in control of our finances, our money squabbles will not put an unbearable strain on our marriage.
3) My sex life isn’t any of your business. Perhaps that’s too harsh. If so, I apologize. But too often on campus I have heard people remark, “well, you know the only reason they would get married so soon is for sex.” I hope no one says that about me! First, it’s a very private section of my life. Secondly, it’s not true. But since I brought it up, I will say: my fiancé and I are getting married for sex—but not only for sex. As Christians, we understand that sex is holy, satisfying and beautiful inside the commitment of marriage. We also understand that marriage is more than “sex on the regular;” it is also about presenting a symbol of Christ and His church, a safe environment to raise children and a loving, supportive relationship to stabilize not only the individuals, but society around them as well.
Getting married primarily for sex is dangerous and unfulfilling. However, God did give sex to humans to enjoy and please Him with, but only within marriage. So, please don’t assume that sex is the only thing on our minds. We are pursuing marriage because we believe God is calling us to it.
One small deciding factor of whether to wait longer or go ahead and get married in 2012 was the environment at JBU. My fiancé and I will be within a few hours of our families and will be surrounded by a Christian environment that is sympathetic to, if not supportive of, early marriage. That sounded like a better place to start our relationship than states away in who-knows-what environment.
As a whole, I am grateful to be among JBU students and feel a lot of encouragement for my life choices, including my upcoming nuptials. I respect your decision to be single or to be casually dating at this point in your life. I assume that’s where God has you now. Please assume the same for me.