Too Young? Balancing school and marriage

Being a college student is a full time job within itself. Between sprinting to class and writing endless papers, one is lucky enough to catch five hours of sleep every night. However, that is not keeping a small number of couples from saying “I do” before they graduate. Just ask the Daniels.

Janna and Jesse dated for almost two years before they decided to get engaged during their sophomore and junior years. Though neither of them had completed degrees, both of their parents were on board with the idea of them getting hitched.

With the help of her mother, she said was able to plan a stress-free inexpensive wedding before their set date in July 2010. “I’ve been in more stressful situations than when I was planning,” Janna said. “My mom was awesome with assisting, but not in the controlling sense.”

Fourteen months later Janna walked down the aisle in a tea length gown embellished with a black lace sash to marry her other half.

According to the latest National Center for Education Statistics, out of 20,982 undergraduates about 18 percent reported they were married. Married couples age’s average at 25 years old for women while men are at 28 years old.

However a question remains, should age be a determining factor when it comes to walking down the aisle?

Both junior Josh Burns and senior Miriam Boehr, whose traditional summer nuptials are around the corner, believe that while age can play a factor, maturity is the key sign in determining whether couples are ready to wed or not.

“Age and maturity are two very different things,” said Boehr. “It’s more about the people and where their heart is.”

Though all marriages can be vulnerable during the first years, some say those trying to tie the knot at a young age are more susceptible at divorce. Coordinator of the CRE university ministries Justin Phillips said though it may be, true students should not be fearful.

“It’s more a matter of maturity and confidence that the marriage will withstand the transition of finishing college and starting a future,” he said. “Just because statics says something doesn’t mean that it’s absolutely going to happen.”

The Daniels also agree that maturity plays a role leading to marriage and though they could have waited they felt encouraged by both pastor and parents to go with their decision. “There is never going to be a perfect set time to get married,” Janna said. “Sometimes you have to make it happen, and for us it was that time.”

Phillips said couples should find new ways to communicate and to make time to talk about what is going on in each other’s lives.

“Just because you live in the same house doesn’t automatically mean you have great communication,” Janna said. “You have to make time, especially within the first year when your schedules are crazy.”

Most importantly, Phillips’ advice to both serious and engaged couples is by seeking premarital counseling and to ask in depth questions such as “Why do I want to marry this person?”. Both Burns and Boehr plan to continue in the process of seeking counsel through a strong support system that consists of family, friends and older couples.

“I feel that by us getting married we are serving God as one,” he said. “God is perfect in his timing and he is the one controlling where we are headed.”