Yesterday, I had the privilege to attend the wedding of two of my best friends. They are a wonderful, Christ-loving couple and I am excited to see where they will go together.
I sat at the reception with my freshman year R.A. (now married), my English mentor (also married since I've known him), their spouses, and my roommates.
I logged onto Facebook this morning and saw that yesterday was also the wedding of one of my brother's best friends from high school, whose twin sister is now married with a beautiful baby girl, and a girl we used to go to church with.
Later a classmate of mine and her boyfriend who I've had a couple of classes with became engaged.
One of my first friends from college is engaged, my roommate's little sister got married in July, my sophomore year growth group leader is married, my babysitter and friend from childhood is married -- with a baby and one on the way. Two of my classmates got married this summer, two of my other best friends got married over a year ago now, most of the girls I knew who were in college when I was in high school are married, most with children.
One of my colleagues from a former job just got engaged, a hallmate of mine from freshman year just got married, her husband's brother just married a girl from my school -- and they're already pregnant -- and a freshman (now sophomore) who became a good friend of mine in a class last year is engaged now.
See a theme? I'm a little overwhelmed with marriages and engagements and babies. If you know me at all then you'll know that while I am the poster-child of boy-craziness, I am not looking to be jumping into any huge commitments any time soon. I've always been of the mind that I wouldn't even think about marriage until my late twenties, and children wouldn't be on the table until my thirties.
Since coming to a Christian college -- where a good number of the girls are looking for a ring by spring and getting their M.R.S. degrees -- that age for thinking about marriage has lowered to about 25. There was a brief period of time where I even thought, "I could be engaged by the time I graduate." Thankfully for my peace of mind that thought dissipated quickly.
First, you must understand that I am so happy for all of the people in my life and the blessings that their relationships have been to them. That they have found love young and have an opportunity to love each other longer is a marvelous thing to me. However, the culture that surrounds Christian schools and getting married in your late teens or early twenties really isn't for me, and there are some important reasons for that:
- I enjoy dating casually. If I dated one guy one Friday and a different one the next I would be happy, and I would not consider it to be cheating. It takes a lot for me to step up to the commitment plate, so you can be sure that I'm not going to promise myself to one guy for any length of time if I'm not sure that we are well-suited for each other.
- Perhaps the most important point, I still have very few concrete plans for my future other than going to grad school. If I were to enter a serious relationship with the possibility of marriage on the table right now I would always be worried that I was shaping my life to fit his instead of living my own life. If God threw my "perfect" man at me in the next six-twelve months I would probably have a very hard time committing myself to him. It's a control issue that I am well aware of, but at the same time I also think that it is good that I know my identity would be in jeopardy if I were in a serious relationship right now.
- Love is hard for me and you can read some of my past blogs on that. I can't say for sure that I've ever really love any of my boyfriends. I think one might have come close, but even now I am unsure in retrospect. I have a tendency to bolt when I feel like a guy is getting too close, so really it would be nearly impossible for me to become engaged any time soon.
Those are my personal reasons for not being able to really enter into a relationship with the intention to marry. Yet, I was still dragged into this culture of marriage straight out of college and questioning my values and limits. That was really not good, and for a long time it had me pretty depressed because I felt like I was broken because I wasn't like the girls who were ready for marriage so young.
Truthfully though, it was the mentality that pervades campuses like this that was broken. Not me. It is dangerous for girls to come into an enclosed environment like college expecting to come out with a husband. It can lead to unhealthy, forced relationships and settling because the girls get desperate to be like the rest of their classmates. I don't think that this is the case with anyone that I know personally, but I have observed it from a distance. Worse still, I have observed the struggles that come in the aftermath of a broken relationship.
This blog is really more for me than other people this time. I needed to verbally express where I stand on relationships, but at the same time I would like to let other college-age girls know that it is okay if you aren't ready to be married by 21. There is nothing wrong with you. God doesn't love you less. You are not broken. Do things at your own pace -- really God's pace if you are more capable than I am -- and don't give into the pressure.
Do you feel like there is pressure in your life to be engaged, married or with children at a young age? Why or why not? If you're married, did you get married younger or older? How do you feel this impacts your married life? If you married young, do you sometimes wish you had waited longer? If you married older, do you wish you had been married younger?