Put those wedding bells on mute
What’s that chiming sound echoing throughout campus? No, it’s not the enormous clock at the Memorial Union. It’s wedding bells!
At the turn of the millennium, there had been an increasing trend toward abstaining from marriage until after graduation and the establishment of a stable income. However, in recent years there has been burgeoning popularity toward tying the knot while still at a university.
At the collegiate level, students tend to readily seek out fulfilling relationships and deepen their bonds with both their friends and significant others. This unfortunate anomaly puts students in a quandary because they are both emotionally keen for marriage and still financially unstable.
The educational system is designed such that an individual will not be monetarily well off until at least their late 20s, if not their early 30s. This is often the primary deterrent for those in committed relationships because financial troubles are one of the most prevalent causes of divorce.
Still, numerous couples adamantly dismiss such definite warning signs for the sake of pursuing their budding romance even further.
Unfortunately for them, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, couples that marry between the ages of 20 and 25 have a 60 percent chance of getting divorced.
The rationale for such an elevated risk lies at least partially in the developmental psychology of the individual.
In a 2003 interview with Washington Square News, New York City-based clinical psychologist Dr. Allison Conner said, “Students who marry while in school may be missing out on some experiences that would enhance their life experience and maturity. In their late teens and early twenties, people are still forming their adult identities, and are still doing a lot of growing psychologically.”
One of the primary problems with young marriage is that the couple has often not dated for a very significant amount of time. They have a minor fling, fall head over heels for each other, and tie the knot within a year or sometimes even less.
If the couple has known each other for years and been able to build a substantial, healthy friendship before they started dating, that is one situation. However, people often jump into a marital relationship shortly after dating without having any notion of how the other behaves in the midst of hardship, or even during times of mediocrity.
Elaine Spencer-Carver, a social-work professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, commented on the difficulty premature marriages have in maintaining longevity. In a 2010 interview with the Chicago Tribune, she said, “If you talk to people who have had long-term marriages, they talk about the fun they have together. Young people don't have the opportunity to build positive memories to carry them through the difficult times.”
Nothing is inherently wrong with marrying at a young age, but students ought to be aware of the associated risks and try to consider them as objectively as possible in spite of the intense giddiness they are probably feeling. Marriage is meant to be for the long haul, and people need to treat it as such.
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