BY SYLVIA KOHL
There are many couples that get together while in college – however, most of them have a rather fleeting nature and never get serious enough for long-term commitment. There is a small but notable percentage of those who take their relationship seriously enough to consider getting married without waiting. Is it a good idea? Let’s look at pros and cons.
1. Financial support
Many colleges offer financial support to married couples who both attend college. While it is a certainly nice thing to have, even the most lavish support is hardly a good enough reason to consider marriage when taken separately.
2. Shared experiences
Couples that get together later miss out on the significant events in each other’s lives, both good and bad. Getting married in college allows you to go through these experiences together, potentially strengthening the bonds.
3. Long-term perspective
For most people, college is usually a fairly irresponsible time. You tend to have a good time without thinking much about where you are going to be 5, 10, 20 years from now. Getting married usually settles you down and helps you take a more long-term view on your life.
4. Mutual support
One thing is certain – you are never going to be lonely. Somebody is always going to be beside you to support, listen to you and take up part of the responsibilities if you are going through a particularly rough spell.
1. Extra responsibilities
Marriage means that a lot of your attention is going to be diverted to your spouse. Most people feel that in college they have their plate full enough with nothing but studies – add to that your marital responsibilities, and you will have a life in which you don’t have a minute to yourself.
You may believe otherwise, but biologically humans don’t finish their basic cognitive development until well into their twenties. You are sure to see many of the decisions you make now as immature, ill-considered and just plain stupid. And marriage is a decision with consequences that may be very hard to compensate for.
3. Parents’ disapproval
Almost certainly, both yours and your partner’s parents are going to disapprove, and it can be very hard to deal with, especially if you are dependent on them financially.
4. Growing out of your relationship
The same person may be, in fact, two completely different people at 19 and 30. Your marriage may be alright for a couple of years, but after graduating you can suddenly discover that both you and your spouse are completely different from who you were when you got married – and no longer have anything in common. If your relationship is strong enough, getting married can wait until after graduation. If it isn’t, getting married is a bad decision at any age.
How to make It work
1. Share responsibilities
It is important for any marriage, but doubly so for time-starved college students. Share responsibilities and make sure both of you understand who does what.
2. Consult a family lawyer
It may sound like a rather cynical thing to say to a couple considering marriage, but knowing all the legal ramifications of getting married before the fact and having a skilled family lawyer familiar with your case at hand can be incredibly useful.
3. Exercise discipline
Particularly in the financial sphere. Learn to budget. Avoid debt like plague. Prioritize your needs over wants. Make sure both of you agree to this solution.
Just like in many other areas, the answer to the question whether getting married in college is a good idea would be this: it depends on the situation, the people involved and many other factors.
Sylvia Kohl is an IT teacher with more than 8 years of professional experience. Her main spheres of interest are e-education and she convinced that learning process doesn’t stop after years in school and university.