Despite the flexibility that college students possess socially, many are choosing to get married immediately after graduating from college. This trend is noticeably higher at Christian colleges.
At Christian colleges, this trend is known as "ring for spring," the belief that by the spring semester of graduation year, students will have found their spouse. This comes as a by-product of the culture created at Christian colleges, one that lends itself more to marriage.
The marriage culture persists through Christian institutions that see marriage as part of a student's faith journey.
Jerry Falwell the president of Liberty University, America's largest Christian college, has been reported by the Chronicle of Higher Education, saying that "the idea of students finding their mate is a recruiting tool for the university." Brigham Young University, a Christian college in Utah, is considered to be one of the top graduate schools in the country for marriage and family counseling.
Being in a relationship while in college gives students their first glimpse at cohabitation. The opportunity to cohabit while in college is where the divide sparks regarding Christian college culture and secular college culture. Many churches follow the belief in Ephesians 5:31, where it explains that to be united with his wife, a man must leave his mother and father.
As a Christian at a Christian college, you have already decided to leave your mother and father to pursue an education. For those that also chose a Christian higher education to pursue God, marriage upon graduation fulfills the practice of leaving your home—because you have found a spouse and a new home in them.
"Among students aged 23 to 25 in 2017, 14 percent of students that attended a religious college were married, compared to 12 percent at public colleges, and five percent at nonsectarian colleges," according to Brown Center Chalkboard.
With colleges having couples retreats and social get-togethers based on dating, relationships move a lot faster at Christian colleges. But whether they are better as a whole is up for debate.
More often than not, seeing classmates get married can cause young couples to compare their relationships with others, leading to the realization being that they are not very different than most young couples that get married before them.
Christian or not, young marriages, especially out of college, are seen as the least stable.
Psychology Today reports that "divorce is 50 percent less likely for someone who is 25 years old when they wed compared to someone who gets married at age 20." The same report also states, "getting married in your 30s is seen as riskier than getting married in your 20s," according to the National Survey of Family Growth.
All things considered, young people are more naive to the thought of divorce, while older people see it as a more acceptable practice. The older you are, the longer you've lived as single, which allows you to see how the benefits of being single can surpass the stresses that come with marriage.
Now, just because you are naive to divorce, doesn't mean that being married is a good idea. Marriage adds stress to your lives, stress that no matter what age or faith background can be hard to manage on your own. To combat this trend, newlywed Christian couples have the option of enlisting marriage counseling within the church to work out the early kinks that will arrive throughout the relationship.
However, studies have shown that "Christian couples prefer non-Christian therapists as opposed to Christian therapists."
The author of this study claimed that a couple's self-determination is indicative of how much spirituality is incorporated by the therapist. Depending on how much their faith dictates their marriage, Christians will be less inclined to want to speak spiritually about their marital issues. The stigma that the church is not equipped to solve mental health issues speaks to the preference of secular intervention in marriage, as opposed to spiritual.
Self-determination comes with years in the faith and wisdom that young couples don't have. There's this misperception that graduating college means you know everything you need to know to be an adult. If that were the case there wouldn't be more college graduates living at home than ever before. Anyone can be in a relationship, but committing yourself to meet the needs of your spouse takes maturity beyond what is received with a bachelor's degree.
For young couples, marriages will not last if the genesis of the relationship is based on being happy, joining a culture or conceding to pressure. For marriages to last, meeting one another's needs should come before anything.