There must be something in the College Station water, because it seems that every week there's a new couple engaged.
Texas A&M was first opened to the public as a military school with the Corps of Cadets back in 1876; a time when men and women were encouraged to get married young, and the idea of having a wife to come home to from a long day of battle was very ideal. Getting engaged and married young is part of our history; it's in our roots. Women weren't even admitted to TAMU until 1960, when the number of "Rings by Spring" jumped and the Century Tree legend came into play.
Can we blame our school's history for the number of couples that get engaged so young? Or is it simply the fact that Texas A&M is home to some of the most well-rounded, service oriented, morally grounded, good-looking, young leaders in the country who can't help but fall in love during this exciting time of life, and marriage is just the next step? You're the judge.
According to Pew Research, on average women in the U.S. today are get married at 26 years old and men at 28 years old. If you look around our campus, this statistic doesn't seem to apply to couples who graduate from A&M.
"When I came to A&M as a freshman, I had no idea I was going to get married right after school. I didn't have a boyfriend and was perfectly content just being me. But as soon as I met Michael my freshman year, I knew he was "the one"," Brooke Massengale said of her fiance, both whom graduated from Texas A&M in May and are getting married in January. "The trend of couples getting married at A&M young didn't have much influence on our decision to get engaged our senior year. The timing was just right because we both wanted to look for and apply to jobs in the same city," she said.
Brittany Gajdica got engaged in March of her senior year at A&M. "I dreamt about meeting my husband at A&M when I was younger, only because my parents met here. But once I got to college, my dream to go to PA school put marriage aside - as something I would do later in life." However, after meeting her now fiance Ricky during the spring of her junior year, her idea of marriage changed. "If anything I spent most of college convincing myself that it was okay to not get married right out of school like I saw so many people doing. But when we started talking about our future together, it just seemed right. We were both very aware how normal it was for couples to get married young at A&M and how not normal this is in other places. It was nice not to have the shock factor among our friends and we're grateful for their support."
Recent research revealed that the actual divorce rate in America today is only 20-25%, unlike the widespread rumor that it's up to 50%. Don't get me wrong, 25% is still a very high statistic, and the decision to get married seems to have more weight today than it used to.
When compared to many schools across the nation, it's clear-aseday that couples at A&M fall in love and marry young. Has this been a successful decision?
Marci Corry and her husband Trey had been out of college for exactly one year before they got married. "We praise the Lord for great roommates that helped us see the value of selflessness and great communication because that was valuable in our marriage," she shared. Trey and Marci have been married for 12 years now.
"When you are young and still in school like some of our friends were, they faced challenges with families still paying for school and being financially dependent on them. Strings can often be attached if people are providing financially for you so this is an area to have good communication about ahead of time," she emphasized.
Marci shared some tips for young couples that helped her and Trey:
1. Date nights are super important! Each month we took turns planning one special surprise date and it is important to continue to cherish each other and keep things fresh.
2. Don’t go into marriage thinking, "We will each give 50% and be ok." Each person should strive to do 75% and want to go above and beyond.
3. Have a great mentor couple and someone that does good pre-marital counseling. This is more effective than a class especially when you are young and there is a lot to talk through and learn from more seasoned couples.
4. Go to a Crown Financial class and be wise financially in the DINK years (double-income-no-kids).
5. Live life to the fullest and go on adventures together. .
It's not just at A&M though; there tends to be a trend of getting married young at the more conservative schools in Texas like Baylor and ACU. By no means am I claiming that getting married young is crazy or irrational. I get giddy every time I watch an engagement video or see pictures on Facebook of one of my friends being proposed to.
A study known as Knot Yet found that married men and women in their twenties are less likely to get depressed, excessively drink and be unsatisfied with their lives.
Whether you're single, in a new relationship, or contemplating the next step in your life as graduation sneaks up, the most important thing to remember is that every relationship is different. We are all individual people, with different life goals, personalities and past histories, therefore our relationships will look different. Don't compare yours to anyone elses and make decisions about your future based on the "Aggie thing" to do.
Getting married young can be the right decision, if its your decision. Seek out advice from friends, family and older couples before you make any big moves. Remember that NOT everyone gets their "Ring by Spring" so relax and enjoy dating or the single life. Girls tend to have this idea or goal in their heads that they are destined to meet their husbands at A&M and get engaged before graduation. Realistically, relationships just happen. Most of the time when you least expect them to. And if he likes it, then he's gonna put a ring on it.http://youtu.be/MqKLrBpUxfQ