While it’s romantic and lovely whenever a couple figures out that they want to be together forever, I still can’t help but think about how I would not want to be engaged right now.
Don’t get me wrong — I want to get married someday, and I think it’s great when other people want to as well (or if they don’t want to). But I feel as though a lot of couples rush into it when they get engaged in college. According to a USA Today article, in 2008, nearly 18 percent of undergraduate students had already tied the knot.
I cannot even begin to imagine being engaged, let alone being married. I’m 21 years old and I’ve been dating my boyfriend for almost two years, but I still couldn’t picture having the stress of an engagement at this point in my life.
Planning a wedding takes time. I obviously have never done it, but I know that if a couple is planning on having a ceremony at a church, hotel or any other sort of typical wedding venue, you have to book it in advance. There is also the time of finding the right dress and the bridesmaids’ dresses, not to mention figuring out the menu for the reception, provided the couple chooses to have one. Dress and food shopping sounds fun in theory, but I have a feeling that I wouldn’t pick the first option so that would take even more time.
I don’t know about others, but I could not find the time to add all of that into my schedule. I already feel like I have way too much going on as far as my academics, my current internships and job. Plus, job searching for post-graduation takes time, mostly due to my never-ending struggle with cover letters.
Some couples plan on having a long engagement and have already been engaged for a year or so. I understand not wanting to get married while in college and they obviously don’t have the wedding planning stress yet, since they have awhile before they actually want to get married. But what baffles me is why they choose to get engaged then, if they’re simply going to wait three or four years.
Another point that bothers me is how much money is spent on a ring. Not all couples — young or old — have large diamond rings, but I’ve actually seen a few rings on young women’s fingers that I couldn’t fathom how much they cost. Some of these women may have received rings with sentimental value, but I know others weren’t. I think it is a sweet gesture to want to buy the soon-to-be fiancée a nice ring, but the engagement and the marriage are not about the ring size, and as a college student, I’m really not sure how long it must have taken to save up.
What it boils down to in my mind is that I feel like many people are jumping into it. If you’re planning on being with someone forever, why would you decide you have to get engaged right away? I feel like there is level of commitment to someone when you’re engaged that is almost as strong as that of the actual marriage. And I wonder how many people really take that commitment seriously. People can be in a committed relationship without being engaged, and I think that this is sometimes forgotten. Marriage is a lifetime commitment, and it’s wonderful that so many people believe they have found their soul mates, but there should not be a time crunch involved. If it’s love, then it’s love and there is no expiration date.
Grace Johnson is a senior publishing major and columnist for The Vidette. Any questions or comments regarding her column can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.