Ashleigh Fox/THE CHIMES
As the school year began, some students returned to Biola with a little more than a tan. Engagement rings sparkle on girls’ fingers and even some wedding bands draw classmates’ attention to couples’ recent marriages. While many offer enthusiastic congratulations, others consider the repercussions of beginning marriage before finishing school. It is definitely a multi-faceted question that must take into consideration the individuals’ maturity, financial situation and many other aspects that are not black-and-white. However, it is valid for those around a couple to be concerned that the new priorities and responsibilities marriage brings could distract from education. On this “ring-by-spring” campus, there are many myths and opinions surrounding the subject of marriage, especially while one is still a student. The Chimes staff wants to bring this scattered chatter to the forefront.
First, let’s take a look at some of the advantages of getting hitched while still in school. If a dating couple is certain that they want to spend the rest of their lives together, now could be as good a time as any to tie the knot. Marriage is undoubtedly the most intimate form of companionship, and having that companionship as a reliable constant through college can be a blessing. College, like any stage in life, has its ups and downs, and married students are able to enjoy the advantages of total intimacy as they make their way through the joys and trials of higher education. The bright side of life is all the more worthy of celebration when experienced with a spouse, and the tough times are made more bearable through their support.
And certainly, married couples at Biola will face unique difficulties, but they are also in a unique position. At our school, “spiritual resources” are more available to students than they may ever be again. We have Spiritual Direction, a variety of chapel programs and so many personable and available Bible professors. What better context could there be in which to begin the rewarding and challenging phase of life we call marriage? The decision to be married in college is atypical, certainly, but if approached with wisdom and entered into with confidence and maturity, it can be a blessing.
Although marriage can have its benefits, maturity may not yet be mastered at this point in life for individuals, whether in a relationship or not. College is a safe place to learn about yourself and, especially for Biola students, deepen your relationship with Christ. Where you live, which classes you take, which chapels you attend, which clubs or mission organizations you engage in, and even who you study with makes a huge impact on your future. If you focus most of your energy on one specific person, these moments of impact can be overlooked or even surpassed. Many of the opportunities colleges have to offer celebrate singleness in a way that lets you discover the answer to the infamous “Who am I?” question we so often ask ourselves. Using this time to wholeheartedly delve into the rich Biola community and have Christ fully prepare your heart for your future spouse are important aspects of college we should take advantage of while we still can.
That being said, no two relationship scenarios are exactly the same. Some couples may be called to remain unmarried the entirety of their college experience, others may not be so inclined to wait. Perhaps they even have a calling from God to seal the deal before graduation. No matter who you are or who you are dating, these two truths apply: 1. God works in different people’s lives in different ways. Whether you are unmarried or engaged, God won’t always work within your expectations or the expectations of culture. Just because your roommate gets married before they graduate doesn’t mean you have to. 2. Practical matters matter. Financial stress could be a tremendous burden, especially for couples who will share student loan debt. This could really complicate finding a place to live or a job that will suffice to put enough food on the table. However, your situation is unique. Consider where you’re at. If you find yourself capable of handling marriage, you will make it work.
The long and short of it is, don’t complicate it. Enjoy your time at Biola, and follow where God leads you.