Should college girls wait to get married until they graduate?

My girls were sitting on the couch with me yesterday evening looking at pretty wedding dresses on Pinterest…

…and chatting about what kind of weddings they want some day.  The eldest girl declared, unprompted by me, that 20 is the perfect age to marry.  I was pleased to hear her say so, especially since this is a girl who is highly competitive, plays a lot of sports, is involved in many extra-curricular activities, and takes honors classes.  She wants to attend college and knows that we will pay for her to do so provided she lives at home, attends one of the universities within driving distance, and majors in something very practical.  I wasn’t sure how much thought she’d been giving to marriage, especially since she jokes sometimes about boys being too complicated and how she’s planning to just grow old with a lot of cats.  But apparently she has been thinking about it, and if while she is a student a suitable Christian man approaches her father and me for permission to marry her before she finishes her degree, permission most likely will be given.

Her comment about 20 being the perfect age to marry made me remember a recent post by Cane Caldo, in which he writes:

The marriage/divorce stats show a (morally) positive correlation between a woman’s achievement of a bachelor’s degree, and a continuance of marriage. Because of this, the idea has been put forward that this correlation centers on a (supposed) “future-time orientation”; i.e. the ability to delay gratification. Do we know how soon after graduation the women (who do not divorce) marry? I’m wondering how future oriented they are. Isn’t is possible that the ones who follow this pattern have made a decision to marry as soon as social pressures allow?

[…] Isn’t there the possibility that the women who are the most maritally stable are those women who both submit to the narrative of their leaders and media, and who also are really focused on (that is: strongly desire) marriage so to love a man? Is it possible that, given another set of priorities–or even just the removal of the bachelors degree notion–that those same women might do just as well marrying younger than 22 simply because that’s the demographic that wants to be married, and is also willing to listen to their authorities; that they wanted to marry earlier, and they only put it off as long as they needed to be respectful members of society as they were instructed?

I think this is quite possible. This certainly describes my own situation. During the summer between my senior year in high school and my freshman year in college, my then-boyfriend gave me a pearl promise ring and said that we would get married as soon as we graduated from college. However, we went to separate colleges in the fall, which stressed our relationship, and even though he switched schools to keep an eye on be near me, our engagement ended early in my sophomore year in part because I had swallowed the feminist poison (and also in part because we really weren’t terribly compatible).

Nevertheless, my big secret shame in college was that all I really wanted to do was find a man I loved and get married. Though I would never have admitted it, I knew that one of my most important goals while an undergrad was to find the man I would marry.  I met my husband during my senior year in college and briefly pretended that I was too independent to need a husband while secretly hoping he’d see through my faux-feminist blathering bull-pucky and marry me anyway, which thankfully he eventually did. But I really had a mental block, as most young women now do, against the idea of marrying before I finished that degree.

When I was in school, marrying your college sweetheart shortly after (but never before) graduation was fairly common; many of my college friends did so. However, the wait was really a mere formality, and if girls are going to go to college, there is no reason they should not marry while they are there.  But they often don’t, and nowadays they seem not even to consider finding their future husbands while they are undergrads. I presume this is so because modern girls are being taught to see their post-Bachelor career or graduate school plans as paramount and are told they ought not become tied down to a place or to having to follow a husband where his job or school plans may lead.

The majority of college girls who wish to be wives would ultimately do better to marry while still in college and put their job and school choices lower on the priority list. It’s not that they cannot get a degree or have a job, it’s just that they should put their supposed future time orientation to work and see that what they probably secretly want more than a demanding career is a happy family, and the best way to have that is to assign a higher priority to family formation and their husbands’ education and job prospects.

It’s not like this would be some big sacrifice on the young woman’s part.  She could still finish her degree and get a job (which feminists absurdly call “having a career” as if it were on par with “having a family” or “having a life”, which it isn’t), but it would ultimately benefit her to have a husband who could provide well for the family once the children start arriving so that she could focus on what women generally do best, which is mothering and overseeing the management of the home.

Presently a college girl who wishes to marry at 20 will be pressured to wait, but I hypothesize that encouraging girls who wish to marry to feel free to do so to an appropriate man before finishing their college degrees will not increase the divorce rate one bit.  The only girls who would likely marry at 20 are the ones who would prefer marriage and family life; the party girls and the hyper-driven future career girls won’t feel any pressure to marry in college and so will not.  I see this as a win for everyone.

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24 thoughts on “Should college girls wait to get married until they graduate?

  1. What I did was marry right away. College and education was actually a second priority. I wanted a husband, children, and white picket fences. God blessed me with exactly that. I took classes in child development, psychology, math, whatever interested me, and eventually nursing, but over a long period of time, about 15 years. It was always all about family, so I worked and went to school, but all part time. I helped hubby build his business. It’s been a really wonderful arrangement, we’ve both been able to spend a lot of our time at home, with each other, but also pursuing our individual interests.

    Our oldest daughter was 16 when she decided she wanted to get married. That is not a politically correct decision and it is socially frowned on, but her dad said wait until you’re 18 and we’ll bless you. Weeks after she turned 18 she got married, had children, built a house, and now she’s about to graduate from nursing school, too.

    We have 3 other kids who have shown little interest in marriage and family and I really believe that has a lot to do with our culture and changing mores. I feel kind of bad for them because I believe it’s what they really want, what would make them the happiest long term, but the world we’re living in really frowns upon women doing anything perceived as traditional. You really have to know your own mind and push through all that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree that there is this idea that marriage should be *after* graduation, but there’s no reason why a girl couldn’t study *after* getting married. It’s kind of comical to me to think about because I remember hearing how my grandfather had to wait to marry my grandmother until after she finished school…high school!!! My ex-husband wasn’t keen to wait through a two year grad program, so I did one in a seasonal year and we got married a week after I moved back home. I was twenty-two. When I got married again at thirty-five, it was *after* I had graduated (in my own mind) from five years of study in male/female dynamics. I call it my “masters in relationships.” For my own daughter, an early marriage will be necessary. Already she speaks of being a mom and how many children she will have. She recently won a school award for good treatment of others. What degree could be better than that?

    It must be very satisfying to know that both of your (SSM and IB) oldest children are on the right track. My husband and I recently watched one of the old versions of Pride and Prejudice. Often people just pass it off as frivolous, but marriage is serious business! And finding the right man- a good man- not just one who looks good in uniform is so important. On another note, he just asked me what I was reading and I told him the title. His immediate response was: “No. Not as a rule.” He also added that “it’s good for the boy, too.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ah, crap. I was trying to reply to my own post and I liked it by mistake. lol
      Additionally, having children during those traditional college years is not such a bad idea either. We just started doing research and there are all kinds of benefits available to young married college students with children: married housing, child care (at one major top 40 state university, 85% of the cost of child care is subsidized), and health insurance. One benefit could be that if your parents are at the income level where it is high enough that you can’t qualify for some aid, by marrying, you break that connection and become an independent low-income family. If you look into it, there are ways to turn this backwards world right again.

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      • I gave you another ‘like’ Kate. 🙂
        First time reader here…let’s see…married before graduating. I had a little over a year left.
        Since being married, I’ve obtained three BS degrees (and we moved A LOT). It’s pretty easy to do later, especially now that they have online classes.

        I didn’t intend to get married before graduation and wasn’t looking at the time, but I’m very glad I met and married my man when we did. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Welcome! Thank you for this comment; it supports my conclusion that it’s perfectly reasonable and not a problem at all for young women to marry while still in college. Completing one’s education is still quite possible even while married.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. My thought is that, as a Catholic, if you’re getting married in your twenties it would take remarkably willpower to avoid having children while you are in college. I’m not sure, if you’re planning on staying in school it’s fair to the kid to be going to school at the same time.

    Of course, the counter-argument is that a job puts strain on you too, but the theory behind a job is that it gets you money as opposed to draining it.

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    • What is wrong with having kids in your early 20s when your body recovers quicker and you have enough energy to chase them? The credentials will matter little when you are homeschooling or stopping the child welfare gestapo uplifting your children because you are not within 5 meters of them at all times.

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      • And? The point remains. We are teaching our young to honour credentials and not work.

        My advice to young people who do need degrees is to leave the USA and go to a commonwealth university. In Australia, NZ or the UK. It is cheaper, and there is far less ‘prerequiste’ fluff.

        Or go to your local community college. But if a man you love proposes, life matters more than peices of paper. And most of the world does not have the US crazy health insurance system.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. About two years ago, some woman was taken to task by feminists for advising women to, if not marry, at least start seriously looking. The point she made was unassailable. Young women will never find a concentration of demographics that would benefit her selection ever again.
    It just isn’t out there in work world.

    Maybe it’s because I am a boy bear but, your daughter’s concern over boys being complicated baffles me. I see us as being simple and consistant. We’re not very mysterious.

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  5. My big issue is that I want my children to be ready to support themselves before they marry, which really supposes mostly a work ethic, a diploma or GED, and no significant criminal record. In most places, rent, major medical insurance (including pregnancy coverage), food, and utilities can be covered with 40 hours per week with an ordinary job. Add a second minimum wage job, and you’re able to cover some luxuries, a car, and trade school or college for one or both people. A princely life it is not, but it sure beats burning with lust.

    And for that matter, I’ve met an awful lot of college graduates working pretty awful jobs and struggling to make student loan payments. So maybe another way of saying it is this; if you’re putting off getting married to get bigger student loans, maybe you need to rethink your priorities.

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    • Well, Mr. Bubbba, like you, I want my daughters to be able to support themselves; actually I’m rather rabid about them getting their degrees. Angharad is (finally) heading back to college to finish up a degree in Education (and she will be a wonderful elementary school teacher) and since she plans to live at home and commute, her cost burden will be considerably less; Iseult plans to (get this) major in Linguistics and go to work for the NSA (or some other such agency). Also, she’s thinking about my alma mater (so I see a road trip to Penn State in the near future). Apparently no universities in SC offer undergraduate degrees in Linguistics. Figures.

      My one disagreement with you is that (depending on how you define it), a “regular job” really can’t cover rent/utilities/insurance premiums/actually eating. Not without a degree or training of some kind. So at least one person needs to have the credentials while the other is pursuing his/hers.

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      • Depends on how we define “actually eating” and what’s necessary, I guess. On one side, if you want to live upper middle class, you’re probably right that a four year degree and a profession is one of your best tickets there–especially if you don’t have a flair for sales. Salesmen seem to violate all the rules for what someone of modest education ought to be able to earn! Tradesmen do pretty well, too–male-dominated often except for nursing, though.

        On the flip side, there are lots of people out there with non-professional degrees who really should have just started flipping burgers after graduating high school. They would be better off, since they’d be working the same job, but wouldn’t have the same debt.

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      • Well, I think it also depends on where you live. Rents can be pretty ridiculous here (compared to incomes) if you want to live in a decent area; the public transportation system is not robust. So, if one does not have SOME kind of training or prior experience, getting paid a salary with decent benefits can be a challenge.

        In fact, the thing that really pushed Angharad to apply to school FT is when she realized just how little she made for the all the hours she worked. She could not live independently on her wages and that’s not good.

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  6. I’s not a random thought but, by marrying early, I would hope that the woman would become more adept as a wife. By staying single, she would become more adept as a girlfriend.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Young women need to be cautious about credentialism. I have stopped suggesting they become teachers or nurses simply because I know too many newly graduated nurses and teachers who are working as baristas and cleaners: if you don’t get that first job that will allow you to register you are left with a degree but no registration.

    With one son doing training in a health provession (not mine) I hear a lot about the stress his friends have: and I see too many of them at my job.

    And as someone whit a profession, can I say what Scott is also saying: your career is a mythical beast. You have jobs, perhaps in your trade, perhaps elsewhere. Your life is generally not your work.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. When asked, feminists like to trot out the fact that later marriages are less likely to divorce. That may be a case of using anything to promote their position. In biblical times, kids were betrothed before puberty. That had to save a lot chasing around for nothing later.
    The present attitude of postponing marriage to maximize theyears of fun and independence promoted by feminists for the benefit of women is going to backfire big time. When the music stops, a lot of women are going to be lonely.

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  9. Forget about feminism; why would a teenage girl with loving parents and a happy family life be so eager to replace that with the unknown of marriage? I know for myself, my father doesn’t want me losing my virginity until he’s dead. Of course it’s unrealistic, but virtually every father feels this way.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I want to get married young but I’m turning 20 in a few months and I don’t know if I am ready. To he honest, while it is exciting it also frightening. I don’t think 20 is for me, perhaps 22 though?

    That being said, if a woman does get married that young, typically the man should be a few years older. He should have a steady job and be able to provide. My friend got married at 19 and her husband was 10 years older than her. I think for 19 years old that is a big age gap, but her and husband waited until marriage and if it is a recognized union by God then it is a recognized union by me. 🙂

    P.S. if you suggest your daughter to get married during her college years, don’t send her to an all women’s college like me! Haha 😉

    The only good benefit though is at least you don’t have to worry about her going to crazy college parties and having short flings.

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  11. My 13 year old daughter is a very intelligent little girl. She is a grade level ahead in her reading and writing skills. I could definitely see her becoming a Christian blogger when she grows up and I would highly encourage her in this.

    I also will encourage her to go to college, but I have told her on several occasions that if she is meets the right Christian man and they want to get married and start a family before she graduates I would fully support that.

    I have taught her that while education is important, her becoming a Christian wife and mother should be her most important priority in life. She could take online courses to finish her degree later.

    I have also taught her that education for a woman should not be in the interests of pursuing a career outside the home. Her education should instead be looked at as an asset for husband and in raising her kids(perhaps homeschooling them) and maybe having a work from home business. But I have taught my daughter that God wants a woman to be a “keeper at home”.

    Like

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