The “ring by spring” myth

I find pride in being an individual. So what happens when my own goal is the same as many other graduating seniors? I am one of those people, sporting a new diamond ring and calling the man by my side my fiancé.

Just don’t label us “another Eastern engaged couple.”

In my experience, an Eastern engaged couple has been together since their first year of college and has a date set for their wedding by graduation. At least that is how I have heard it.

According to the Eastern alumni office, 1,126 of Eastern alumni have married another alum. These numbers look at 1952 to the present. There is clearly a reason for the “another Eastern engaged couple” label.

In the past month, people have shoved me into a category when talking about engagements and marriage. It is a category that they feel like they have to apologize for when they are talking about how everyone graduating from Eastern gets married to each other.

My fiancé has never attended Eastern. We met in our church growing up, and I began calling him my boyfriend six years before the diamond became our reality. So, we are not an Eastern engaged couple.

While it is fun to talk about a wedding, we will not be getting married immediately after college. I fear that we will not be in the financial situation to afford an apartment. Ideally, we are looking at a year, but realistically it is more likely to be a year-and-a-half to two.

The reality is that Christian marriages have as high a divorce rate as the rest of the population. I fear that it is assumed by the Eastern community that these couples will become divorced.

I have close friends who are also engaged, making plans and have setting dates. I could not be happier for them, but I fear that the stereotype is that these marriages will end. My close friends are all beautiful people, and I believe that their marriages will not end in heartbreak.

The short point is that everyone is different. For some, finances and emotions are ready for a marriage right after graduation. For Keith Rounds and I, it will take longer, just like our lengthy courtship. I have figured out how to remain an individual when my goal is the same as other seniors’ goals, and I challenge others to remain true to their own desires in this institution of conformity.

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