My fiancé and I are in love and want to get married in college. His parents think we should wait. Is there any reason we should not get married now?
We often receive this question from young couples who are eager to start their life together while still attending college. Every relationship is different; what works for one couple may not work for another. Given the challenges facing students with academics and college life, a couple looking to wed in college must be realistic about what they face before they take vows and exchange symbolic gold jewelry.
Many will look down at young marriages and proclaim the likelihood of failure, however that is not always the case. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, the average national age for marriage is 28, so college weddings are definitely in a minority. Planning a wedding while studying for finals puts a lot on your plate. But as with any major life changing decision, there are pros and cons to consider.
On the plus side, living together after marriage can save on expenses, combining incomes and sharing things can result in considerable savings. In addition to day-to-day savings, a number of colleges actually provide financial aid to married students. Government-funded financial aid for students is generally determined on a basis of financial need, you will need to submit an Application for Federal Student Aid to find out your eligibility.
There is always a counter argument and in this case the cost of the wedding could balance out any potential savings. Your wedding does not have to be a flamboyant event, but it should be noted that according to reports the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. in 2016 was $35,329.
If either of you are supported by parents, this may well change once you become ‘independent’ of them by getting married. Not all colleges have living quarters for married couples, so you may have to seek condos for rent off campus at additional expense.
It can be wonderful sharing your younger life moments and achievements with your partner. This can help you grow and mature together and could bring you closer. Having a companion to discuss and plan your future can be a welcome level of support during what can be one of the most stressful times in your life. From a biological standpoint fertility chances are much higher in your 20s than in your 30s.
On the flipside, we know college can be stressful, adding wedding plans to that could put extra pressures on you, especially if your finals are approaching. Balancing marriage and studying may become a bigger challenge than you both expected. Adjusting to a completely new lifestyle where there is more than just yourself to consider could add to the anxiety.
You may find that getting the blessings of one or both sets of parents is not as easy as you anticipated. From a parental perspective your education should come first, love can come later. Most parents seem to have planned out their children’s lives, at least until they graduate, but at the end of the day the decision is yours.
Marriage is an attempt to solve problems together which you didn’t even have when you were on your own… Eddie Cantor.
Written by Martin J. Young, former correspondent of Asia Times.