Grades wilt as student relationships blossom

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Students who choose to tie the knot while in school are sometimes blindsided by the workload that comes along with planning a wedding. Keeping one’s grade point average afloat while choosing wedding colors, reception venues and cake flavors can be easier said than done.

“When I was engaged, I spent more time on Pinterest than on Learning Suite and homework stuff,” said Madeline Wagner, a junior studying developmental biology. “It’s hard to balance everything, and I just got so excited and nervous about planning everything that I didn’t want to focus on anything else.”

The tendency to feel distracted during an engagement is not exclusive to women. Wedding-related anxiety plagues men as well, who can see their school assignments fall to the wayside in favor of planning for the future.

“I had to figure out car insurance, where to live, phone plans and all this other stuff at once,” said Nick Hales, a junior from Nevada. “You know, your wife is all caught up planning flowers, and nothing’s simple.”

BYU marriage and family professor Kent Brooks tells his students there is a stark difference between mature and immature love when it comes to responsibilities. While immature love can distract students from our coursework and other responsibilities, mature love helps students succeed.

“Love shouldn’t make us flunk our classes or go into debt, or develop bad health,” said Darin Hillyard, one of Brooks’ students. “Our partners are supposed to make us best and take care of others. There’s this clean line between love and infatuation.”

But during engagement, even the most mature of couples can still find difficulty keeping their lives in order. Couples looking to ground their perspectives and focus more on school may consider prioritizing marriage checklists and simplifying plans. It can be helpful to realize that not everything has to be completed before the wedding; life goes on after the big day.

Some couples decide on longer engagements to help reduce the stress of planning and to create a more meaningful and enjoyable engagement period.

“After everything’s said and done I had the best wedding ever, but I also got to really enjoy our engagement,” said law student Jenny Hales. “It was longer than most ‘Provo whiplashes,’ but it gave me time. I didn’t have to be bridezilla until two days before my wedding.”

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