Anyone who's attended a Christian university has probably heard the saying, "Ring by Spring" — or getting engaged by graduation. This saying... this concept can be extremely harmful if we are not careful.
It can be damaging to the way people, especially girls, see themselves and the world around them.
This is not to say there aren't some really successful relationships formed during college — I think those relationships, when entered into by two people in the right headspace, can be such a beautiful and wonderful thing.
But "Ring by Spring" can be very damaging.
As someone who started and ended college single, I hated the saying "Ring by Spring." I came into college struggling with my worth and felt that my relationship status defined me.
Because I was single, I wasn't enough, or at least that is what it felt like. I wanted to be wanted, I wanted to be somebody's instead of being somebody all on my own. Because of my mindset, "Ring by Spring" only furthered my insecurities, my relationship with myself, and my self-worth.
I thought that what could fix me or make me whole was a relationship. I think a saying like "Ring by Spring" digging at you can make you question your self-worth by fueling negative self-talk. For a long time, I wondered why I wasn't good enough or worthy enough to be in a relationship.
I would also like to go as far as to say that Christian culture sometimes idealizes marriage to a point where it can become dangerous and toxic. I think we need to stop sending the message to young women that the highest calling for them and the most fulfilled they will be will happen once they are married.
Stop making young people think that if it doesn't happen in college it won't happen. Stop promoting college as the means of finding a husband or a wife when there are plenty of places out there once you have graduated.
Because it didn't happen for you in college does not mean it is the end or that it is never going to happen. There is more to college than meeting your future spouse.
If you met your spouse in college, I am not trying to shame you in any way. I just think we're placing too much value and pressure on finding "the one" in college. It does not have to and should not be this thing that everyone is pressured into.
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