I want to preface this by saying that I do not hate love. I do not hate seeing people in love and I do not hate the concept of love in general. Quite the opposite, actually... I love love.
I have been with my boyfriend for over two and a half years and I love him a lot. When I picture myself in the future five years from now, I can picture us still together.
Like many other girls, I fantasize about my wedding and the dress and the ring and the food and the ceremony...
With that being said, I am not planning on getting engaged anytime soon.
I had not heard the term "ring by spring" until this year, but apparently, it is a popular thing. People want to be engaged before they graduate from college.
Yes, let me say that again — before they graduate from college.
Also known as before they have a stable income, before they have had experience in the real world, before they have their own house, before they need to pay their own bills...
Where is the money coming from to pay for the engagement ring? Where is the money coming from to pay for the wedding? Where do you have time to plan a wedding while also finishing up your degree?
This seems like a great idea.
The human brain is not fully developed until at least the age of 25 (yes, this statistic gets thrown around a lot, but it is also very true. I learned the details about it in both my endocrinology and my psychology classes). The part that is still developing is called the prefrontal cortex (i.e. the part controlling impulsive decision-making as well as planning in general).
So, what is the rush to get married before then?
When individuals get engaged in college, it seems to be a way to "legitimize" their relationship.
Can you tell me this, who exactly decided that your relationship is not real until you put a ring on it?
Who decided that those feelings of love and loyalty and passion and honesty are not truly real until there is a ring on your finger?
I decided to expedite my college career, I earned my Bachelor of Science in three years and am working on my Master of Business Administration during my fourth year. After this year, I am hoping to attend a veterinary school which will be another four years. After that, I will get a job and begin to earn my own income so I can actually support myself.
After that, I will be ready to get married.
When I get married, I hope that it will be forever. And, well, the fact of the matter is, divorce rates increase if you are under the age of 25. Research from the University of Utah actually shows that the best ages to get married are between the ages of 28 and 32.
My parents dated for a few years, broke up for a few years, and then ended up getting back together thanks to fate. They always tell me that if they got married the first time they were together, they would no doubt be divorced. They said they both grew so much during their early 20s that it totally changed them and their relationship.
Marriage is not something that needs to be rushed — it is not some sort of prize to reach the quickest. You and your significant other deserve to experience life together (I mean real life together, outside of college) before you decide to spend the rest of your lives with each other.
Get engaged for the right reasons. Do not get engaged because it "seems cool" or because your other friends are getting engaged or because you think that will prevent your relationship from ever breaking up.
When you get engaged, do it because you are in love and are ready to build a life together and to support each other.
If you know in your heart of hearts that your relationship is ready for marriage, then go for it. But, do not get engaged before you are truly ready just to fit some trend like "ring by spring" or to adhere to some social pressure to get married by age X, buy a house by age Y, and have kids by age Z.