Marriage can wait

By Clay Thompson | Reporter

For those who know me well, it might seem strange for me to be taking a stance on when someone should get married, since I’ve never been in a relationship in my entire life. But just because I don’t have experience regarding relationships doesn’t mean I am foolish or ignorant.

Being a student in college, with many different factors all grabbing my focus and attention constantly, it has always seemed strange to me why so many get into relationships in college, as well as sometimes get married even before they graduate. While I do not judge and only share happiness for those who choose to pursue relationships or marriages more early on in their lives, to me it seems counterproductive to add yet another factor of attention to an already busy and stressful college world.

Relationships always take work. Whether members of a couple are working to provide financially or working mentally and emotionally to avoid or address potential conflicts, these things take effort and time to get to a functional and healthy state. This can add to the already full stress of college and can actually create fractures or destroy college-created relationships.

Emotional maturity is also a huge factor in why many students should wait to enter serious relationships or marriage.

Deborah Yurgelun-Todd, a leader in studying the brain, told Psychology Today, “The frontal lobes of the brain which are responsible for high-level reasoning and decision-making, aren’t fully mature until the early 20s.” This leads me to believe that most people are not fully prepared mentally and emotionally to take on a serious relationship at such a young age.

Additionally, the longer relationships last, the more that first wild, passionate love can be replaced by a more subtle companionate or commitment kind of love, according to Robert Sternberg’s triangular theory of love. This can often make or break relationships, as those who rush into them might not be prepared for the transition of feelings and emotions. That’s why it’s often better for people who are looking for a steady relationship to only consider marriage after a longer period of time so that they can be fully prepared and adapt to the changing kind of love they feel for their partner.

Ultimately, I think it is really up to each individual to decide whether they are ready for a relationship or marriage themselves, and I wish all the best to those who do; however, I did want to point out there is concrete, scientific backing that cautions against such a large life change in such a volatile stage of a young person’s life. Whether you have always been single, are recently single, are in a relationship or are married, just be aware that college and young adult life can take a toll. So make sure to stay informed, stay healthy and make the choice that you feel is the best for everyone, including yourself.