Marriage should not be degree replacement

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After flooding Facebook and Instagram with posts of your proposal, the next big step is dropping out of school—or so it seems.

The fact that some girls feel the need to drop everything at the words “Will you marry me?” is disheartening.

In Volume 25, No.1, of Community College Week, author Benjamin Wood performed a study on female graduation rates at Utah colleges. In his article, he cited Pamela Silberman, communications director for the Utah System of Higher Education, and Ann Berghout-Austin, director of the Center for Women and Gender at Utah State University, to add credibility to the topic of Utah culture and how it affects these rates.

According to the study, the Utah Department of Workforce services listed Utah as having the largest spread gap in the nation between male and female college graduation rates. The difference between college-educated men and women in Utah was 6.0 percentage points.

Silberman said one of the main reasons for the low graduation rate of women is due to the number of women who drop out of school because of marriage or pregnancy. She also pointed out that many females are entering college without expectations of even completing their degrees.

Berghout-Austin said not only are female dropouts starting college without intent to finish, but women also struggle to balance the Utah culture that emphasizes both education and family. 

Even Pinterest ecards advertise marriage as easier than college. One popular ecard reads, “This finals week, let’s focus on how best to get our Mrs. degrees so we can avoid future finals weeks.”

This might come as breaking news to some, but it is an option to get married and pursue a career simultaneously.

Ladies, it’s understandable if you want to be a stay-at-home mom and raise your family, but you’re naïve if you think your husband can support you, and the multiples of children you plan to birth, with only a full-time job. If for no other reason, at least earn your degree so you can help provide for you and your husband before your family starts growing.

Remember, you have a choice to say yes to his proposal; you also have a choice to say yes to your education. But that’s not to suggest you can’t have both an education and a marriage. If you are determined to get married while in college, then get married while in college; don’t get married and drop out.

Men, you shouldn’t expect your wife-to-be to drop her education at your feet. If the love of your life doesn’t want to drop out in order to marry you, respect her decision. She’ll still be able to give you the attention you need in your marriage while also maintaining a higher education.  

Don’t let your hormones direct your life. If you’re afraid you won’t be able to keep your hands to yourself, try spending a little less time together. It’s acceptable to have some space from each other, even if it seems like every waking moment during the engagement should be spent together.

But while it might be important to stay out of trouble, it’s even more important that the parties in a relationship get to know each other. Too many newlyweds rush to create a new chapter in their lives but aren’t slowing down enough to pass through the get-to-know you stage.

In a predominantly Latter-day Saint community, it might be the norm for parents to push marriage on their young children, especially girls. A number of local parents encourage early marriage upon their daughters but don’t encourage them to get to know their future misters beforehand.

But who says children have to conform? If they are at an age to get married, they surely are at an age to make their own decisions.

Getting married young is one thing, but flushing goals and dreams down the toilet to get married is another.