Marriage during school requires balance

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We are a little notorious around here for getting married at a young age.

Marrying young is heavily encouraged in our community. This can lead to a chasm where a student has to choose between doing well in school and pursuing his or her goals or taking time out for his or her’s significant other for a healthy relationship.

According to the Utah Department of Health website, the median age for a woman’s first marriage was 22 and a man’s was 24 in 2010.  A little over half of the couples who married in 2010 had also had one year or more of college. So, it is common for students to be married in our state.

I was married at the age of 18. When I started college, I had a hard time finding the balance between what I wanted to do in life and being a wife. Fast forward to being divorced and 30, I have had to learn a few things the hard way.

Using my own experience as a cautionary tale, I worry that students who marry young may also have a hard time finding the balance. Having an ally in your significant other and being an ally in his or her’s dreams is essential.

I talked with Karen Gubler, a senior art major from Cedar City, about the balance of being a wife and a student. Gubler, who married at the age of 22, will celebrate her 4-year anniversary next month.

She said it isn’t easy to balance school, work and time for her husband; they stay connected by engaging each other with homework problems or in their martial arts business.

At the time she was married, she said she thought she was an old maid, but looking back, she thinks she was really young to be married. The key to making it work, she said, is to grow together as you grow up.

“Being married [while] in college is different,” Gubler laughed. “It’s good in it’s own way. You have someone built-in to go to everything with. But at the same time, you also have an excuse not to go.”

She said there is an emphasis to get married young in the community, but she advises younger students to enjoy the single years and take their time before settling down.

“When you’re married, it’s completely different than you think it’s going to be,” Gubler said. “It’s not just sunshine and rainbows and sex all of the time.”

In the end, I would never say marrying young and while in school is a bad idea, but it is crucial to know yourself and not get lost in the title of “wife” or “husband.” Having personal goals and being an ally to help your significant other builds a strong foundation between the two of you. By being an individual that compliments the life of your partner the marriage becomes a positive environment for personal growth.

More information: 

There were 23,612 marriages at a 8.5 rate. There were 10,146 divorces at a 3.7 rate.

There were 1,187 marriages in Washington County at a 8.6 rate.

Median Ages:

For the brides, the median age for the first marriage was 22 and 34 for the second. For the groom, 24 for the first marriage and 37 for the second.

Education Levels:


4.5 percent had less than a high school level education 

28.4 had a high school diploma

60.9 percent had one year or more of college


4.8 percent had less than a high school level education

32.3 had a high school diploma

57.6 had one year or more of college

Information from from www.health.utah.gov.