The stereotypical college student is portrayed in movies to be the super partier or the hermit who sits in their room all day studying, and that can be the best of both worlds. An interesting survey question to ask college students: If you could choose between having good grades, a social life or enough sleep, which two would you choose?
The answer to the question may change if the student is in a serious and committed relationship. There is almost more pressure put on the student as they add their significant other to the mix. For some students, though, they are so committed that they feel it is time for them to move on to the next chapter in life and get married. Three couples on the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point campus face these difficulties every day.
Jordan and Senja Hines, Trevor and Anna Haug, and Alex and Sara Stieve, three married couples at UWSP, explained their experiences on the happiness and hardships that their busy lives as both a student and spouse create.
For each of the couples, getting married made sense in their situations. They all have been together since their high school years and were ready to start their life together.
“We had simply been together for a very long time. This was the next step in our relationship, and it was time. We were really just ready to be committed together in faith and love for the rest of our lives,” Sara Stieve said. “We have clearly similar goals in life, and we knew each other well enough that there was no question that we were going to get married.”
“We love being married. The experiences we have are really no different than having a roommate that you live with, except for the obvious fact that we are married,” Senja Hines said. “We work through complications together, make dinner, work out and we encourage each other in everything. It really is nice to have someone there to support you in everything,”
Each of the three couples listed that having someone there to support them through everything and getting additional financial aid are great benefits to being married. Having the same person to lean on when times are hard is something each couple explained that they cherish.
“Honestly, I have been telling all of my friends in serious relationships that we all should have gotten married a long time ago to help with the cost of school. There are so many grants out there for married couples in college that we literally only had to pay a few hundred dollars towards tuition this year,” Sara Stieve said.
On top of all the benefits that come with being married, each couple also explained that it is also no walk in the park. Being married and a full-time student takes a great deal of commitment and communication between each partner. It also takes a lot of careful planning and creativity to keep things fresh and interesting in the relationship.
“Set aside some time to spend together. For us, we have a book that we read together each night before we go to bed. This allows us to wind down and relax and enjoy each other’s company,” the Hines said.
“Unfortunately, we both caught ourselves being married at literally the busiest points in our lives, and I think our relationship is somewhat unique in that aspect,” Stieve said. “We knew and quickly accepted that being married would be a challenge. We love to dream about what life will be like not under these strenuous conditions.”
Concerning managing the hectic schedules they have as a student and spouse, the couples explained that setting any time aside for each other is necessary. They make a required date night either weekly or monthly just so that they get that time together. On top of spending time with each other, though, the couples also explained that doing what they enjoy is also important in making things work.
Considering their own marriage, the couples were asked to give advice to students who may be considering getting married under the same circumstances. A lot of planning and careful advice for loved ones helped each guide them into their decisions.
There is far more involved than managing a busy class schedule and financial concerns when it came to make a decision to get married for each couple. Each had to think about what it was they wanted and how they were to go about approaching their goals.
“It’s not just a board of fantasies on Pinterest,” Sara Stieve said.
“It requires sacrifice, collaboration, and a lot of communication. We think it is extremely important to prepare for and anticipate specific circumstances and struggles that may come your way in marriage,” the Haugs said.
“You need to look at your individual relationship before jumping into marriage. We waited through a two-year engagement to get married, so if that’s what it takes to make someone feel more comfortable, then great! Do that!” Stieve said.