With boyfriends, girlfriends, fiancés, husbands and wives all over campus, Harding could seem to some like a paradise for future relationships. Everyone knows a healthy relationship doesn’t always come easy, and it may take a few tries until the right person is found. Does Harding culture put too much pressure on students’ relationships?
It’s common knowledge that Harding is popularly known as a “marriage factory,” and it is no secret that many freshmen come here expecting to find the love of their life. Are expectations too high?
I don’t think anyone should feel required to date their freshman year. Freshmen are trying to figure out how to manage their workload and find a place to fit in their new environment. Lots of people are in the mindset of wanting to date just to have a relationship or because they desire to fit in the image that the Harding culture has created. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely against dating as a freshman. However, I think it’s smarter for people to at least wait until the spring semester, when they are beginning to find their place and become more established.
My hope is for people to know that there is no rush to get engaged or married. Take things at a slow and comfortable pace. Unnecessary pressure can build up in your own relationship when your peers are talking about getting engaged, are already engaged or possibly already married. If talking about marriage with your significant other makes you nervous, keep taking the relationship slowly. Marriage should be something that both of you are excited to talk about. It is a lifelong commitment that requires a lot of prayer, preparation and time that cannot be rushed. To help prepare, it is important to discuss the expectations of marriage that each person has.
Juniors or seniors who haven’t found a significant other while in college should not feel rushed. Who says that they have to find someone in college or at all? Harding culture has placed expectations on students to get married right out of college. Just because somebody hasn’t found their significant other during college does not mean that it is the end of their love story. College is only the beginning. We have the rest of our lives to be married, and there are other great guys and girls in the world beyond Harding.
Dating is supposed to be used for finding the person you’ll spend the rest of your life with. It is in our best interest to always take a relationship at a comfortable pace, to remember that there is no rush to find someone, and to trust in God and his perfect timing to bring us the right person we’ve been praying for.