Marriage a blessing for those young, in love

“This day would be so much better if you were my fiancé.”

Those were the words Adam Keen said to Madeline Paul this past December. He took out the ring, and she said yes.

The couple, now both seniors about to graduate, just celebrated their four-year anniversary. Adam and Madeline met in their sophomore year of high school but didn’t start dating until senior year. From that point on, they knew they had something special. In 2007, they went to prom together. In June 2013, they’re getting married.

Some great love stories begin in high school. And some great love stories begin in Newman Hall.

That’s what happened for Robert Black, senior in LAS, and Lydia Allen, senior in Education. The two are getting married this May. Their chosen venue holds much meaning: St. John’s Catholic Newman Center, where the couple met freshman year, and it is also where they’ve lived since. Now, Robert and Lydia are resident advisors — engaged RAs, at that.

Nowadays, marriage at a young age is becoming much less socially acceptable. Robert is fully aware of that fact.

“I’m not advocating not thinking very seriously about marriage before you just do it,” he said. “But at that same time, there has to be an element of faith in it as well. I feel called that Lydia and I are meant to be together as husband and wife, and that’s that.”

Madeline, too, has had to deal with the stigma associated with engagement in college.

“All of my close friends are so excited,” she said. “But then there are people who have been kind of rude to me, telling me that I’m stupid to get married.”

These two couples are most certainly defying “the norm.”

In this day and age, couples are waiting longer than ever to get engaged. According to an article in USA Today by Sharon Jayson, the median age for marriage is around 26 for women and 28 for men. These numbers are higher than they’ve been since the 1890s, when the U.S. started keeping track.

“Marriage used to be the first step into adulthood, but now it is often the last,” Jayson wrote. She suggested that people have become obsessed with self-development, postponing the idea of marriage until they’ve finished school, found a job and figured out their place in the world. They’re waiting until they have completely grown up.

But what about growing up with another person?

Here at U of I, Adam and Madeline learned about what they wanted to do in life, and most importantly, they learned that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. They are soon-to-be college graduates, but that doesn’t mean they have life completely figured out yet. Together, as a married couple, they will be able to do just that.

Robert and Lydia will be married soon, right after they graduate. And they are definitely excited. A few nights ago, Robert went to run some errands and came back to discover Post-it notes all over his room.

“My favorite was the one on the clock which said ’94 days,’ which was how many days left until our wedding in May,” he said.

To me, Adam, Madeline, Robert and Lydia are doing it the right way. Marriage shouldn’t be the last thing on our minds. Men and women were created for it, after all.

Some will still say that college is too early for engagement. I say, however, that age is nothing but a number.

As Beyonce once said, “If you like it, then you shoulda put a ring on it.”

Melanie is a freshman in Media.