Married students talk dating, counseling, and “ring by spring”

What do married students suggest students do before getting married, and is ring by spring real? (Photo by Shawn Paradis used under Creative Commons license.)

By Brad Crofford, Editor-in-Chief

Having already gone through the processes of dating, getting engaged, and getting married, Josue and Ginger (Villacampa) Murillo, Marissa (Summerford) Callen, Hillary (Johnson) Underwood, and Bre (Simmons) Frees have some perspective. We asked them for some advice and about the infamous “ring by spring” phenomenon.

Seniors Josue and Ginger Murillo met during their sophomore year through the Nazarene webpage and Facebook, and they were married in New York in August 2010. Josue Murillo noted that some people think the first person they date is their true love, but cautions that this may or may not be the case.

“I hear that if you don’t get married or engaged at SNU, it’s never gonna happen, but keep in mind that marriage isn’t just something you do for a couple of years; it’s for eternity,” Josue Murillo said. He added that he was 27 when he got married.

Ginger Murillo said that students get married for a variety of reasons. She said that while in some cases there may be pressure from friends or it may be so they don’t fall into sin, she said this not true for all and shouldn’t be generalized. She gave the example of some friends who are current SNU students. They dated for five years before getting married, including a one year engagement. She said they “did things right and followed God’s path.”

Underwood emphasized the importance of honesty and premarital counseling. She and her husband Clark went through premarital counseling at SNU as well as going to the couples retreat offered by the university.
The first thing is “Being honest with yourself and the other person, first and foremost,” Underwood said. “If you are thinking about marriage, don’t be afraid to do premarital counseling. There will be some difficult things raised, but that makes the relationship stronger.”

Underwood also brought up the importance of friends. She warned against abandoning friends when entering a relationship because “they give good advice from the outside.” Finally, she said it was a misconception to think that “all your wildest dreams will come true.”

“[Marriage] is great, and it’s fun, but it’s hard work,” Underwood said, mentioning things like paying bills and working.

“Ring by spring” is a phenomenon that seems to occur each year on campus. It involves men proposing to their girlfriends by or during the spring. While a series of engagement announcements on Facebook seems to substantiate its existence, does it lead to people feeling pressured to get married?

“I was never concerned with getting a ‘ring by spring,’ although I’m really glad I did,” Callen said. “And Nate [her husband] said he never felt pressured by the saying. But there are definitely a lot of people that live by that saying.”

Not everyone, however, thinks that there is pressure at SNU to get married.

“I didn’t feel any pressure to get married coming from the SNU environment or my peers,” Frees said. “I feel like people should not try and force a relationship to work just so they can have some sense of false security going into graduation.”

“I think the first misconception is that you just get married because everyone else is,” Underwood said, noting that she and her husband had dated for seven years, ever since she was in the eighth grade. “Ring by spring wasn’t the case for us. We didn’t feel pressure. The time was just right for us.”

What do you think?