Statistics show the majority of people today find the person they will marry in college. Once a person has found “the one,” the dilemma is whether to get married while in college, or to wait until after graduation. Mark and Debra Heimsoth, K-State seniors in finance, were married during their junior years, and they believe they chose the right path.
“The best thing about getting married in college is that you get a chance to enjoy your lives together before you have to go into the real world,” Debra said. “Getting married after you graduate would be more difficult, as there are so many changes you have to make, like getting a job, finding a place to live and so on.”
Mark and Debra met in high school and waited four years before deciding to marry. During their junior years of college they decided not to wait any longer and were married that following summer. They feel they made the right choice, because they knew each other well, and had no doubts that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together.
Many couples face road blocks along the way, and many times religious beliefs influence decisions.
“Since we had to wait four years, we did not want to wait any longer, especially since we were saving sex for marriage. After dating for so long, it can be extremely hard,” Mark said.
Getting married solved their dilemma, and they could be together while still following the doctrine in which they believed.
Another challenge they have faced is letting friends know they are still the same people they’ve always been, despite the fact they are now married. Friends tend to give them space so they can be alone.
“Sometimes people look at you differently, and think you are now an old married couple who no longer wants to have any fun,” Mark said. “We like our privacy and alone time, but we are still college students who love hanging out and having people over!”
Family is another obstacle a new couple can face. While most of Mark and Debra’s families were very supportive and excited about their choice, they did receive negative opinions from some. A few in their family felt they should wait one more year to graduate, and get good jobs before they chose to get married.
After marriage, family can continue to be a challenge. Many couples find it hard to spend time with both families, especially around the holidays. While Mark and Debra don’t go home often, because of the high fuel costs, they have been fortunate to have understanding families.
Financially, however, they had a mountain to climb. In choosing to marry before graduation, both families reminded them they would no longer receive support for college. With the high costs of tuition and housing it can be hard for a new couple starting out to pay the bills.
“Although our parents didn’t help us out at all after we got married, we knew what we were getting into, and wanted each other so bad that it was worth it,” Debra said.
They have found that despite knowing each other for four years, their relationship has grown by leaps and bounds. They both feel they know each other on a deeper level, physically and mentally.
“Now that we are married, I think we’re on another level of love,” Debra said. “I am his and he is mine…I guess that is what getting married is all about. God joins you together forever.”
The couple has been pursuing the same major throughout college, allowing them to be together all the time. While some would get sick of spending so much time together, they see it differently.
“We think it’s great, we’re both finance majors, which allows us to be on the same page when it comes to being smart with money,” Mark said. “And since money is one of the number one problems within marriages, we feel very good.”
Changing habits from single life can also be a difficult transition for some newlyweds. While Mark lived in an apartment, Debra lived in the dorms before they were married, so they were used to different lifestyles. Many couples have different preferences and tastes, often discovering their differences after being married awhile.
“Although we almost have the same tastes now, it wasn’t always like that,” Debra said. “Mark opened my eyes to quite a few things, especially different foods, most of which I was scared or refused to try before.”
Finding time to be a student and spouse can also be frustrating when juggling tasks and prioritizing. A couple must work well together to keep their home clean, do homework, and still spend quality time with one another.
“Mark actually cooks and cleans all the time,” Debra said. “He does so much more than I have ever known another man to do, and he still praises me for everything I do. When we work as a team, we have plenty of time for school and fun.”
During spare time, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in as a couple in Manhattan. Mark and Debra joined a couple’s Bible study at that their local church, where they are able to meet and discuss with other married couples. Alone time is also something they both enjoy. They love cooking, watching movies, and just being together.
“I love waking up next to him every morning,” Debra said. “There’s really not anything significant that we do, but all the little stuff adds up to mean so much more to us.”
To other couples wanting to get married in college, Mark and Debra feel strongly that young couples should wait as long as possible, and to know a person well before making any decisions. They discourage freshmen from getting married, because they feel they would lose out on the college experience and get caught up in the romance, not thinking about the difficulties.
“Getting married is a big change and huge commitment,” Mark said. “I don’t think freshmen should really jump into it, unless you feel you are mature and ready enough to make that promise.”
To other married couples already in college, their advice is to keep friends close and not to become loners. “Don’t let the little stuff get to you,” Debra said. “Just enjoy your life together. It is amazing when you find the right person.”
As graduation approaches, Mark and Debra are very excited to pursue their new life together. Mark has been accepted as manager of Papa Murphy’s pizza place in St. Joseph, Mo., so they will move to a new home after graduation. They said they pray his job will be successful and they hope to open a few more stores in the future, and Debra said she hopes to help him in those stores. They said another vision of theirs is to become parents one day, which will be another adjustment down the road.
“Our dreams may seem small, but we will always put them first,” Mark said. “We know we have a lot ahead of us, but we’ve come so far already, we’re ready to take that next step in our life together.”