We Did It Together: Marriage and College

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Josh and I graduated from Roberts Wesleyan College today–pomp, circumstance, tassels and all. I received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and he in Spanish. We were surrounded by friends, family, and mentors . . . and we were absolutely honored.

There was a moment during the commencement ceremony in which the speaker asked all of the parents and spouses of the graduating students to stand and receive thanks for the support they had given the graduates throughout the years. Seated at the very front of the crowded gymnasium, I leaned forward and prepared to hammily stand in support of my spouse a few rows back (who would undoubtedly blush, groan, and pull his mortarboard down over his eyes in embarrassment.) As I rose from my seat and peeked over my shoulder, there was Josh–already standing and beaming at me.

It didn’t feel hammy at all.

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Being college graduates is a very strange feeling in light of the fact that up until now, Josh and I have never been together when we were not both students. We have never been married and not been in college. School has been a part of our relationship for as long as either of us can remember–a big part.

We both work (or used to work) very hard academically. We have forever been in competition for ultimate academic excellence. In high school, Josh edged me out as valedictorian of our class. I took salutatorian. In college, he landed Cum Laude while I managed to eke out Magna Cum Laude. The meaning in our accomplishments is clear, even more so since that moment when we stood and honored each other at commencement.

We never could have done it without each other.

What started out as just a playful rivalry turned into precious and invaluable support for four long years. We saw each other through six finals weeks, dozens of projects with both each other and others as partners, countless papers, and a whole lot of stress. And no matter how much we felt like ripping out hairs (both our own and each other’s), we always emerged loving, needing, and appreciating each other even more.

Josh would quiz me on communication theories, not letting me off easy because he really did want to learn more about my field of study.

I would sit him down and have him talk me through nerve-wracking oral presentations, helping him form neat outlines complete with examples.

He would chase me away from the textbook- and paper-piled couch to the bed and make me snuggle at least five minutes a day “for mental health.”

I would chatter at him in Spanish, making him practice even when he didn’t want to.

He would search for assignments I had long-since lost, always taking the blame for their disappearance.

I would meet him with a hungry gleam in my eye when he would tease at 1:30 in the morning, “Taco Bell?”

He would heat up my cornbag on the way out the door to class when IC flareups would keep me at home.

And we would get through it.

And we have gotten through it. As surreal as it seems, this chapter of our life that has meant so much to us is over, but what isn’t over is how much we have meant to each other during this season.

I reflect back on the judgment for our decisions that Josh and I received over the years. I can see in so many people’s eyes the meddling mindset of

“There go those poor, married college students that couldn’t wait any longer to have sex and will spend the rest of their lives paying for it.”

I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this, but do people our age realize that there is more to marriage than sex? Then let me just take this opportunity to say, there is so much more to marriage than sex!

There’s friendship, fights, prayers, problems, trust, travel, work, play, adversity, adventures, backrubs, back-seat driving, campfires, picnics, late-night swims, sushi, sing-alongs,  midnight premieres, nightmares, deep thoughts, theatre, Thanksgiving dinner, pregnancy tests, plans, failures, fears, hopes, dreams, desires, days, nights, today, tomorrow, and forever.

There are, in fact, a lot of things that come with marriage that have made our college experience what it was. So you know what I say to people who think it unwise to marry during college (as if it’s any of their business)?

“There go those poor, unmarried college students who will never know what it’s like to have the ultimate supporter and soulmate walk them through every step of their adult journey.”

I love you, Josh. We did it, baby!

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