Where you live may impact the age at which you get married, a CNN study found. Consequently, a resident in Oklahoma is more likely to get married at a younger age than someone who lives in the northeastern United States.
According to CNN, couples in Arkansas, Utah and Oklahoma have the youngest average age of marriage in the United States, at 24 years old.
Along with their findings of regional location influencing the age of which someone might walk down the aisle, CNN also said education had an influence on a prolonged marriage. According to CNN, the average marriage age increases in states where there is a higher number of college educated people.
“We dated for four years before we got married, so I don’t think I personally fall in the ‘ring by spring’ category,” Megan Hansen, resident director at Oklahoma Christian said. “I would like to think that Oklahoma Christian did not have an influence, but there was a small influence and a pressure I don’t think students at Oklahoma Christian can avoid.”
Hansen said Oklahoma Christian seemed to over-encourage marriage. Similarly, senior Kaitlin Allen agreed with Hansen.
Kaitlin Allen dated her husband Mitch for three years before getting married in December 2016. Both Kaitlin and her husband are graduating in April.
“Around Oklahoma Christian, if you have been dating for a long time it is like, ‘Okay lets get married,” Kaitlin Allen said.
Despite the state’s young marriage average, CNN’s report showed Oklahoma had one of the highest percentages of divorced adults.
“It doesn’t scare me being a part of that statistic,” Hansen said. “We know who we are and why we got married, divorce is not an option. My parents told me that the key to a successful marriage is never letting the idea of divorce be on the table.”
Mitch Allen, Kaitlin Allen’s husband, said societal pressures could be a big factor in the high number of divorces in Oklahoma.
“It’s not that surprisingly the statistic is so high,” Mitch Allen said. “Our culture has so many people that pretend to hold Christian values, but struggle when those values are tested.”
Senior Kendall Allen married Oklahoma Christian alumnus Kirby Allen in the fall of 2016. Through the process of planning her wedding, Kendall Allen said she learned lessons that could be beneficial to all future newlyweds.
“Don’t compare your relationship, your engagement, wedding or your ring to others,” Kendall Allen said. “Make your wedding a reflection of who you are as a couple, not a replica of what you see on Pinterest.”
Hansen said there should be no rush to get married while in college.
“You have so much time,” Hansen said. “There is always a benefit to growing together first. If you can work through all of those things before you get married, the first year of marriage will be so much fun. And you don’t want to sacrifice that fun, first year just because you are rushing.”
However, Kirby Allen, Kendall Allen’s husband, said one of the benefits of getting married young is the opportunity to grow and mature through all different stages of life together.
“I hate when people have this whole romantic ideal of falling in love and everything feeling so great,” Kirby Allen said. “Sometimes we do things that annoy each other, and in that moment we might not like each other, but love is so much more than that. Our love for each other is an action rather than a feeling.”