With a new consumer report showing that six million couples are likely to get engaged on Feb. 14, it isn’t a surprise that some St. Thomas students have already tied the knot.
Professor John Buri, who teaches a psychology of marriage and family course, said a 2012 research study based on 22,000 married couples suggested that couples who get married between the ages of 23-28 have the best chance for stability and satisfaction.
“Younger than 23, people are often pretty immature and as a result, the marriages aren’t as stable,” Buri said. “After 28, people get set in their ways and therefore marital satisfaction goes down.”
Senior Erin Al Zaher is recently wed to Mohammed Al Zaher, and sophomore Caity Kubicek is engaged to Derek Lee.
Sophomore Caity Kubicek shows off her engagement ring after Derek Lee proposed to her. The couple has been engaged for a year and a half. (Courtesy of Caity Kubicek)
“We actually met here at St. Thomas, and we hit it off pretty quickly,” Al Zaher said. “We were friends for a while, and then we started dating.”
Kubicek said her fiancé is in the Marine Corps and when the couple got word about a Japan deployment, it motivated them to get engaged.
“We were really just in love, and we knew we wanted to be with each other,” Kubicek said.
Buri said any potential or existing relationship should be based on more than superficial qualities.
“Well the thing to look for, are the qualities of the individual,” Buri said. “You cannot have a relationship that’s of higher quality than the quality of the people making up that relationship, and so you want to look for character issues more than the superficial.”
In today’s culture, Buri said marriage is not always perceived in a good light.
“The culture we live in is not a very marriage-friendly culture,” Buri said.
However, Erin Al Zeher’s and Kubicek’s families and friends were supportive with their decisions to wed at a young age.
“My friends were really excited, they thought it was really cool,” Kubicek said. “Some of them were a little worried that I wouldn’t get the full college experience.”
Although St. Thomas is a Catholic school, students have a variety of opinions, especially when it comes to young love.
“Too young and too soon,” senior Kristie Miller said. “You have the rest of your lives to do that, so you might as well take it slow to make sure you’re making the right decision.”
Freshman Tony Martin said young marriage is fine if the couple is content with the idea of staying together forever.
“Obviously it’s a big choice, but if they think that they can commit for that long at such a young age, props to them,” Martin said. “It is pretty young to be getting married at 18 or 21, but then again, it all matters on how the couple feels toward each other.”
For some students, including Erin Al Zaher, it takes time to come to the realization that marriage at a young age isn’t always a negative thing.
“It’s kind of interesting because even like a couple of years ago, I would’ve thought that I was too young,” Erin Al Zaher said. “Then you meet that one person, and you just kind of know. It just feels right.”
Anne Becken can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.