Ignoring the “Ring By Spring” Pressure

    As a graduate of a Christian college, I was privy to the pressure of “ring by spring”: the need to find your life mate before college graduation. Because college is largely a gathering place of like-minded young people in the same age bracket, marriage is the outcome for many. But “ring by spring” adds a layer of necessity. If you aren’t engaged or in a serious relationship by the time you graduate college—what’s wrong with you?

    Of course, no account is taken for the intensity of study, the type of guys who are available or the desire to perhaps not be married by age 22. The pressure lives on, leaving many young women less thrilled about graduation than they could be and wondering where, if anywhere, they can meet a guy post-college.

    The pressure is real, but so is God’s truth—and it speaks to this situation just as it does to all of life. Here are three things to remember when you’ve had enough of “ring by spring.”


    1. No Two Stories Are the Same

    And you wouldn’t want them to be! Yes, college is a likely place to meet a spouse. But so is your post-college career. So is a new city or a new church or a hiking club you recently joined. If everyone met their spouse at college, this world would be a boring place.

    Your college career may have been precisely the training ground you needed for the place God is taking you. A relationship may have been far more distracting than you anticipated, and could have limited your effectiveness both during college and afterward. Instead of mourning what didn’t happen, think about all that CAN and WILL happen because of your academic dedication. Think of the girlfriends you wouldn’t have (and guy friends, too!). Time spent without a dating relationship is not wasted time. Remember that.


    2. God Is Not Limited by a Specific Timeline

    God is not limited to four years post-high school and pre-career. He doesn’t only work in your life between the ages of 18 and 22. He is sovereign over ALL of your life, including the rest of your 20s, 30s and beyond. As you align yourself with His will, walk in obedience and open yourself up to new relationships, you will meet all kinds of people—one of whom may be your spouse.

    Don’t put God in a box or on a time frame. Let Him work in and around you. Don’t forget—this isn’t just about you, either. Your spouse is still growing, trusting, learning and being molded into a person who can fulfill God’s commission with you. Be faithful in the time you have and let God do His work while you actively wait on Him.


    3. College Is Not the Only Place to Meet People

    College is, in many ways, a bubble. Some people have jobs; some people don’t. The people who do have jobs are usually so busy they can barely date. Those who don’t have jobs live in a form of reality that will no longer exist post-graduation. Study hours are replaced by a daily commute, 8-5 workday, internships or grad school applications. And in the realness of daily life, you just might meet people!

    Just as God is not limited by time, He is not limited by location. If you are walking in His will, serving Him, obeying Him, putting Him first, refusing to idolize marriage and choosing contentment at every opportunity, your eyes will be open to see Him move. You won’t need to fear a ticking clock or a “bad” location. God is bigger than any fear—including the fear of lacking a relationship.

    “Ring by spring” may never go away. But we can learn to confront it head-on. We can speak truth over our hearts and believe God when He says He is both faithful and enough. Because He is! As you trust His words to you, you’ll find a peace that may not always make sense—but that carries you through.

    Phylicia Masonheimer
    Phylicia Masonheimer
    Phylicia Masonheimer is an author and speaker teaching women how to discern what is true, discuss the deep stuff, and accomplish God's will for their specific lives. She holds a B.S. in Religion from Liberty University, where she met her husband, Josh, and now lives in northern Michigan with her two daughters, Adeline and Geneva.


      • Yeah, as soon as I saw “college is largely a gathering place of like-minded young people”, I checked out. Such a false statement. There is nothing but diversity and different views, beliefs, and opinions at university. Unless, you know, you go to a Christian college.

        • Actually, there are a lot of diverse theological views, even on a Christian campus. You may be surprised! 😉

      • There are a lot of people pairing up, but no one pressures you into dating. I’ve plenty of single friends, and plenty of dating friends and acquaintances. The only one who’s remotely pressured me about it is my mother xD I just focus on friendships, academics, and career stuff. And God. I have a friend who’s helped me get closer to Him; she is amazing.

    1. I’ve always thought that this was a tacky idea. To be perfectly honest, I’d rather be proposed near a significant date in our relationship rather than the pressure of “ring by spring”. If the date happens to be significant near or just before spring, oh well but I LOVE the second point about “God is not limited by a specific timeline.” YES PLEASE.

    2. Yes. Thank you.

      Throughout all my years here on campus, my mom’s been pressuring me to find an Engineer or Business Major mate so I won’t be a “poor, starving” writer/editor someday, haha (I look at it this way– I need to lose a few pounds, anyway!). I’ve never, ever dated, and sometimes, it looks as though I never will. But you know what? You’re absolutely right about God’s timing; He really works at His own pace. Look at Abraham and Sarah with Isaac. They waited AGES for a child, and God blessed them with a miracle. So once night, I prayed that God tell me simply: Was I ever going to actually find the right guy and get married, or was I wasting time waiting at all (meaning like Paul, it was not His intent for me to marry). I told Him upright, I don’t want You to say who he is or WHEN (again, being it’s God’s timing), but just yes or no.
      The next day, the very title of my devotion was, “The Answer is Yes.”

      Think that’s a little too coincidental? Initially, I did too for a sec, but then as I read on, it talked about waiting for God’s promises and to not think that we’re unworthy of them. This hit me HARD, because I’m the kinda gal who is VERY down on herself. On one hand, I’m terrified of dating/courting, but on the other hand, if the ideal man of God comes along, single and fruits of the Spirit and all, I honestly think I’m not good enough– I tend to be very selfish, whiny, etc, just like the Israelites. So this pretty much knocked my reaction outta the ballpark in terms of shock, and I knew then God heard me, promising me I would someday meet someone like that, and not to worry about the whole worthiness thing. And come to think on it, He’s right– after all, even though we’re unworthy sinners, Jesus still died for us!

      I’m wondering if I’m going to meet the guy outside of college, though, since I’m about to graduate in a couple weeks…Anyways. Focus on God, not “the one”!

    3. Maybe it’s different in the US but in Kenya rarely do university relationships last past the gate and those that get into serious relationships are usually dating somebody who’s not in campus. So I’m off the hook until I’m working.

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