The epiphany happened early in my teaching career, during a spring semester finals week. As a thank you for being my assistant for several years, I took a graduating senior to lunch, and together we talked about her experience at George Fox University. Even though Rose was a wicked-smart student, an academic success, one of the best assistants I’d ever have, and a talented singer and actor in musical theatre, she admitted during our lunch that she felt like she was graduating a failure. Her reasoning? She hadn’t found ”The One” to whom she could commit life-long marital fidelity.
At that moment, I realized how potent the “ring by spring” mythology can be at many Christian universities, where young people – women especially – assume getting engaged is a true mark of collegiate success. I also recognized, for the first time, that I was not alone: that my own experience at a Christian college was not unlike Rose’s, because I also graduated with a strong sense that there was something wrong with me, since God had not blessed me with a partner who would ostensibly make my life complete. (more…)