If you went to a Christian college, you may be familiar with this term ‘ring by spring…or your money back.’ From my Christian undergraduate experience, I am very familiar the expectation of “ring by spring” which is introduced early on in the Christian undergraduate experience. For me, it was during the first week of orientation when the guy on the microphone leading the icebreakers announced, “Look at the person standing next to you, you never know, but they may become your future spouse!” Of course, as nervous freshmen we laughed it off, but deep down we all knew the clock was now ticking to find “the one.” The phrase “ring by spring” is of course Biblical in that our great commission is to find our hot godly spouse in the context of Christian higher education in order to then help populate the earth.
There are many ways this can be accomplished in the four years that you have while attending a Christian university, and I have taken the time to define some terms and steps that are often used in the process:
- Ring Check: Check to see if he is wearing a ring. If so, is it a wedding ring? Or a purity ring? The ring details are important in if or how to proceed.
- Dating Sabbatical: If you find a potential significant other and they tell you September that they are on a dating sabbatical, this may be a way to test your commitment. It essentially tests the other’s willingness to wait for them while they embark on a spiritual journey which called them to put dating on hold until January 1st. (This type of relationship is for the spiritually strong, and it is recommended to fast and pray before to make sure that you can indeed be patient until January 1st rolls around.)
- Chapel Dates: Going to chapel together as a first date is a great way to gauge the spiritual maturity of your potential partner. Look for things like: Does he go so often that he has a regular seat? Does he close his eyes when he worships? Did he bring a Bible AND a prayer journal? And does he take you to coffee after chapel to then discuss what you both learned after the message and how you can live it out? On that last one, chances are you called your mom after and asked her to start praying that Jake is really “the one.”
- Caf Dates: This is an inexpensive way to use your campus dining meal plan to go to the cafeteria and break bread together. It is an economical way to help see your potential spouse in a social context as well as get feedback from your friends after on if he is “the one.”
- Play Guitar: If you are a male attending a Christian university, then it was also part of the admission’s process that you know how to play acoustic guitar. Use this skill to your advantage and play worship songs on the lawn in front of Trinity hall. You will have no problem attracting a potential spouse.
- DTR (defining the relationship): There comes a time when you have to have that conversation that changes everything and defines the relationship. Typically it goes something like this, “So Brittany, we’ve been going on several Chapel and Caf dates now, and I think it’s time to take our friendship to the next level by becoming an official couple.” Once the agreement has been made and details discussed, it is the acceptable to go online and also make it “Facebook Official” or FBO. ( A caution to all: the DTR term can also be confused with “Del Taco Run,” so you may want to really clarify which DTR it is before you proceed with any commitment conversations as to avoid a potentially awkward situation.)
- MRS Degree: If you are graduating in the Spring of your Senior year, and he placed a rock on your finger and thus made a commitment to marriage, congratulations! You are able to grab that diploma and know that not only did you get that Bachelor’s of Arts degree, but you’ve received your MRS. Degree as well. (Tip: If this did not happen in your collegiate career timeline, you can always defer your graduation and go for a double major; there are always new transfer or graduate students as well.)
(And in case you are wondering, I did not get my MRS degree, and I ended up continuing my education, not to try round two of ‘ring by spring,’ but instead graduate with an Ms. in front of my name and an M.S. behind my name. Booyah!)
Have you ever felt the pressure to find your spouse in college?
I’m a single girl attending a Christian university, and there’s so much pressure! It’s one of first questions people in my hometown ask when I visit, and all my dating friends are watching like hawks for me to show signs of interest in any male student. I really appreciate your take on this, and your acknowledgement of the ridiculousness of this part of Christian college culture. The expectation that girls should “snap up a guy” before graduation often seems to imply that if you’re single, you’re not quite a whole person–and that’s something I certainly haven’t found in the Bible!
I love this post, because it’s truth in humor–I’m a senior at a Christian college, and there has been a spate of people getting engaged lately.
…To me, it’s kind of baffling. Granted, I’ve never been on a date in my nearly-four-years because, well, why would I want to? But so many people getting married before or right after they graduate–in my mind that’s just another layer (or five) of things to stress you out, things to do.
Also, …graduate with an Ms. in front of my name and an M.S. behind my name is one of the most awesome things I’ve ever read, and makes me want to get an MS just to be able to say that.