Jokes abound about Northwestern’s tendency for being Cupid’s playground, and NW has enough engaged couples on campus to maintain this reputation. Yet, while the reality that follows the campus courtship and ensuing engagement is rarely discussed, approximately 35 NW students are balancing the challenges and fun of college with the challenges and fun of marriage.
The benefits of being married before completing college are clear. “We prefer to live off campus, and we can be with each other whenever we desire. Plus, we are on our own journey with someone by our side,” said Emily and Jesse Moret, NW seniors who were married last summer.
Emily and Andy Norris, also NW seniors who were married last summer, enjoy having the NW community nearby. “We really wanted to spend our first year of marriage in a familiar community where we could be supported by friends and family.”
As is the always the case, struggles come along with the advantages. The inherently busy schedule of college students doesn’t always mesh well with real-world living. “I have to go to school full time, do homework and work my part time job when I would rather just have a full time job like my husband,” said Jennifer Vermeer, a NW senior marriedto Michael Vermeer last winter. “Schedules don’t always match up the greatest because I have to be in class during the day and he sometimes works at night so we don’t get to see each other as much.”
Due to the effort of finding enough time for one another, married students have added pressure to manage time well. However, for some this does not always translate to the outcomes most professors would hope. Norris said, “I’m not quite sure if our time management skills have improved all that much, but we sure have gotten good at ignoring upcoming tests and papers in order to spend more time with one another.”
These couples are also pushed to find ways to adapt to starting a marriage while still being a part of the campus community. “Maintaining deep relationships with our friends definitely takes more effort than in the past,” said Norris. The Morets make sure to take steps to stay connected. “We go to athletic events, invite friends to come over and participate in intramurals.”
The married NW population may be living under different circumstances, but the ideals they live by remain the same. As Norris said, “We truly feel that being able to share our lives with one another has allowed us to experience God in new ways and better understand what it means to love and serve.”