It is not an altogether rare thing to be married while enrolled in school. In fact, with the continuing rise of distance and online education and adults returning to school, it’s an increasingly common thing.
While it might be easy to think that marriage is a hindrance and/or obstacle for students, studies have actually shown that it can be a benefit. That married students often actually come out ahead of single students.
The logic begins to emerge when you really stop to think about it. Being married often means more stability and routine in your habits. You might have a little extra drive to succeed for your spouse and family. If you’ve married well, you also have a solid homework accountability partner in your spouse.
So I should really be writing a post about how to survive as a single student. However, I was only single for one semester of my college experience so I’ll leave that post to someone else.
As awesome as both marriage and higher education can be, here are some things to know about combining the two.
1. You Stay Home More Often
How others think you feel:
How you actually feel:
Even if you do feel a little less like Confession Bear and a little more like Stir Crazy Kitten, the stability and routine of marriage can really be a boon for your educational success. As mentioned above, there was only one semester of my college experience where I was not married. But I was already engaged and (my wife and I really weren’t big fans of the “Wait Until Your Twenty-Eight” marriage plan) my grades were always great.
Sure, that could be partially due to the fact that I am a (unconfirmed) genius, but I also like to think it had something to do with the fact that I hung around the house more often instead of procrastinating with my friends.
I can’t prove causality here via science (if I could I wouldn’t need the memes), as a lot of single people do great in college too. But I can say that, as distracting as an attractive spouse can be, being married is not a hindrance to your commitment to scholastic success. For me, it was a huge blessing for many reasons. One of them being…
2. You Have Someone Counting On You to Not to Fail
How your spouse says it:
How you hear it:
If ever you need motivation to accomplish goals in life, being married is great for providing some hardcore motivation.
Single students have no one to impress but themselves (because, yeah, we don’t want to hear about how you did better than us on the last test), but married students have to think about what failure means not just for their own future, but for their spouse’s future.
It can be a sobering thought if you’re the anxious type, but it’s also a pretty epic reason to go above and beyond in your pursuit of academic success. You can set up celebrations for good grades and milestones (like what you get if you make the Dean’s List) as you revel in the fact that you are one step closer to making total bank for yourself and your family.
It’s okay even if you aren’t feeling particularly motivated by the prospect of helping provide for your spouse and your family because…
3. You Have Someone to Watch Over Your Shoulder
How you see it:
How your spouse actually puts it:
There are moments in a student’s life when, even when they have the proper motivation, it can be difficult to drive through the muck of the school year. Assignments pile up. DVRs back up. Fantasy football rosters need updating. Pizza needs to be eaten (and you can’t use your nice computer when your fingers are greasy). Video games need to be reviewed.
Okay, so maybe that last one was just me. (Jealous?)
The point is that there are times where it can all feel like a bit much. Times when it is way easier to push your assignments away in favor of the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory (or three dozen). Times when your bed holds you ever more snugly in its warm, slumber-y embrace.
Times when you need someone to smack some sense into you. Someone like your loving, committed, not-afraid-to-bring-the-figurative-pain spouse.
Being married ought not to be seen as a hindrance for getting back into school. If anything, it should be looked at as an advantage. A superpower of sorts, if you will. (And I will.) There’s something about doing life together with others that is incredibly special, and that goes double for being able to do life—including school—with your spouse.