We're engaged! The science behind 'ring by spring'


You’re scrolling through Instagram, seeing pictures of funny cats, stylish coffees, and oh, another engagement ring. Does which make four friends now? Five? As numerous friends because the number of carats in that ring?

It’s simple to lose track. I understand I have. Since February alone I’ve watched six of my friends get engagedand five more are intending to be concerned by June. That’s 11 friends in Six months. ELEVEN FRIENDS.

So it leaves me to wonder: Is ring by spring still anything? And if so, is it this is the result of attending a Christian university? Or are there other motivations behind getting engaged before you graduate?

Curious, I turned to several experts across the country.

For those who browse the above paragraph and wondered, “Exactly what the h*ll is ring by spring?” Allow me to offer some clarification.

Ring by spring is the (arguably 13th century) notion of college senior couples getting engaged between your months of January and June, thinking their next thing after a diploma is a marriage license.

Urban Dictionary adds some delightful context:

“Chastity, if I don’t get my ring by spring, the $100,000 I spent to visit this school will be a total waste!”

When people are still unclear of what I’m talking about, I simply show them this picture:

That pretty much sums it up.

Looking at American social trends because the 1960s, the median marriage age has increased, with women’s marriage age increasing from 20 to 24 years of age and men increasing from 22 to 28 years old.

Studying this rise in age, America’s historical cultural changes only have spurred this difference. For many researchers, like Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, PhD, a psychologist staring at the ring by spring phenomenon, the brand new age trend comes not only from an increase in the amount of young people who attend college, thus deferring their transition up, but also from cultural alterations in views towards sexuality and women’s rights.

“Moreover, women now make up a majority of college undergraduates, and lots of want to build a career before they marry and have children,” said Arnett. He is constantly on the link this transformation with the development of the contraception pill. “Decades ago, young adults got married rather then face the potential risks of being pregnant outside marriage. Now, sexual relationships outside of marriage are known as natural by a lot of.”

Don’t think it’s culture alone-the economy also leads to this engaging season. And that we can all blame (you guessed it, graduating seniors): student education loans.

Melanie Stanley-Soulen, a licensed professional counselor for premarital young couples, especially took note of the trend. “It’s diverse from it had been 10-20 years back,” she said. “If something doesn’t happen with this student loan programs, couples will continue to merely cohabit-Before it had been considered somewhat taboo, but people understand it’s necessary now, especially with the speed of divorce.”

Let’s compare the 2 costs: the imminent wedding costs of today, where The Knot, a notable wedding event planning company, finds the American cost of a wedding averages around almost $29,858, and the average education loan debt is settling around $29,400. Because of the numbers, it’s understandable why students could be reluctant to basically double their debt and stress about whenever they can repay it.

With all the points of how ring by spring has declined in the last 50 years, you would have it as if ring by spring is on its way from the chapel doors. But then how come engagement and proposal photos of college seniors continuing to appear after i refresh my feed?

There might be cultural explanations why ring by spring might be disappearing, but there’s still reasons that it’s here to stay. Why some college students may see it more than others can connect with the college in which they attend. While most all schools, private and public, have come across ring by spring a minimum of to some degree, private Christian universities hold it as a more prominent tradition surrounding their values about marriage-a reason that explains the elevated number of relationship status changes from February to June.

Charlie D. Pruett, PhD., associate professor of Gerontology and Summary of Sociology professor at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas, and director from the Pruett Gerontology Center, felt exactly the same at his university.

“My thought is that ring by spring (RBS) is really a phenomenon recognized to Christian universities,” Pruett said. He is constantly on the believe that it is a “social behavior brought in to the universities and exercise by subgroups within the universities and never officially promoted through the institution.”

While the modification in culture is much more accepting towards sexual relationships outside of marriage, the Christian subcultures at private universities hold marriage as an important value. Pruett’s Summary of Sociology class felt similar, continuing to say that while ring by spring may not have a spiritual motivation, there is a powerful religious motivation to getting married.

“My observation is the fact that [RBS] has turned into a value and norm of the social clubs at ACU,” Pruett continued. “Each new cohort that enters the clubs goes through a socialization process that transfers the values and norms to the next.”

Students around ACU feel the same manner, noting in Pruett’s class that many of their friends at state universities did not know about RBS, while friends at other Christian universities discover the practice running under way. As they age, his students reported that friends and social club members ask them, “so when are you getting engaged?” Include that towards the listing of questions that stress seniors out together with “what are you planning on doing after college?” and, “where are you going to live when you turn the tassel?” And also to those who are seniors and reading these questions, sorry about the stressful reminders-

USA Today also highlights that military deployment may have a element in it.

“During my first week of my senior fall semester, I got a call from my then-fiance saying they got orders to Hawaii,” said Kaydi Carrington, a senior at Bowling Green State University.

So, what did they do? Increased their date for the wedding and made it happen.

“The planning would be a little stressful,” Carrington said. “But honestly, I was so focused on dealing with marry my best friend, which i am happy and remained semi worry-free.”

For anyone who has existed the ring by spring phenomenon, it’s not hard to see how it’s both its good sides and bad sides.

“From a practical perspective, the practice is functional since it does promote marriage, which is a good for individuals, churches, and families,” Pruett stated.

Pruett might not visit a decline happening for ring by spring anytime soon to match the national marriage decline, and warns about the risks associated with ring by spring, stating that “it could promote weakened marriages due to an unhealthy motivation for marriage,” as well as “promote lower self-worth among folks who suffer from ‘failed’ to offer the social value of success when RBS isn’t achieved.”

So whether you hear wedding bells or the bell towers at graduation, know that it’s okay whatever relationship path you select. While ring by spring can be a thing at private Christian universities, it doesn’t mean anything. Say your congratulations towards the happy couple, and scroll on past their photo, my friend. Scroll on.