By Allison Jarboe, Features Editor
Everyone has heard the words “ring by spring,” symbolizing a tendency for the spring semester to leave many couples happily engaged. For some, it stands for what they hope for in college, while for others, it’s just a cliché phrase. But for those at OBU who have recently gotten engaged, their springtime “ring” is more than a humorous expectation or an accomplished goal—it’s the reality of spending the rest of their life with the one they love.
Many have gotten engaged this semester—so many in fact, that any given person may have to use both hands to count the number of close friends who have gotten engaged in the past several weeks. Yet each relationship holds a different story, different timeline of events, and different unfolding of events to bring them to this moment.
Sophomore nursing major Madison Crawford became engaged to her fiancé Micah Lynn, junior Bible major, in January.
“Micah and I met when I was least expecting it,” Crawford said. “I was a senior in high school, completely content with waiting for college to potentially find love, and one day he just appeared out of nowhere.”
Sometimes expectations are completely different from the reality of meeting the one they end up spending the rest of their lives with, whether it involves meeting through church, dating in high school, or some other turn of events.
Crawford was living in Arkansas, where her dad was on staff at Cross Church. Lynn had recently moved from Corpus Christi, Texas to do a yearlong residency internship at Cross Church.
“There was instant chemistry when we met that was undeniable, so it did not take long for us to begin the journey of getting to know each other better,” Crawford said.
Freshman secondary English education major Arielle Heiser met her now fiancé Chase Chastain, freshman communications major, overseas.
“We met my sophomore year of high school on a mission trip with our church to the Dominican Republic,” Heiser said. “We had never talked until that trip but basically grew up right next to each other without even knowing.”
The couple began officially dating about a month after that trip.
Junior Bible major Lauren Buffington and her fiancé, junior business marketing major Conelly Radar, met on OBU’s campus, “in the caf, through mutual friends,” Buffington said.
For some, it doesn’t take long to figure out that they are meant to be with each other.
“I knew I loved him a few weeks into our relationship,” Buffington said. “And it wasn’t too far after that I knew I would marry him.”
For Crawford and Lynn, once their relationship began, it did not take long for them to both realize that they wanted to spend the rest of our lives together.
“As cliché as it sounds, we quickly realized that ‘we complete each other,’” Crawford said. “He is strong where I am weak and vice versa.”
Timing is a big factor in every relationship, whether it is the difficult prospect of waiting, or the riskiness of the unknown.
Crawford explained that there was always the lingering question as to what would happen when she went to college the next August.
“He did not know what his life would look like the next year, so it forced us to be patient and trust the Lord with our relationship,” Crawford said.
One day, a few months into Crawford and Lynn’s relationship, they were discussing what the future would hold.
“I was nervous that we would be forced into a long distance relationship that could potentially crumble, and he said something that instantly gave me peace,” Crawford said. “He said, ‘Madison, I do not know what is going to happen next year, but I want you to know that I am madly in love with you and I plan on marrying you.’ That one sentence gave me peace in knowing that no matter what, we were going to figure it out.”
Crawford shared that the Lord blessed them by providing the ability for them both to be at OBU together where their relationship has flourished all the more.
Timing in relationships is is also something that can run on its own schedule, and differs in each sitatuation.
Although Buffington and Radar knew they loved each other, “we didn’t talk about marriage though until almost a year into our relationship,” Buffington said.
Heiser explained that in her case, her and Chastain knew very quickly that marriage would be in the future.
“He knew way before me,” Heiser said. “He told me he was going to marry me when we had only been dating for 3 months.”
Chastain told Heiser that they were going to get married at 19, and the couple ended up getting engaged at 19.
“He was pretty close,” Hesier said. “I knew he was the one a couple months later.”
She explained that there wasn’t a specific time–she just felt in her heart that “we would be together forever.”
Although those who are engaged can testify that their relationship is worth it, there are challenges that they face when getting engaged in college.
“Dating in college is hard,” Crawford said. “Even more than that, being engaged in college is hard.”
From busy schedules, to limited places to hang out, and limited finances, Crawford and Lynn had to get very creative, very quickly, Crawford said.
“The hardest part about being engaged in college is accepting your busy schedules and being content with doing the simplest things together.”
But the challenges do not outweigh the benefits, Crawford stated.
“Some of our most fun nights together have consisted of us sitting in the lobby of the Lodge and just talking about our days together,” Crawford said. “The limited resources really have allowed us to be content with just being together, whether we are just studying or watching Netflix.”
Buffington said that while she is only recently engaged (over a week ago) and hasn’t experienced any challenges yet, she has a community of support and affirmation.
“It’s been really great to be encouraged by my friends,” she said.
Heiser said that one challenge that some couples face in college engagements is family.
“Sometimes there can be people who are skeptical about the engagement, and some who don’t support you at all,” Hesier shared. “But Chase and I are really blessed to have the majority of our family on board.”
Hesier also explained that from a practical standpoint, marriage housing is something that all engaged couples have to think about. “The list is 8 light-years long,” she said. “But it’s okay. We know the Lord will provide.”
Having recently walked through it themselves, engaged couples have advice to give to those who are in relationships or considering engagement.
Buffington said that getting engaged in college is different for every relationship.
“It works for Connelly and I, but we have been dating for 2 and a half years,” Buffington said.
She shared that her advice to freshman or those young in their relationships, is to wait at least a year or more before getting engaged to someone. She explained that they can really get to know someone so much better after a year and then may “know for a fact that they are the one God has for you.”
Crawford said that one of the benefits of her college engagement is being able to be together in the presence of our friends.
“OBU has such a supportive community of believers,” Crawford said. “And it has been such a blessing to grow in our relationship together while we grow together with our friends, as well as grow in our spiritual lives.”
Along with Crawford’s, Buffington’s, and Heiser’s engagements, other couples have been recently engaged, including Jacob Jolly and Alexis Langham. So for those who are walking through the exciting phases before their marriage, their engagement is more than just a ring. It is a timing that they couldn’t have planned out themselves, but a depth, closeness and future with someone that they wouldn’t give up for anything.
Crawford concluded saying that college has been the best part of her relationship.
“It has forced us to be flexible, and tested our love, but it has really proven our devotedness to each other, and taught us that we truly are meant to be together.”