I have a routine that I do my best to follow every morning. I get up, chug a glass of water, brush my teeth, take five minutes to meditate and then I check my social media to see if anything extraordinary happened during my slumber. However, as of late an extra step has been added to my morning routine as I scroll through Facebook. It’s as if each day, another childhood bestie or high school acquaintance is tying the knot. It’s an epidemic. What happened to sewing your wild oats and experiencing life for yourself? At first, I thought it was just a handful of the ultra-religious lovebirds that wanted to have sex without pissing off the big man upstairs. Yet, I can now see that it goes way beyond this theory.

Going to college and moving out provides young people with a brand new taste of freedom that they have never experienced. It is supposed to be new, exhilarating and liberating. That is why it is nearly impossible for me to wrap my mind around the idea that so many young couples are willing to give up that freedom and independence so quickly. Our twenties are supposed to be the years that we spend focusing on ourselves. We should be focusing on bettering ourselves and becoming self-sufficient. Being established is a huge portion of being stable and secure, which are two major characteristics necessary for maintaining any healthy relationship. Apart from just being able to stand on one’s own, it is imperative that a person truly knows who they really are. Freedom and independence both allow for a person to explore themselves in ways that they never could before. You are free from parental influence and pressure that originally shaped you as a person in your youth. You are finally at will to express yourself and live a life that revolves strictly around you and no one else. You are not responsible for anyone other than you and your needs. It is probably the only time in your life that you get to be completely selfish. This is a luxury that goes away indefinitely after one makes the decision to settle down.

Besides just ruining one’s youth, this surge of young marriages is making a mockery of the true meaning of matrimony. It seems that over the years, marriage has gone from being about making a lifetime commitment to making a trendy Pinterest board come to life. Due to rises in use of social media, it seems as though there are legitimate bride wars occurring on Instagram and Facebook, revolving around who made the trendiest marriage hash tag or who got the biggest rock. Speaking of the rock, I would really love to know how a 21-year-old senior in college is able to afford a diamond ring. The answer, I’m assuming, is that they can’t. There is no way that a college student can afford a 2.5 carat diamond ring without the help of mommy and daddy. Why in the hell are you getting married if you can’t even afford to pay for your own rent, let alone an engagement ring? Better yet, why in the hell are parents OK with paying for their 21-year-old child’s engagement ring? If you are not in a position to be completely financially independent, what makes you think that you’re in any position to make a lifetime commitment? A marriage is meant to be serious, and it carries some of the most difficult trials in the world. Not only are you forever bound to one person sexually and romantically, but you also now take on all of the struggle and strife that your partner carries. If you are not yet equipped to handle everything thrown at you in your own life, how can you expect to be a stable support system and take care of someone else?

While everyone becomes an adult at 18, being an adult does not automatically qualify you for marriage. There are so many other characteristics needed in order for someone to be ready for a commitment as big as marriage. These characteristics can only be acquired through time and life experience. Marriage and commitment will all come in time. So, start focusing on getting your Bachelor’s Degree rather than your Mrs. Degree.