Let’s talk about ‘Ring By Spring’ culture

Every kiss begins with Kay, and every proposal starts with LU. Pumpkin spice lattes and apple picking hall events mean the end of hot girl summer and the start of the winter dating season. All of this, of course, is in preparation for the real event of the year: ring by spring.

You’ve seen and probably reposted the TikToks that poke fun at Liberty’s infamous tendency for early engagements. It’s everyone’s favorite Coffeehouse joke and a guaranteed hit on any Christian meme page. Sure, it’s funny, but maybe we need to take a step back and consider what impact the culture we’re cultivating is actually having on us.

I do wonder if the phrase has become more of a joke and less of a reality given that most of my friends are single. Often, I think of the boy I met in my first week of freshman year who told me that he had a ring sitting in his dorm room, and no, he was not currently seeing anyone. I also think of the many girls I have consoled during my time on hall leadership who were heartbroken and confused as to why they hadn’t met “the one” yet.

If your time at Liberty has brought you the man or woman of your dreams, that is amazing, and I am so happy for you. If your time at Liberty has brought you nothing more than a flimsy printout from the photo booth at Speed Dating, please do not assume that you will die alone. Let’s also stop constructing the narrative that a life of singleness is a fate worse than death.

The desire to be fully known and fully loved is a beautiful and innate human desire. But that desire speaks to the already fulfilled promise of God, not to a promise of marriage. We often expect and require things of God that he has not promised to us. 

Our obsession with relationships and the hype around dating is creating a toxic environment where neither couples nor singles can thrive. A girl isn’t positive that she’s going to marry that boy she just met, so she psyches herself out from even saying yes to the first date. A new couple is constantly asked about their plans for the future when they’re just trying to figure out what it looks like to date as an adult.

We equate a first date with a marriage proposal and a two-month long relationship with exchanging vows. There is no space to feel things out with a potential partner without friends picturing what your kids would look like. We are creating both a fear of being alone and a stigma of being in a relationship.

For those who are already in a committed relationship, the pressure and anticipation of engagement cloud boundary lines. Physical, yes, but even more so for emotional and spiritual boundaries – yes, that is a thing. 

We cannot blame “ring by spring culture” for such issues. We are the nurturers and participants of that culture, so we must take the blame.

Liberty, I know we can do better. May we shift our focus from preparing for a spouse to preparing for kingdom advancement. May we not miss an opportunity to become better equipped for the ministry the Lord has prepared for us because we’re caught up in wondering if the CGL from the brother hall is finally going to ask us out. 

A husband or wife may not be what the Lord has for you here. But take comfort, the giver of every good and perfect gift does not work with second-best. Whatever he does have prepared for you, I promise it’s abundantly more than all that you could ask or imagine.

Ginion is an opinion writer for the Liberty Champion

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