by Tatyana Breitkruez 

Tatyana Breitkreuz is a senior public relations and communication studies major from Waterloo, Iowa (photo courtesy of Tatyana Breitkreuz).

Tatyana Breitkreuz is a senior public relations and communication studies major from Waterloo, Iowa (photo courtesy of Tatyana Breitkreuz).

People are everywhere. Relationships are everywhere. That’s just how the world works. It’s not uncommon to find yourself surrounded by more people in a relationship than not, and that isn’t an easy thing for some people to deal with day in and day out.

I’ve been around those in relationships since middle school, and I’ve been pressured to be in a relationship since high school.

The first boy who ever liked me was in second grade. He was one of my best friends at the time, and Valentine’s Day was approaching. Yes, we played with each other at recess almost every day, but I wasn’t expecting a valentine with “xoxoxoxoxo” inside. Of course, the average eight-year-old isn’t thinking of beginning a relationship with anyone, but for me, it was a point where I realized that some people “work” better with me than others, this being one aspect of a relationship.

High school wasn’t any easier, considering my parents advice to me hit on the idea that high schoolers probably weren’t old enough to be dating. My youth group leaders, in addition, would add that guys’ brains don’t fully develop until the age of 26, but they didn’t need to verbalize that because their theory was tested and proven each and every Sunday night. I was a independent young lady at this time, so dating guys was not on my mind, but rather sports, music, a few girlfriends, and of course, sleep.

Stepping into the college dorms was a shock from day one. More students than I ever imagined who were single on the first day found themselves in a relationship within a couple weeks, being swept away by that perfect soulmate that could’ve only been a ‘God-thing’ and the freedom of being a college student.

For me, the possibilities were exciting, but I continued to remind myself that I should never assume that my future spouse could only be found on a 107-acre university campus. I refused to be brainwashed into thinking that if he’s not found after four years, then clearly this is a fault on my part and I will die as a lonely cat woman. This isn’t to say that I didn’t go on a few dates or become interested in a few guys here and there from college, but I didn’t limit myself to just the 800 male students on campus. I don’t think anyone should. To me, Justin Bieber appeared to know more about life than the average private Christian college student when he acknowledges in his song, “As Long as You Love Me,” that there are “seven billion people in the world tryna fit in.” Sure, go ahead and say that if you remove women, that only leaves you with approximately 3.5 million men, but I still think that outweighs 800 measly college students.

There was a 50/50 chance that I would end up dating someone on-campus, and I ended up not. Does this disappoint me? No, not in the slightest. Christian college campus, in my experience, often pressure students to find their life partner, their spouse, on campus simply because their morals and values will be just like yours. First of all, this is far from the truth, because within our campus’ core teaching, Christianity and the Bible, there are differing views and perspectives and upbringings. Alone with this, it’s healthy and important to have similar values within a relationship, but as we all know, every person was made differently, and with that comes different interests, personalities, preferences in a spouse and goals for the future. Relationships are not as easy as two Christians ready to date and get married.

Simply living life day-by-day will open you up to a variety of qualities you can stash away in a pocket to pull out for later when you’re determining what you want in a spouse. So enjoy life and don’t let other’s expectations or experiences completely influence your own because your journey is unique to you, just like theirs is to them.

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