Spotlight: Senior marries, disregards societal expectations

Senior Peter Donlon recently took the plunge and tied the knot. Married on Oct. 25, he and his wife Rebekah Donlon—who is currently a student at a local community college—are admittedly still in the honeymoon phase, but confidently assert that even when they move on to the next stage of marriage, they won’t waver in their covenant despite their young ages.

Committing to marriage in one’s undergraduate years may seem premature or illogical to many, as it is fairly uncommon in today’s culture, but Peter Donlon stresses that disregarding societal guidelines is imperative to making the right decisions for one’s self and as a couple.

“Society really does dictate that people should only get married after they’ve been through college and have good careers, and I don’t want to discredit that approach, but it’s not the right path for everyone,” Peter Donlon said. “Couples should consider their own unique situations and act on what they believe is best for them regardless of outside pressure.”

Friends for about a year and a half before entering into a relationship, Peter and Rebekah Donlon were emotionally in tune with one another right from the beginning. After some issues in her family life, Rebekah Donlon was going to move in with a friend but the plans fell through. Peter Donlon and his immediate family were there for her and welcomed her into their home. While this development was not itself a factor in their decision to marry, Peter Donlon noted that it played a major role in allowing them to realize their compatibility.

Both of the Messianic Christian faith, the pair explained that religion did play a role in their choice to marry, but was not a primary motive. “Being Christian and living with someone before marriage is of course a unique situation—there’s definitely that struggle of wanting to be close to someone when, Biblically, you’re not really supposed to be,” Donlon said. “Our faith was just part of the whole decision though, a decision that was ultimately right for us in all aspects.”

The couple is also lucky enough to have the support of family and friends—something not all young newlyweds would receive. “Everyone has been pretty supportive. At first, there was definitely a lot of hesitancy about it and people asked if we were ready for it and things like that, but overall, we received a lot of support and positive responses,” Peter Donlon said. He also highlighted the fact that he knows other couples that married young and have been successful in wedlock.

A communication major on the personal and professional track, Peter Donlon stressed that communication is key not only in maintaining a healthy relationship, but also in making decisions together as a couple—including the decision to marry. He emphasized that he and Rebekah Donlon discussed the life-altering step extensively, covering all necessary topics about their needs and desires for the future.

“It’s important to talk about future expectations such as if you want kids, a big or small family, where you want to live and other topics like that,” Peter Donlon said. He explained that they are in tune with one another in this respect. They both want to travel after they finish school and both hope to eventually move to the south, possibly Florida.

Peter Donlon and his wife are dedicated not only to their educations, but also to working and saving money. Both employed by Atria Senior Living, they have learned to separate work life from personal life. “We motivate each other when we need to and give each other space when we need to,” he said.

Their story may not be run-of-the-mill, but it’s a tale of sincerity. Peter and Rebekah Donlon are steadfast in their certainty that they did what was right for them in their decision to marry young. Resisting the weight of modern cultural norms, they allowed themselves to contemplate all contributing factors and arrive at the conclusion most suitable for their lives and future desires.

“Of course, before I proposed to Rebekah, the thought was in the back of my head that maybe we were too young, but marriage takes work at any age. Neither of us expected to marry young, but we’re happy we did,” Peter Donlon said.

On a lighter note, he joked, “Advice for anyone choosing to tie the knot: Make sure the rings fit right!”