Two students at The University of Southern Mississippi will be featured on the reality show “Too Young to Marry?” when it premiers Sept.11 on the Oxygen channel.
Bradley and Shanice Floore will be the first couple featured in the four-part mini series that focuses on the experiences of younger than average people getting married
Bradley and Shanice got engaged on April 9 2012, and were married the following year on May 17.
“The purpose of [the show] is to highlight some of the struggles that young and engaged couples go through versus older couples,” said Bradley, a sophomore international business major.
While their original plan was to wait until after graduation to marry, the couple decided to cut their engagement short. “Without the show we were going to get married no matter what,” Bradley said. “With Oxygen’s support we were able to make our dreams happen sooner.”
“If you have something good going and it makes you happy, and if you just keep putting it off and putting it off, it’s just waiting for an outer source to come in and mess it up,” said Shanice.
In the case of marriage, more people are choosing to wait. The United States Census Bureau has put the median age of first marriages at 28 for men and 26 for women in 2011.
“When were were dating and having to find time to be together, that was like another job for me,” Shanice said. “Now that we are together, it’s easier…. I don’t have to worry about if I’m going to see Bradley or not, because at the end of the night I’ll know he’ll be there.”
In 2008, 18 percent of college undergraduates were married, according to the National Center of Educational Statistics.
Currently there are 74 families living on the USM campus, both undergraduate and graduate. “Out of all the student populations, they have the highest GPA,” said Vicki Copeland, the assistant director for family and special interest housing.
Copeland said that number is helped by the amount of graduate students within that population, but also believes that those non-traditional students are often more serious.
“We know that we’re busy people… We know we won’t be together every minute of every day,” Bradley said. “We take care of our business and we get to enjoy that every night we get to be together, fall asleep together and wake up together.”
“One of the things we had to deal with was people saying it’s right to get married when you’re older,” Bradley. “They’d say you can’t get married when you’re younger, it’s not going to last.”
From 1990 to 2010 the divorce rate for people between the ages of 15 and 24 has dropped from 4.7 percent to 3.2 percent, according to the National Center for Marriage and Family Research. It has also lowered in 25 to 35 year olds from 3.3 percent to 3 percent.
“It’s not for everybody,” Shanice said. “You have to be at a certain maturity level to be married, honestly.”
“When we think of ourselves it always includes the other person,” Bradley said. It’s not just about ourselves anymore, it’s what’s best for us.”