Two years ago, Hannah Ruth was an 18-year-old student planning to spend four years at TCU and graduate with a strategic communications degree.
Today, she is Hannah DiStasio, a 20-year-old wife, an online student at Liberty University, Young Life leader, and expecting mom.
Hannah’s freshman year crush ended up becoming her husband.
Chase DiStasio, a senior at the time, first caught Hannah’s eye at church events, but she never expected anything to come of it.
“I was like ‘That guy is good looking,’” Hannah said. “It was like one of those crushes, but I never thought he even knew who I was.”
Eventually he approached her and after a few run-ins, they went on their first date. It was on that date that Hannah said she realized this man might change her life.
“I knew I wanted to marry him since our first date,” Hannah said. “I was like ‘Ok God, this has to be my husband or I’m gonna be single forever because there’s no way there’s another person out there like this.’”
Two weeks later, they were officially dating and a year after that, he surprised her on a mission trip in Belize to pop the question. After a seven month engagement, they were married in a ceremony outside of Fort Worth.
Hannah said despite people’s doubts about their age, she knew she was ready to make the lifelong commitment.
“I think that someone is ready to get married when they’re old enough to understand that the decision they’re making is a lifetime commitment, whether they’re 17…or 35,” Hannah said.
A few months after the wedding, Hannah got a surprise—she was going to be a mother too. The DiStasios are expecting a baby boy next August.
Hannah said that even though things aren’t always easy, she’s happy her marriage gives her the chance to grow up with her husband.
“We’re both still so young and we’re both figuring out what we want to do and who we want to be and what our dreams are,” Hannah said. “It’s so fun to get to be able to do that with him.”
Unlike Hannah, many women are choosing to postpone marriage.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median age for women’s first marriage has increased by almost eight years since 1950,
reaching a height of almost 28 years old.
Sociology professor Dr. Angela Thompson said this trend can be credited to women’s access to alternative options.
“They’re going to college then they’re getting jobs, pursuing careers, and that lends itself to being single, not having the responsibilities to tie you down,” Thompson said.
Junior entrepreneurial management major Sheridan Hauk is one of the women taking advantage of these alternatives .
While she hopes to get married eventually, Hauk said she wants to be financially stable and settled in her career before she considers the option. She also said she looks forward to enjoying her youth without worrying about the responsibilities that come along with marriage.
“What excites me is being able to live through my twenties and enjoy life before I settle down,” Hauk said.
Dr. Thompson said although statistics show more women are prioritizing their education and careers over marriage, DiStasio’s path is still common for some women at TCU, given the school’s religious roots.
“TCU is still a religious institution so there are traditional beliefs and for many people that really is the foundation of their life,” Thompson said.