Discerning marriage.......working out the details


#1

Are any of you discerning marriage? Once you realize you are called to marry a particular person, how much do you try to have set up before getting married? What is an acceptable amount of time to wait?


#2

However much time it takes for both parties to fully comprehend the meaning of ‘sacramental marriage’ so that when they say their "I do"s they know what they’re committing to…that the bond is permanent on this earth.


#3

If that is taken care of, how long should you wait or how much should you have prepared, i.e. finances, house, school, etc? I guess this my man brain taking over. I want to be prepared but I don’t think waiting for years would be good either. Make sense?

Thanks for the advice, btw :).


#4

Material preparation is secondary to emotional/spiritual preparation.
When you both have the spiritual committment down then God provides the rest, He really does.

Yes, you will want a good foundation from which God can shower His blessings upon your household, so I do understand the question.

So, in practical terms, what you really need is a foundation of security to offer this woman.

Your role as spiritual and physical head of the household is to make sure you have a roof over your heads, there is food on the table and medical needs can be met. You invite this woman to enter into this permanent relationship with you, assuring her you will always take care of the her physical, emotional and spiritual needs. When she’s happy and fulfilled, secure, she will in turn give to you everything she has to offer willingly and lovingly, physically, emotionally and spiritually, in thanksgiving to God for bringing you into her life.

There is no clear cut formula for adequate material preparation. Some people can marry while still in college. Some can marry without going to college at all. Some marry with a huge savings accounts built up, others marry with only the money in they pockets. I would suggest the bare minimum requirement is a stable source of income which will sustain the household from Part A of their long-term goals to Part B and then have a Part C to shoot for from Part B, and so on.

The key is not what you have going into the marriage as much as it is how well you communicate shared goals and develop concrete plans by which the two of you can reach those goals - of course, making sure any plans you come up are **based upon your discernment of God’s will **for your marriage.

Does that help?


#5

My boyfriend and I are going through the same thing right now. I posted elsewhere on these forums… “married while in college?”

My gut is really saying that God does everything for a reason–there’s a reason He brings people together when he does. He doesn’t operate on our timetable. Yes, there are things that need to be taken care of, as far as schooling and finances… things we’re in the process of working out. And it’s good to have plans–but honestly, it’s all up to God, and he probably sits back and laughs at our plans sometimes…and then shows us the better way :wink:

Just to kind of vaguely answer your question-- you need to work out the basics. Where would you live, how would you support yourselves, what would happen if junior came along, etc. Some will tell you that you need to be more financially established than others (debt going into marriage is a big contributor to divorce), but I think that as long as you have enough money to support yourselves (the necessities–food, shelter, non-extravagant clothing, health/car insurance, etc.), are saving a bit for the future, and have a plan in place for the future.

I’m still questioning the financial thing myself–my boyfriend and I are contemplating marriage after our junior years. We’ll both definitely graduate, and I’ll work after graduation while he (hopefully) goes to grad school.

But you’re definitely right that waiting for a long time to get married isn’t a good thing. I’ve always been advised against long engagements, not only because temptations against chastity would basically be unavoidable, but because relationships progress in a certain way, and they reach a point that it’s either time to “take it to the next level” or say goodbye.


#6

Thanks YingYangMom and Rach620! Your advice is very helpful! Keep it comming! :thumbsup:


#7

You’re welcome.
What else do you want to know?


#8

I’ll have to get back to you…need to be working now.

I also think that I need to sit down and have a “planning” meeting with my gf as far as our individual plans for the future and how to make them work together, how we can compromise to make that work together, how soon to be married, etc. We have only recently begun to discuss marriage so these things need to be worked out (guys make game plans, im still trying to figure out exactly how the female mind operates) .

This week we plan on meeting with an awesome and holy deacon at our parish to discuss the future. We could definitely use prayers and grace for this meeting too.

Thanks! :o


#9

Just make sure you understand what you are saying “yes” to…the marriage bond once properly enjoined is entirely unbreakable this side of death. Personally I was lucky to have believed this or I would have been divorced several times over.

Dr Smith (of the tape “Contraception, Why Not”) has a bet she places with her students; if they will tithe, follow the churches teaching on sex, and go to church regularly they will not have any appreciable chance of divorce. She says "if you get money, sex and religion down… the rest is easy) [paraphrase].


#10

A gateway into the female mind–we’re not all emotional, we like planning too! (or, at least I do ;)) It makes it real to work through things and discover that they are do-able.

Our first serious planning conversation took place in one heck of a car ride all around the suburbs near my house–and I couldn’t stop saying “This can really work! It’s so possible…!!”

Best of luck to you, you’re in my prayers!

And it is great to have such a forum here, with other people in similar situations with a similar outlook on life–whose responses are much deeper and more helpful than surface shock that a 20-year-old could be thinking of such a thing :wink:


#11

Rach620,

You’re on the right track and I have faith the decision you and your BF reach will be the correct one because the two of you are looking to God for direction and discernment.

That you and he are looking into the logistics of marriage, not only in the short term but also the long term is the right start.

One piece of advice I have for you, however, is to not easily dismiss the concerns of your loved ones should they raise any about 20 years olds getting married.

While you are doing the best you can to foresee into the future and map out your course, you cannot anticipate all things. However, those of us who’ve been through it already know about roadblocks they never anticipated and so they will suggest your considering some of those.

They are trying to help you plan more than they are trying to talk you out of your decision. Listen respectfully. Thank them for their input. Then talk about it between the two of you. What you decide, you decide. But at least you can’t say you never considered A, B or C.

My prayers are with you and your BF as you continue to discern God’s will for you.


#12

Thanks! Yeah I think that first conversation is the most difficult, apprehensive, yet exciting. Saying it all out loud makes it real, like “this is really happening”. I guess as a man who has been quite guarded in the past it is a bit scary to actually verbalize these things and begin planning. What can I say though. God is good and His grace is sufficient.

Praise Him! :bowdown:


#13

esclavo, when God is ready, He talks big! I’ve been in a relationship for 4 years and in just the past 6 months, I have landed a big job, he has landed a big job, a new apartment, we are both out of school-debt, both going to the same school that we wanted to go to originally, etc etc.

All the time before this, things seemed impossible. Then we just stop worrying about it and focus on enjoying our relationship and spending time with God, without worrying over money and babies and wedding dates. Then wham! Our finances literally quadrupled.

I am still in shock.

Talk about neon signs! Although even on the tailend of all this, I also have another twist which I already started a thread on… :frowning: Topsy turvy lifestyle, these days!


#14

It’s incredible how God works that way… God is good! Thanks for sharing your experience. I find it very encouraging.


#15

I know that once you are engaged, the couple attends 6 months of marriage prep at their parish. However, I am wondering if there are any resources for “pre-engagement” that could evaluate your relationship to see if engagement would be a good idea. I know how much our vision can be clouded when we are in love and it would be great to see if there is any type of objective evaluation.

Thanks.


#16

I am just curious as to how long you had been dating before you started talking openly about marriage. My bf and I have been together almost 5 mos. We share faith, morals, sense of humor, etc. We go to adoration together every week as well as Mass and have lots of good, deep conversations together…and it’s interesting b/c we talk a lot about our futures and I know we’re both thinking about each other being together (okay well, I know I am at least) but we never come out and say “when we’re married” or “when we have kids” or anything that directly implies we’ll be together. It’s always “I” instead of “we”.

Is it something the guy usually brings up first?

Another thing…we haven’t said those three words to each other yet and so I’m probably just getting way ahead of myself. I am pretty sure I love him though. Should I tell him? Or wait? Is 5 months too early to know that? I don’t know. I know love goes deeper than just feelings, and maybe we haven’t been together long enough for me to know that for sure.

Just curious as to your experiences/opinions… this is my first serious relationship (not to mention Catholic) so everything is new and kinda crazy sometimes… :slight_smile: (but good!)

God bless.


#17

My girlfriend and I have been “offficially” courting for 5 months as well.

We share faith, morals, sense of humor, etc. We go to adoration together every week as well as Mass and have lots of good, deep conversations together…and it’s interesting b/c we talk a lot about our futures and I know we’re both thinking about each other being together (okay well, I know I am at least) but we never come out and say “when we’re married” or “when we have kids” or anything that directly implies we’ll be together. It’s always “I” instead of “we”.

Is it something the guy usually brings up first?

I would say yes to this. It is a part of what a man does. However, nothing is stopping you from “hinting” around. “So…where do you see this relationship leading to?” “Could you see this turning into a more permanent relationship?” “Where do you see yourself when you get married”

Another thing…we haven’t said those three words to each other yet and so I’m probably just getting way ahead of myself. I am pretty sure I love him though. Should I tell him? Or wait? Is 5 months too early to know that? I don’t know. I know love goes deeper than just feelings, and maybe we haven’t been together long enough for me to know that for sure.

Being the man in the relationship it is different for me. I have some really awesome holy guy friends (single and married) who have given me good advice this whole time. I told my gf 3 months into our courtship that I love her. It all depends on the relationship. If you were the guy I’d say “tell her”. However, hmmmmm, from a guys point of view, I would say that you should let him tell you those “three words” first. IMHO

Just curious as to your experiences/opinions… this is my first serious relationship (not to mention Catholic) so everything is new and kinda crazy sometimes… :slight_smile: (but good!)

Me too! God willing one day you and your bf will be married. Keep seeking out the way and know that God will guide you! :slight_smile:

God bless.

Added Note:

If you have not, I suggest you read a book called “Christain Courtship in an Oversexed World”. You can read about it here on the author’s website cfalive.org/ccourtship2.htm and I’m sure you can get it used online cheap somewhere. I also suggest “the abc’s of choosing a good husband” familylifecenter.net/cart/product_detail.cfm?ID=286. Both books would answer questions like the one you asked in your post. However, remember that for a lot of these questions there is not 1 right answer. It varies depending upon the maturity level and other factors within the relationship. As with any realationship, good counsel from a priest, sister, brother or holy lay person, both individually and as a couple is highly recommended.

[sign]God is good![/sign]


#18

Sorry I don’t have time to read all the postings here right now, but I wanted to respond to this. When I was deciding when would be the right time to have a child, my friend Helen gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever received:

There will never be enough time.
There will never be enough money.
And you will never be ready.

If the two of you recognize God’s hand in your relationship and God’s call to marriage, let God handle what you are to eat, what you are to drink, what you are to wear and all the rest. Be at peace and celebrate God’s gift to you.

Gertie
:gopray:
Nada te turbe, nada te espante. Todo se pasa. Dios no se muda.
Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you. All things pass away. God never changes.


#19

My dh waited to propose until he was financially stable - it was important to him that he have a career, not just any job. He is definitely the cautious type though. I think you and your gf need to know what your plans are once you have children. Is the plan for her to stay home with children, or do you already anticipate that this will be impossible? If you are planning on her being home with the kids, then it makes sense to wait a reasonable amount of time until that would be possible. When I got married, my dh had his career. I was working too, and was hoping to work until I could pay off some loans before quitting my job. I was also postponing pregnancy until that point (not that I’m recommending that decision, but it is what we did). It worked out to be 2 years, but if I had gotten pregnant on my honeymoon, I would have been able to quit my job then and be home with my baby. So I’m not saying you should wait until things are perfect, but rather wait until you can be reasonably sure that you will be able to manage.

When you are postponing marriage/children due to financial reasons, it helps to have a definite timetable. If all you say is “when things are better financially, THEN we’ll…” then like the above poster mentioned, things may never be “good enough” and you may wait forever. But if you can say something like, “I’m going to spend the next 2 years working really hard at getting out of debt/getting a stable job (etc.), and to do it I’m going to follow these steps…” then waiting that amount of time could be a very responsible thing to do. If when you look at your life, you see no end in sight of the type of financial difficulties that would make it almost impossible to provide for a family, then you probably should re-evaluate either your lifestyle, your career decisions, or your vocation.

May God bless your discernment.
TKC


#20

I just wanted to give you an opportunity to listen to a CD that I just listened to on marriage and the Eucharist. It was an eye opener for me on marriage and the sexual union. A must for all those married and even more benefial to those getting ready to be wedd. It is free by the way through www.catholicity.com. It is by the Mary Foundation and the talk is by Christophew West and he uses Pope JP II’s theology of the body to explain Marriage and the Eucharist.

You will be in my prayers while you discern. You are getting some good advice here.


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