Long engagement or wait to get engaged?


I am in an awesome courtship with a wonderful woman whom I want to marry. We talk about marriage openly and both want to get married. However, if we get married now (within the year) we will be very poor. Both of us plan on going back to school and while both of us have jobs, neither has a career (she would be going to grad school and I would be going to engineering school). Both of us are leaning towards getting engaged, married next summer and struggling financially for a couple of years while in school. We both live simply and want to live simply so we’ll be happy with just the bare necessities. Logically it would be cheaper to live together (married of course) with one set of bills instead of 2 (as is our current situation). Luckily she has health insurance through her job so if we were to get married and pregnant before graduating school, that would be covered (although we would practice NFP until one of us graduates or we discern God is asking us to stop).

The question that keeps buzzing in my brain is, should we get engaged now not having all the details worked out (school, finances, etc) and possibly have an extended engagement? Or should we wait until after we go through school (for me it would probably be 2 1/2 years)?

Okay these are the ramblings of a guy who is trying to have all details worked out and bases covered (my brain is VERY analytical). I look forward to hearing from the wisdom of those who have gone before me…

Thanks in advance and God bless you all!



A couple questions first:

Your profile says that you’re 25–how old is your girlfriend?

How long have you known each other and been courting?

I just graduated in engineering and will be getting married next summer, so I’ve got some similarities with your situation. :slight_smile:

God bless,

kevinsgirl :love:


My husband asked me to marry him after knowing me for four days. But our engagement was almost two years.

LIke you we were very poor, but we started our family immediately so that made things much more difficult. At the same time, having hard times together so early in the marriage has actually brought us closer. I have a very strong relationship with my husband, and I can honestly say that he is my best friend.

I don’t know everything about your situation. Two years does not seem an unreasonable time to wait for marriage, if that is agreed ahead of time.

I would not hold off on getting engaged though. If this is the woman that you know you want to marry, then you should at least make a commitment to her, even if it means a long engagement. As a woman, I would be offended if a man kept discussing marriage and yet wouldn’t ask me to marry him.


Get married and be poor!

(ok… maybe I’m a hopeless romantic…)

But seriously, as a woman, I think a guy runs the risk of losing the girl if he lets either courtship or engagement run on too long. This obviously varies from woman to woman, but since your girl is a down-to-earth type who doesn’t mind sacrifice, why not get married next summer?


I think that would mostly depend on how long the two of you have been dating. I firmly stress on the fact that you need to really know one another before you marry. Also how ond is your fiancee?

Of course It is a great deal cheaper to live together as husband and wife, but that should never be a reason to marry.


I would wait to be “engaged”.


This is my own point of view and I am not saying that you are wrong.

I would be highly offended if a man started making plans for our future marriage but would not actually make our engagement formal by simply asking me to marry him. I think that if I was at a stage in my life(and I do not know how old the young lady is) that I wanted to marry and start a family then I would eventually break off a relationship with such a man.

I’d at least want the commitment of an engagement.

This is all hypothetical, as we do not know any of the particulars of the OP’s relationship yet.


I would wait a little bit. I waited 2 yrs and part of it was money. Depending if your futire wife wnats to stay at home and you want to have kids immediately. All that you have to take into consideration. I may get blasted for saying but if you are in financial distress it can put you in a early mess. That’s where your 6 month pre cana will help you out. Not saying let money make decisions for you and hold off just because of money but make sure you are under agreement with everything and don’t get suckered into thinking you HAVE to have a house or that new car until you are through with school. Keep living below your means like you seem to be and you will be fine.


For that Long of Time I would suggest a kind of

“Promise” period - ( I call it a betrothal ),

Celebrate it with a nice “promise ring” with her favorite gemstone.

You are promising that you will ask her to marry you.

This makes your intentions very clear, but it sends the message that patience is the order of the day.

Slowly save up some cash for that Diamond Ring and then surprise her with a real proposal when it is clear that you will be able to start planning.

In my opinion, an engagement is when you can point to a general time and date within a year or so.

… say December 2007 … we have an engagement

If you are not ready to start actually making plans for your wedding and marriage then you are not yet ready to be “engaged”.

I have seen too many long engagements go bad. They lose their romance after about a year.

God Bless



a month away from being 24

How long have you known each other and been courting?

8 months

To everyone:

Thanks for your advice & opinions. I find it both encouraging and insightful…

God is good!!! I hope to read more later. Now I am going to bed…(i’m very tired and have been working nights for the past week).

God bless you all!


When my husband and I got engaged, my dad advised us not to have a long engagement, and now from experience, I know that it’s really hard to wait for the physical side of the relationship when you have such a strong commitment.
Also when we got married we were also poor and my husband had a year left of school and we got pregnant right off. I wasn’t in school so that might have something to do with it. But I’m glad that we just got married right away. If you’re ready to commit, then you should be ready to get married.


Really, I can’t advise an engagement for more than a year. Dating for a year or two is just fine. But being engaged for too long is hard emotionally and physically. Engaged means that you are planning a wedding. If you’ve only been dating for eight months, then just sit on this for another few months.

Also, I’m not sure that a promise ring means that you’re promising that you’ll marry the girl. I think it means a promise to be in a committed dating relationship. That’s it, an exclusive dating relationship. Promising to marry someone means an engagement. And I’d hold off on the promise ring. Don’t move so fast. This is a wonderful time of life, enjoy it, don’t feel anxious. As long as she is happy with you, she won’t wander. Maybe a promise ring for Christmas? But then what if she’s disappointed that it’s not a diamond? These things are so vexing!


I think I’m thinking along the lines of Deb. Your both in your mid-20s, my guess is this is something you both want to do, and I would assume both of your are mature enough to have some idea of the gravity of marriage and have a vision of what your looking for. Of couse you won’t really know what it means and the sacrifies til your are right in the middle of it.

I think if your both talking about it with serious consideration of you two being married, I think it would be a good idea to either get engaged or to do a promise period as was said in another post. You could get married next summer, but I would probably go with around 2 years after knowing each other. Then you would have even more of a chance seeing each other react in different situations.

It’s up to you, I’d have my own preferance, but any of the suggestions here, seem like acceptable enough options. I’d spend some time before the Blessed Sacrament, and try to discern it there. I’d make sure you both fully communicate the situation you both feel you are at.


DH and I dated for 6 months then got engaged. That was my junior year of college. We didn’t get married until the fall after I graduated, almost 2 years later.

I have always thought, why wait? You love her, she loves you. What’s the problem? Just because there is a ring on her finger doesn’t mean you have to get married tomorrow. I say go for it!


Technically an engagement is not a commitment. Marriage is. You can definitely talk about marriage, which you should, without being engaged. Long engagments without good reason sounds like lay-a-way of a relationship.

I would be more offended if a man just gave me a promise ring to keep me quiet. Promise rings are commonly refered to as “shut up” rings. I’m not being mean, that is what they are sometimes called. Engagement feels like limbo, and it gives something families to fight over. Stay low and when ready be engaged, just enough time to plan the wedding.


My boyfriend and I just had a conversation about this…yesterday! How timely! :thumbsup:

We’ve been talking a lot about our future in the last few months. We recently came to the conclusion that marriage during college appears to be impossible (for us, not everyone in our situation, however!) and not in God’s plan for us (unless He sends us a pretty incredible sign otherwise!), and had settled on engagement in the hiatus. We know in our hearts that we are going to be married, but most likely not until 2009. (We’ve been dating for over a year and a half.) So that’s a pretty darn long engagement, which I’ve always been advised against.

So we started talking about it… really talking about what engagement means. We were viewing it really just as “the next step” towards marriage, something that would let other people know about where we were in our relationship. But the thing is that it is more than that… it is a promise to marry, a very public one to unite two people (and two families!). To make that promise, we’d need the full support of our families… and we’re still at the stage of fully involving them in us. At this point I think the reaction from them might, even a little bit, be of surprise and questioning, rather than wholehearted support. So we decided on waiting a little while longer.

Talk to your girlfriend about this! My boyfriend was saying “Oh, I want my manly control!”, but I really feel like it’s up to the couple to determine the time frame of the engagement, and up to the man to pop the question and buy a certain piece of jewelry. :wink:

Also, a year ago we had been dating for about 8 months, like you, and we had begun talking about marriage. Since then I wouldn’t say that we’re different people, but we’ve surely both grown a lot, both individually and as a couple. It’s simply amazing how much you can learn and change, all while growing closer in your relationship. God has a great plan for you! Whatever decision you arrive at, know that you will keep learning about one another, growing closer to each other (and to God!) through it all. God bless!


As you can tell by all the opinions in this thread, what is meant by a promise, an engagement, a marriage; what one would be offended by, what one would feel comfortable with seems like fairly easy concepts, but are really hard to pin down what exactly means what. The best thing you can do is to make sure you both really communicate where you are at, where you are planning to go, and what you going to put on a hold to wait and see. Make sure you and the lady are comfortable where things are at as individuals and as a couple. Then reassess often, making sure you are both secure about the situation.

I’ve scene you post around quite often and you post seems quite reasonable, as far as I’m concerned, I trust your judgment, regardless of what I’d do. (Which would be press on!!! Life only lasts so long. We can deal with the damage later. :wink: Actually, I might trust you more than I do myself.) Even if in a given situation you two could have made a better decesion, I feel you could mitagate the situation. I’ll send you two some prayers.


Hey Jman, thanks for the prayers and the vote of confidence (us guys def. appreciate positive feedback)! Everyday God is opening and closing doors so the best we can do is to discuss, pray and discern.

God is good!


I just want to thank everyone for there feed back and personal testimonies from their relationships, engagements, and marriages. How awesome is it that God gives us this opportunity to support one another in seeking His will and living out holiness!

Praise Him!


Hi Esclavo,

Greetings! i would wait a while. if you enter a marriage and you end up poor as you said, then bills could accumulate and put potential stress on your marriage. Wait until your finished school and save money, then when your working and figure you can afford it, and so on, then get married. This has to be discussed openly as you said, with the both you. If you want to marry soon, will your family or hers or both be able to help you both out a bit financially? if so, and you can bridge the gap until your doing the type of job you studied for at school then there is no need to put off the marriage. If your families cannot afford to help out, then perhaps reconsider until your in a better place financially.

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