My girlfriend and I are considering getting married soon and we are looking for some advice or opinions. We are both third year students at universities in different states. We have known each other for seven years and have dated for five, three being long-distance. We are from the same area and our families get along well. We were both raised as Catholics and are committed to knowing, loving, and serving God in whatever ways he wants for us. We love each other and want to be engaged soon but there are several complications which we are concerned about. We are trying to determine if marriage is God's will for us and want to know how to view these problems in that light.
1) We have somewhat heavy educational debt ($35,000 between the two of us). Neither of us has much income and we do not project having an above poverty level income for some time. Currently we earn about $7,000 between the two of us. We do not anticipate any more educational expenses. Also, I literally have less than $2000 to my name.
2) We both want to pursue graduate level education. This is time-consuming and difficult and will remove us from our family support and circle of friends. There is also a certain amount of stress that is endemic to graduate school and could compound the problem when added to being away from friends and family and newly married.
3) We are concerned that we will not be able to create an economic and emotional (time, attention, care) environment healthy for children within a reasonable amount of time after being married (less than three years). We are concerned that because of this we will have to delay having children for an excessive amount of time.
Our tentative plan as of now is to get engaged soon, marry in the summer of 2011, and attend graduate school at the same institution. I am looking at two years and she could be done anywhere from two to six years.
Basically we know that we want to be married but these difficulties make it seem like it could be God's will for us to either wait, change our educational or career plans, or some other solution. Does anyone have any advice for us?