Marriage in College


#1

My name is Scott. I have been involved with my girlfriend for over a year and a half. We are each currently sophomores in undergraduate programs at the same university, and I plan on attending a graduate program. The question for us is not so much the question “are we going to marry” (we are always praying for our vocations), but more if God wants us to be together, when should we do it? I like to think each of us are more mature for our age, and we have had many talks about the subject. Our reasons for wanting to be married are very typical. We have a selfless love for each other, we want each of us to get to heaven (which would be much easier if purity wasn’t so hard), and to spend the rest of our lives together. For me, my biggest issue is finances, mostly heath care. My current idea is to be engaged the summer before our junior year, do pre-cana at the university (We attend Franciscan University of Steubenville, go FUS!!) who has a wonderful program for couples that get married here at the university, then get married the summer before or winter of our senior year. As I stated before, life is a constant discernment and I am asking for your advice. Please do not just say do it or do not do it, please give me expanded reasons on why you take the stance that you do. I thank all of you in advance, and may God bless you all!


#2

I'm young but pretty old fashioned. :)

I've been married for 8 years and was wed when I was 22. So I did marry "young" myself.

BUT

I don't believe people should get married before they can adequately take care of a family. When I married, my husband was in the military. We had a home, health care, etc. His income was enough to support our family if we became pregnant quickly, which we did.

I'm not saying "go for it" or don't. I am saying make 100% CERTAIN before you set one foot down the aisle that you can provide for the family you are creating.


#3

Scott,

HAnne has given you some very good advice. I have 3 FUS grads and know a number of former FUS couples who are very faith filled but married too soon. The are not able to support their families and end up living with their parents or in huge debt. Right order is very important and will bring much peace to you both over the rest of your lives. Trust God to be faithful to you as you wait to become a married couple and family that bear witness to the glory of Him. Best wishes!


#4

Folks used to get enagaged in highschool back in my mom's day & married students were common in universities.They had "married student housing" available-maybe they still do? Most couples made it work.But more marriages worked back then in general.
People are extending the age of marriage up into their '30's which can play havoc with the chances of having a family. Starting young has it's benefits.
Just be careful, financial issues can be a huge hazard to young couples. I bet money breaks up more homes than affairs do.
Will say a prayer for you both! God bless!:)


#5

Thank you all for your replies! As I stated before, the finances are really the only reason I'm not sure what to do. I fully agree with what all of your are saying, but its one thing to know something in your head and to feel it in your heart. It is just becoming difficult knowing that we would have to wait over two more years to be married. Teachers here tell us it is better to not wait too long, because that will put a strain on any relationship (especially when striving for purity, which only gets harder). There is a couple we have become friends with who are grad students at the university. They got married senior year, and have had to endure some hard struggles, but they said it was worth it. They live on a very tight budget (also they have two children) but they make it work. As far as children go, I would just have to hope NFP does its job well. All in all its not like I have to make this decision tonight, but thank you all for your advice, and know that I will genuinely consider all you have said. God Bless!


#6

I personally think sooner is better than later....I know purity can be hard to deal with, especially with our culture...
If you/your wife/both of you have a steady job that can support the two of you, I see no reason to wait.
I got married at 18; my husband was 23. We both had steady jobs (still do) and haven't had any financial difficulties. We have been very blessed. Hopefully soon we will begin expanding our family :)


#7

My dad refused to "allow" his oldest daughter to marry until she graduated from college - she had her teaching degree in three years (4 year program). His opinion (and I share it) is that until you can support yourself you can't begin to support a family.

If you are supporting yourself I wish you the best. If you are living off your parents and/or student loans you are not ready to get married - mentally or financially.


#8

I think you should get married. St. Paul says to get married if you need to avoid sexual temptations. If you think you will spend your life with this girl, get married as soon as possible so you dont fall into sin.

One thing to remember is that it is not valid to use NFP as contraception. So if you are planning to use NFP to avoid pregnancy, you run the risk of committing serious sin.

Finances are easy. She can work to support you while in grad school than she can stay home when you finish grad school. In fact, she can drop out of college now and start working. What need does she have for a degree if she is going to be a SAHM? Its just a waste of money. Franciscan costs about 20,000 in tuition + room and board. That money could easily go to better use if you have decided you want to get married. Grad school would cost even more. Why take on a huge combined debt? If you want to get married and buy a house and have kids, I would suggest one of you stop college now to avoid crushing debt that would prevent you from buying a house and having more kids.

If one of you quits school now and starts working, I think this could work. If both of you go to school and have large loans, this is going to be a disaster. When you add room and board, FUS is about 30K a year. Multiplied by 2 that is 60K a year. Multiply that by 4 years and you get 240,000. Add in 2-3 years of grad school, and you are going to end up paying around 300-500,000 on both of your tuition. Imagine what good some of that money would do going elsewhere!

I think this can work but you need to make some changes to avoid crippling debt. If she ever wants to be a SAHM, she needs to think about the debt she and you will be in if she gets a useless liberal arts degree.


#9

Well, I guess from my experience, I say wait until you're just about done with college.

My husband and I met freshman year of college. But we didn't get married until just this past fall and that marked our 6th year together. So, it is possible to stay in a long term relationship and remain chaste. We both were virgins up until our wedding night.

One reason I say wait is because when you get married, children can (and in my opinion, should) be a result. Would you both be able to continue in your education should she become pregnant? Sure, NFP is okay if you both discern that God really doesn't think you should have a baby now. But, well, God works in ways that we don't. Take it from me. We ended up getting pregnant our wedding night. If it had been up to us, we probably would have waited. But then again, we knew I was entering my fertile stage, so pregnancy was a possibility, although we thought slim. But miracle as it is, I ovulated early, tell me that isn't a nudge from God?

With being married almost 2 months, so we're still in the beginning stages, I can see how stress from school and finances could really put stress on an early marriage to someone so young.

I know for my husband and I, we're in a vastly different emotional and maturity level than we were in college. But, everyone is different, so you really can only decide what is right for you.

And to the previous poster, I and I'm sure many other women, take offense to saying that a degree is a waste of money if you're going to be a SAHM. I plan on being one (with the potential of being a WAHM since I currently own my own business). Getting a degree is not a waste of time. What if the husband were to suddenly die? How would the mom take care of the children? Not saying this will happen in this case, but for my husband's family, his dad left his mom and the 4 kids for another women. Well, his mom had been a SAHM. Thankfully she did have a bachelor's degree to fall back on. Not only that, but some moms choose to homeschool. An education is great for that. And not all SAHMs are at home forever, eventually children grow up. Really, that is a dumb comment. I agree that an expensive university doesn't always make sense (I transferred from a $24,000/yr college to a 5,000/yr to save money). But getting an education is not a waste of money.


#10

My husband and I met halfway through our freshman years of college, and we got married a year after I graduated from college and 5 months after he graduated.

The idea of getting married in college was very tempting, but thank goodness we didn't, as we got pregnant on our honeymoon. I wouldn't have been able to graduate; he wouldn't have had a job.

It was hard to wait, I'm not going to lie. But it's certainly possible, and the possibility of having babies before jobs is very real.


#11

[quote="BrokenFortress, post:9, topic:220026"]
Well, I guess from my experience, I say wait until you're just about done with college.

My husband and I met freshman year of college. But we didn't get married until just this past fall and that marked our 6th year together. So, it is possible to stay in a long term relationship and remain chaste. We both were virgins up until our wedding night.

One reason I say wait is because when you get married, children can (and in my opinion, should) be a result. Would you both be able to continue in your education should she become pregnant? Sure, NFP is okay if you both discern that God really doesn't think you should have a baby now. But, well, God works in ways that we don't. Take it from me. We ended up getting pregnant our wedding night. If it had been up to us, we probably would have waited. But then again, we knew I was entering my fertile stage, so pregnancy was a possibility, although we thought slim. But miracle as it is, I ovulated early, tell me that isn't a nudge from God?

With being married almost 2 months, so we're still in the beginning stages, I can see how stress from school and finances could really put stress on an early marriage to someone so young.

I know for my husband and I, we're in a vastly different emotional and maturity level than we were in college. But, everyone is different, so you really can only decide what is right for you.

And to the previous poster, I and I'm sure many other women, take offense to saying that a degree is a waste of money if you're going to be a SAHM. I plan on being one (with the potential of being a WAHM since I currently own my own business). Getting a degree is not a waste of time. What if the husband were to suddenly die? How would the mom take care of the children? Not saying this will happen in this case, but for my husband's family, his dad left his mom and the 4 kids for another women. Well, his mom had been a SAHM. Thankfully she did have a bachelor's degree to fall back on. Not only that, but some moms choose to homeschool. An education is great for that. And not all SAHMs are at home forever, eventually children grow up. Really, that is a dumb comment. I agree that an expensive university doesn't always make sense (I transferred from a $24,000/yr college to a 5,000/yr to save money). But getting an education is not a waste of money.

[/quote]

I just read this. It sounds like we have very similar stories! From 5 years down the road, things are still awesome. Also, look for number two in about 3.5 years ;-)


#12

[quote="BrokenFortress, post:9, topic:220026"]

And to the previous poster, I and I'm sure many other women, take offense to saying that a degree is a waste of money if you're going to be a SAHM. I plan on being one (with the potential of being a WAHM since I currently own my own business). Getting a degree is not a waste of time. What if the husband were to suddenly die? How would the mom take care of the children? Not saying this will happen in this case, but for my husband's family, his dad left his mom and the 4 kids for another women. Well, his mom had been a SAHM. Thankfully she did have a bachelor's degree to fall back on. Not only that, but some moms choose to homeschool. An education is great for that. And not all SAHMs are at home forever, eventually children grow up. Really, that is a dumb comment. I agree that an expensive university doesn't always make sense (I transferred from a $24,000/yr college to a 5,000/yr to save money). But getting an education is not a waste of money.

[/quote]

I was commenting on their present situation. It is completely stupid to take on the debt they will if she stays in her present university. Will she be willing to transfer to a cheaper university? Could their marriage or relationship survive it?

Why spend 30K a year on a degree you may use in an emergency? Especially these days, a BA degree is worthless without graduate school. What high paying jobs can you get with a simple BA? I know of no people that are looking at getting a well paying job with just a BA. Just about every BA girl or guy I know is looking at grad school.

If finances are a problem, why not get a job and build work experience? That was my point. Avoid debt and build work experience instead of ending up with a degree you cant use and might never use anyways.

Post kids, worry about that when the kids are gone. Each kids takes 18-20 years of work. It could be your 50s-60s before you stop raising kids. By that time, who knows what the world will be like? Make long term decisions that make financial sense. Avoiding debt is a key to a stronger marriage.


#13

[quote="lizziebits, post:11, topic:220026"]
I just read this. It sounds like we have very similar stories! From 5 years down the road, things are still awesome. Also, look for number two in about 3.5 years ;-)

[/quote]

Haha! I'm getting to know lots of women who went through something similar. Prior to our wedding, I didn't know of many people who got pregnant right away, but seems it really isn't that rare in the Catholic world. We're happy about it now, but well, it is kind of a shock right away.

And that sounds like a good spacing for the second if it were to happen for us, I'm worried that we'll get pregnant again right away after the baby! :eek: I know some people want Irish twins, but not me.. But whatever happens, God provides. It's trusting that's the hard part!


#14

I'd say a degree from a private university IS a waste of money, unless you're in the law or medicine program an an Ivy League school. It's too much debt and you can get just as great of an education at a public university.


#15

I want to make it clear: my view is not that women shouldnt get an education.

My view is that if a woman wants to be a SAHM, she shouldnt go into huge debt to get an education.

The OP wasnt specific about the financial problems. However, when talking about college it frequently involves debt.

If the OP and his girl are not using loans and have college paid for, I full support her going through with the degree.

However, I cannot in good conscience advise a newly wed couple to get married when both are taking out loans to pay for a college that collegeboard.com estimates is 30K/year tuition, room, board, etc.

That was the basis of my suggestion for the girl to drop out and get a job. it would be a way to make money for a family while her husband gets a grad degree that can make some serious money. Work experience can in many cases these days replace a BA for many fields.


#16

In my younger days, I would have always adviced not getting married until after college. Not necessarily the case anymore. If two people understand what love and marriage is all about, I don't have much problem with it, and I can see obvious harm that can come from waiting, especially at that age. As to finances, that is tough. If one of my college age kids was to get married while in school and I thought they were ready and it was a wise decision, I would provide the same level of financial support to them as I would have if they had stayed single. Thats my new attitude, but I will admit to not making it well known to my college age kids.

And there are advantages to getting married young, one is not so set in their ways and is more adaptable.


#17

[quote="mjs1987, post:15, topic:220026"]
I want to make it clear: my view is not that women shouldnt get an education.

My view is that if a woman wants to be a SAHM, she shouldnt go into huge debt to get an education.

The OP wasnt specific about the financial problems. However, when talking about college it frequently involves debt.

If the OP and his girl are not using loans and have college paid for, I full support her going through with the degree.

However, I cannot in good conscience advise a newly wed couple to get married when both are taking out loans to pay for a college that collegeboard.com estimates is 30K/year tuition, room, board, etc.

That was the basis of my suggestion for the girl to drop out and get a job. it would be a way to make money for a family while her husband gets a grad degree that can make some serious money. Work experience can in many cases these days replace a BA for many fields.

[/quote]

I think you're absolutely right. I made the same decision for myself. I don't find it logical at all to accumulate thousands and thousands of dollars in debt "just in case" something happens to your husband.


#18

No, I don't think that one should accumulate thousands in debt if unnecessary. Perhaps a cheaper college is an option.

However I will always advocate women to get a college education if they want one. And personally, I do think that with many businesses, they are looking for a college education. In trade type jobs, yes, experience means more, but in general for those of the younger generation, to get an initial good paying job, you need an education. Especially now with so many people out of jobs.

You never know what the future holds. Perhaps it turns out they're infertile. Perhaps the husband gets injured and can no longer work so he stays home with the kids.

And gasp, perhaps even the woman feels called to work. Not all women are called to be SAHMs. While I believe taking care of your own children during the day is ideal, it's not ideal for everyone. Perhaps the woman gets a job with better insurance. There are so many different things that can happen.


#19

That's right, you NEVER know what the future holds. I got married before I graduated college and I wasn't able to finish college earlier due to various life circumstances. And to top it off, my husband was unemployed for a while. Talk about major stress!

It was hard, I won't lie about that. Very hard, emotionally, financially, spiritually, etc. Do I regret getting married before finishing college? Absolutely not. I think getting married helped me do better in college, but that's just my personal experience.

For all the women out there who think that getting a degree is "just in case" or for emergency purposes only, think about this past recession. You would not believe how many women I've talked to, after having been SAHMs, had to go back to work because their husbands became unemployed. It happens. There is no way to predict it. And you never know if there's going to be an accident, unemployment, death, etc. A degree isn't just for "emergencies," it's supposed to act as a supplement to life experiences. I consider it very risky for a woman to not go to college and obtain some sort of education. There is also a lot of research out there that points to a strong relationship between educated mothers and the development of their children. It doesn't matter if the mother is a SAHM or not, the fact that she is educated assists healthy development.

And furthermore, not everyone gets married right out of high school. I would consider that rather foolish nowadays as most 18-20 year olds know nothing about real life but that is just my personal opinion. No offense to anyone, but what do you do-- sit around and wait for Mr. Right? Because Mr. Right probably wants to marry someone with shared life experiences, such as college.

College doesn't have to be expensive. There's scholarships, grant money, and school-funded assistance. Many people now are choosing to go to a community college for the first year or two before transferring to a larger institution which offers bachelor's degrees. As long as the credits transfer and you have a good sense of what you want to get a degree in, that normally isn't a problem.


#20

[quote="spunjalebi, post:19, topic:220026"]

[/quote]

You make very good points.

I am one you could say is mixed on college in general. I think there are great benefits to college and downsides such as the many souls who lose their faith in college and the huge debt at many places.

If a woman wants to be an educated wife, that is good and preferable. However, like I said it needs to be done on the cheap side unless she has parents that are paying or she is paying herself out of pocket. Loans for college are unfair for the husband. He is essentially being forced to support a family AND pay her bills she accrued through her own poor financial decisions.

I know that I would rather have a woman that is uneducated but has financial sense than a woman that is educated and has no financial sense. I have been around way too many college educated women that blow through money like it grows on trees.

Also, in this economy a generic BA college degree is basically worthless. Most people I know are going to grad school. I even know a number of women that want to be SAHMs that are going to private grad schools. Unless you want to do union work in a skilled position, you need grad school to make money and support a family. Even most teaching jobs that pay well demand a grad school degree.


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