Married while in college?


#1

I’m a sophomore in college who has been in a relationship with an amazing guy for a year and a half. He’s my best friend, and knows me better than anyone. We’ve talked about everything, from future plans (as far as education, careers and stay at home motherhood), to finances, to philosophy, to NFP. After a lot of prayer and discernment, we know that we are supposed to spend the rest of our lives together.

We’ve been discussing marriage for over a year, but from the get-go it had always been understood/a matter-of-fact that we’d wait until after we graduated. This summer, however, we discussed marriage more seriously, and really thought about why we had always assumed we’d wait those four years. We couldn’t come up with truly valid reasons to wait (after testing out the various objections re: maturity/age, money, educational/career plans, etc, which I can go into in later posts if anyone’s wondering). Now we’re thinking a more suitable timeline would be marriage between our junior and senior years.

We truly feel called by God to this awesome vocation, and are well aware of the challenges we will face, but at the same time we don’t see any real reason to delay the graces of this sacrament and beginning our life together.

While there is a sort of unspoken understanding between our parents and us, there has of yet been no formal engagement (although that’s more than likely coming soon… I’ve been told to stop thinking about it ;)). I’m honestly not sure what their reaction will be to our being so young, but we think that once we explain our seriousness they’ll understand.

We’re in the process of beginning a relationship with a priest who my boyfriend has already spoken with about our relationship (he was very excited for us :D) to explore this more seriously.

So… what are some of your experiences with young marriage, especially during college? Challenges? Warnings? Other advice? We’d appreciate anything!

Thanks!


#2

Wow…I read your post and thought I was reading something that my girlfriend wrote (or that I wrote and confused myself for a girl).

I am going through almost the exact same situation that you are…just about word for word. My girlfriend and I have been dating for about a year and a half, we too are in our sophomore years in college, and we too have been talking about getting married. We have talked about all the things that you mentioned…NFP, careers, finances, kids…the whole nine yards. We ultimately came to the decision (for now) that it was indeed best to wait until after we graduated (or at least one of us…she’s going to be a teacher, so she’ll be in school a little bit longer than I will). However, she seems more sure of this than I am, and I am in the same frame of mind as you. I see no problems getting married between our junior and senior years, other than the fact that we might be a little less prepared financially.

Can you give me some more details on your situation? I would love to have someone else to talk to about this who is going through this situation.

-Mike

(This isn’t actually my first post…I was a victim of the hacker attempt and it completely erased my account)


#3

While I might not have any advice for you, I can share you my story and my personal feelings as I am in a somewhat similar situation.

I’m in college right now, while my girlfriend works full time, she’s not a citizen of the United States. I want more than anything for her to get going on this path to becoming a citizen. The sooner the better, for the fact she will be able to freely go in and out of the United States with her own will. Right now if she leaves she won’t be allowed back in. For this reason I really want to push marriage as soon as I can, although it will set me back financially big time, and put my schooling on hold. I’ve been thinking about looking for a job that I could set up a life with and discontinuing school to be with her. I know if I choose to start a family now, it’s going to be hard to finish school.

That being said, I have been really thinking about asking her to marry me, while we’ve only been together about 9 months, I just don’t know what to do. It’s like I can take the path of love in life, or I can take the path of money - love later. I soley believe we are put on this earth to love, which is why I am hinting towards asking her soon, but on the other hand I want to be able to support my family when the time comes, with a low end job, this isn’t possible without my wife working.

Honestly, I don’t know if you can make sense of what I typed, it’s late and I’ve got to get up soon, but I know what you’re going through and the emotions are great, aren’t they?

Andrew


#4

old folks chiming in, we married in middle of soph yr in college our only regret being that we did not marry right after high school, after 2 and a half years of dating and courtship. that was almost 40 years ago. If you have discerned that you are supposed to be married, then what is keeping you from pursuing your dreams and goals together? finances? fear that having children will delay or defer those achievements?

the first step is prioritizing together what is important in life. what are your overall goals and do you both agree on them, and on how to accomplish them? are you both of a same mind in how you discern and carry out God’s will for you?

completing the education and embarking on the career are the means, not the end, for doing this. we tend to turn things upside down and make the degree and career the end, instead of the means. Establishing the family, leading the family to know, love and serve God, is the goal. We say: above all my first priority is to become a doctor, teacher, lawyer, engineer, and when that is accomplished, then I will have time and money to start a family.

Instead we should say, God wills us to establish our family and lead them to Him, and together find and carry out His will for us, and discern our gifts and how to direct them in this endeavor. How can we best accomplish this? ah, by becoming a doctor, lawyer, engineer, teacher, policeman etc.

If you have discerned God wills you to be a family, go for it. but be a family, not a couple of self-centered people who happen to live together for the convenience of shared finances and a shared bed. That means total trust in God and openness to all His gifts, most especially the gift of children, which are the fruit of marriage.

If you somehow imagine that having more money is going to make life better, spend more time discerning, you are not ready, because you are not yet asking yourselves the right questions. It would be prudent however for at least one of you to get a job with insurance coverage first. remember your job choice now does not have to mean a lifetime career.


#5

While I too don’t feel comfortable offering advice straight up, I would love to share with you about my experience.

My husband and I started dating right at the end of high school and stayed together all through five years of college, marrying 4 months after graduation.

We dated for 2 1/2 years, then got engaged, then waited another 2 1/2 year after engagement to get married. This was REALLY tough. I have thought since then that I would strongly discourage any children we might have from being engaged for such a long time because it is very difficult to maintain purity when you know you’re going to be married and you have such deep and true love for each other.

On the other hand in our relationship, which is of course unique from yours, we both had some growing we had to do–spiritually and otherwise. In some ways the challenge of a long engagement and even the challenge to maintain purity strengthened us.

I commend you for asking a question that others might not even consider these days in the pursuit of God’s will for you! What a great way to start a process for marriage preparation! I think it is great that you are letting discernment of God’s will be your guide rather than the worldly understanding of money or position. My dad gave me great advice when facing similar concerns before marriage. He said “If you wait 'til you’re ready, you’ll never do anything.”

God bless you!


#6

Keep praying and discerning. Don’t let anyone insist that you wait until after college. I would say don’t let anyone tell you that you must get married now either, but I can’t imagine very many people doing that.

Scott


#7

Two years will fly by my dear. You and your fiancee will need to attend pre-cana, that will take time, there is nothing wrong with a long engagement. I think it’s your (and his) hormones talking. No one needs to know your private business. My advice is to wait until you have graduated. Women should get their degree, if you get marriage and practice NFP, you may end up pregnant, and their goes the degree, money and time invested for naught. Paying back a student loan, that you never got sheepskin for. Once your degree is complete, you and your fiancee can marry knowing that either of you will be able pay the bills. And you could be a stay at home mom, if you like, or if you want to work full or part time, you can do that too. Who knows, maybe he wants to stay home and be with the kidlets.

Two yrs. will fly by, there is much to do in planning a wedding. There are retreats and other events you and your fiancee can attend…if you need a distraction from the obvious.

I just worry that some young women attend college just to get their M.R.S. degree. Finish what you started…that amazing guy will still be amazing when both of you walk down that aisle knowing you are employed full time with a 401K.


#8

Go for it. :slight_smile:

With the caveat, of course, that you have a plan in place for how to start out your new life together as students. There may be times when you have to be separated, like if one person gets accepted to grad school at a different place than the other - discuss how you will deal with this kind of thing ahead of time.

But it’s no different than a working couple being separated for a period of time because one person gets an assignment in a different city for some reason.

Also discuss what will happen if you get pregnant. Make sure you’re both on the same page, so that he’s not all surprised when you tell him your plan, as you hand him the baby and pick up your books. :wink:


#9

They may not be able to take advantage of Pre-Cana since they are not engaged.
Even though their hormones may be talking (which is nobody’s business as you said :rolleyes:, for what couple don’t they?

Finish what you started…that amazing guy will still be amazing when both of you walk down that aisle knowing you are employed full time with a 401K.

:ehh: :rotfl::whacky:


#10

I agree with Julianna. I’m a junior and so is my fiance. We met in high school and we’ve been dating for 4.5 years. We’re going to get married in about 2 years from now. I’ll be getting my master’s at that time, but I should only have one more semester after the wedding. He will be working, and most likely we will not be able to be together for about 4 months because we’ll most likely be in different cities. That’s ok with us because we’ve done the long distance thing before for about a year. We think that waiting until he has a job and I’m almost finished with school is the best plan for us. We’re having a long engagement, and while we could survive if we got married tomorrow, I think our long term goals would have to be changed. In my opinion you should wait and get to know eachother better. Have a few really big fights, work through them, finish school, and then get married. 1.5 years really isn’t a long time compared to a lifetime together. Make sure you’re right for eachother and make sure that you’re both mentally ready to accept marriage and everything that it implies.


#11

It’s late and I should be getting to bed for class tomorrow, but I wanted to respond to a few things here.

First off–I’m pretty sure this isn’t our hormones talking… at least, they’re not doing the bulk of the talking ;). We have seriously discussed this for months, and our commitment to each other, to marriage as soon as God might allow, and most importantly, to chastity, has been strengthened.

Next-- I’m not in school just to get my MRS. My boyfriend and I had both been accepted and decided on where we were going to college before we even started dating. While I do plan on one day being a stay-at-home mom, I don’t think the fact that I won’t work outside the home devalues the education I’m getting at (what I believe to be ;)) one of the best universities in the country.

We both WILL graduate, on time, less than a year after we marry (if we do indeed get married between jr and sr years). There’s no risk of either one of us dropping out. I had a lot of credits coming into school, and it might even be possible for me to go part time/graduate early if God does decide to send us a tiny unexpected gift :).

A potential issue, which we have discussed, is post-graduation. We figured that since we were just moving the wedding up a year, the post-grad plans wouldn’t change–we’d still be ending up in the same city come 2009. What those plans are, precisely, has yet to be determined. At this point, they involve grad school for my boyfriend and a job for me. If God wills it, he could go to night school to get his master’s and get a full time job to support our family.

Finally-- Call me naive, but I’ve always found it rather silly that one of the modern requisites for marriage was a well-paying full-time job and a 401k. Even my parents, who got married in 1983 right out of college, had no 401k in sight. God works in mysterious ways…and usually not on our silly schedules! And heck, that just seems to take most of the fun out of it… I have no qualms with clipping coupons and garage saling, if I know that we are doing God’s will :).

That’s it for now! Thanks for all the support/advice/prayers! We really appreciate them!


#12

I’m your age (actually 10 days younger, but I’m a junior in school), and to be honest I can’t imagine being married now, but I commend you for asking this question.

I know a girl who is a junior in college (like I am) and planning a wedding. She is also having a baby (yes, unmarried pregnancy). She is leaving my particular school, and not returning until at least a year after the baby is born. In my experience, many kids who take a year off don’t end up going back.

I will say though that if you determine the two of you are meant to be married while in college, that between your junior and senior years would be the best. I couldn’t imagine being a senior in college and having to do post-undergrad testing and applications, finishing up graduation requirements AND planning a wedding!!! God bless the people who are able to do it!

Two years does fly by though, that’s for sure. I’m a junior now, and I honestly can’t believe it’s gone by so fast. Two years isn’t THAT long at all. But it is also two years off of childbirth, so it’s really essential that both of you determine what is most important.


#13

Before I started college, I was sure that I wanted to wait to marry. We were both going to wait all the way through undergrad and grad.

Now that I am in college and working full time, however, I see that it is certainly possible to marry and start a family without dropping everything else in life. The important thing is to realize that stuff like school, hobbies, work, friends, etc should all add to the primary goal of loving your spouse and building a family.

I realize that I had this odd idea of setting everything up in my life, then getting married. But marriage is a life and it is for life. Your school and career are supposed to work around it and add to it.

When you think that way, with marriage as the primary goal and everything else supporting it, then you are more likely to find success because, for example, you will choose a college that offers night and online classes and has a better tuition rate. Or for work you will choose a job that is family friendly and has flex schedules and good benefits.

It’s hard to explain…but the difference is very obvious once you start seeing things from a marriage point of view.

Besides other recent reasons, I was still going to wait another 1.5 so that my fiancee would be done with the 1st year of med school by the time we could possibly conceive.


#14

Thanks for starting this thread! I am enjoying the information and advice others are giving you. Although my situation is not identical, my relationship with my girlfriend and yours shares many things. I’ll be sure to pray for you two as you continue making some big decisions.

God bless you!


#15

Thanks for your insight, hasikelee. We basically came to the same realization–figuring out that waiting to get married in order to “get our lives in order” was not the way to go. God didn’t put us on earth so that we could always have materially “comfortable” lives–we’re here to live! Marriage comes first, and all of our other decisions can be made from that jumping-off point.


#16

I’d like to comment that I think it doesn’t matter whether you are in college or not, it matters that you are able to financially take care of things YOURSELVES.

I don’t think it’s a good idea to get married and still be asking your parents (or anyone else) to pay for your tuition, books, housing or anything else. That is not being independent.

For a successful marriage, you need to be able to depend on each other and God.


#17

Some people never attend college and have great carreers. Some people get a diploma AND a bunch of debt and never find a job.

2 cents from an old married lady - being prepared for a sacremental marriage and entering into that team together is priceless. With the help of your spiritual advisor, you will know when the time is right.

College will not help you get to heaven, a godly spouse will :slight_smile:


#18

Rach620,

If you don’t mind me asking, how are you and your future husband planning on making things work financially while you are still in school?

The reason I ask is that we thought about getting married while still in school, but we don’t think we can realistically get full-time jobs and go to school full time. How are you guys doing it?

-Mike


#19

Thanks for your insight, hasikelee. We basically came to the same realization–figuring out that waiting to get married in order to “get our lives in order” was not the way to go. God didn’t put us on earth so that we could always have materially “comfortable” lives–we’re here to live! Marriage comes first, and all of our other decisions can be made from that jumping-off point.

It’s nice to hear from someone who understands. Many people in our life who have heard of our decision tink we are somehow abandoning our career/life/partying freedom or being irrational due to love.

Personally, I feel since we have now committed to something much more serious (marriage and a family life) we are taking life much more seriously than being single and going to school. When you have a family at home depending on you, work seems so much more serious, KWIM? It is great to have a beautiful goal in mind and it really motivates us to work all the more harder on things like school and saving money.

One of the things that helped me was looking around and seeing others doing this. They may not have made a conscious choice [to be married or pregnant and in school] but it was working. After all the hype put into me from trying to get a seat in med school and hanging out with some extremely intelligent people who were just about killing themselves over school, I am pleasantly surprised as how simple it is.

And again, when you have an ultimate goal, it is much simpler to work in all the little things around it and to support it. Just like that analogy of filling the jar: you put the big rocks in first and everything will fit just right.


#20

This question has led to a lot more discussion on our parts, which is always a good thing ;).

We’ve recently been working on a pretty concrete (but still awfully preliminary) budget, to see how much we’d need for rent, insurance, living expenses, etc. It’s pretty tight, but we think it might be do-able. We both have two good summers of work/paying internships ahead of us, and both work part time during the school year, so we’ll have our savings together to work from. (We don’t want to be draining our bank account too much… we’re looking longer-term than ‘just surviving senior year,’ too. We need some financial security in case a baby comes along…)

Basically we’ll both be working a lot (though not full-time) during the school year and working off of what we have saved. It’s possible I could graduate early and work full time for a semester, or go part time at school for two semesters and work full time that way. It’s pretty sticky right now, and honestly we’re getting a bit discouraged (we want to start off independently and responsibly), but we’re really trying to get details in line and talk to our families.

Who knows what God has in store! Just keep us in your prayers, please!


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