To wait or to marry?


I’m curious what others think.

To pursue a medical career, both have about 6 more years of college. Both have fulltime jobs. Both want to be open to life and follow Christ’s teachings.

And for more background: both are debt-free. One set of parents approves of marriage now, one set of parents only wants marriage after all school is finished.

Marry now or wait until after college?


What does the couple want?


I more or less agree with Karin.

But I’d put it another way… What are the couple’s priorities? Is their greater commitment to each other or to school/career? Are they both willing to make the sacrifices necessary? There are good reasons to marry now and then there are good reasons to wait. I don’t think this is so much a matter of right or wrong as it is a matter of them both being on the same page. If this couple has mixed expectations then they probably should wait.

Also, is the couple dependent on the parents at all? From a purely practical standpoint they need to consider what it means if the disapproving parents withdraw support. This couple may be debt free now but what will happen in the next six or more years?


ditto. I don’t see the problem in being married and being students.


I voted “marry now”, but then I re-read something & thought, “Who is paying for college?”

If the couple is still financially dependent on parents for 6 years of tuition, that puts a different twist on it, in my view.

In my opinion, if the couple was to marry now, they are proclaiming that they are able to support themselves and their future children. Any financial aid from the parents who want them to wait would be strictly on the parents’ terms, and then the couple would also be free to say “no thank you.”


Does this set of parents have any concern about the abilty for the couple to remain chaste for the next 6 years?


I agree with the previous posters. What do you want?

Also, in terms of chastity, 6 years could be quite a long time, and probably is for most.

From experience, you can’t have all your ducks lined up perfectly, ever, so sometimes you just take the plunge. I am a young, newly married, very full-of-debt woman and expecting in April. My Dh and I chose to go to a private, Catholic college where we met, but were given minimal financial assistance so we both graduated with plenty of debt. However, with examples from both our families, we’ve realized that just because you’re financially stable one minute, doesn’t mean you will be the next, and God always provides. School is taxing and so are many other things, but it’s possible, and it’s really up to you two. I have several friends who were married while in school and were so happy to be married during that time, despite all the difficulties that went with it (ie. going to school AND working as much as possible to keep financially stable) However, each couple is different, so it really is subjective and ultimately up to you and your significant other :). You will be in my prayers :).


If both individuals in the couple have prioritized their education/careers–so be it. They then need to seriously and honestly evaluate where and when marriage and child rearing fit into that picture. If neither of them is available to give themselves fully to the marriage or parenting, then this may not be the time to be playing house.

It is a very mature decision to recognize that the heavy demands associated with professional/graduate school and/or career goals or commitments you have undertaken are not compatible with marriage and family at a particular stage in your life. It is not a permanent rejection of marriage or family life. It is a period of preparation, which can be followed by a very satisfying family life at such time as you have obtained your credentials, secured a job and can exert more control over your schedule.


I am in Med School now and it really depends on the people. If both are in Med School, having children at that point could be really difficult, if not impossible (you would need a supportive spouse who is there for the kids because it really does limit your time for other things). The one’s who are married and the ones with kids have a spouse who can devote more time after work and either have family to help out plus kids are in school. Whether one decides to have kids or use NFP, one needs to be prepared to take care of kids (no family planning works out 100% of the time) if they should come, which may mean one or both putting those things on hold. I would say, what are you willing to sacrifice for the sake of your family and if you are prepared to accept the stress levels that will come, then I would say you are ready. Just be forewarned that many marriages in Med school may not last and so you need to be rock solid in your relationship (not being negative, just telling what happens). So in the end the couple really needs to discern it, but they should make the final decision, not someone else.


To clear up some questions:

Both are financially independent. He lives on his own. She lives with her parents at their welcome, although she pays rent to them.

Both have cars, no debt, and both have savings accounts.

School is being paid for out of pocket, semester by semester so as not to incur any debt. But as it gets to graduate school, there will be student loans, of course.


I suppose I can stop speaking in third person before someone calls me crazy. :wink:

Anyways, I was just interested in what others think. My concern is that we will not be able to 100% care for the children that we may be blessed with.

In terms of money, we don’t have a lot of it, but we are both stable, with solid jobs and good savings. We could support a couple kids. I could stop working and we would not suffer fiancially.

But I wonder if my ambitious attitude will not serve a marriage as best as it should. I really love working and I want to pursue dual degrees and more.

I just can’t decide which would put more strain or which would be more imprudent: waiting until it is all over or trying to fit it all on the same plate.


Chastity has not been an issue for us so far, thanks be to God and Mary. But I think it still puts stress on us in other ways, in that we are almost at a stopping point or wall in our relationship. Because it’s not like you want to start blurring those lines, KWIM?

My mom and his dad are vehemently against us getting married now. My mom is very proud of women with a college background and fears that I will just love being a mommy too much to finish. His dad thinks we’re crazy, period.

But then my dad and his mom think we are perfect for each other and should marry now. They have a much more optimistic and trusting attitude. For example, she told me yesterday to just marry now and let God handle it.

That’s all fine and dandy, but I want to make sure I am not doing this for selfish reasons, right?

Oh dear!!


haskilee, do you mind telling us how old you are?

Would you consider getting your degree in something that takes less than 6 yrs. to complete? You could get a job while your husband finishes med school.

My neighbor down the street was married and in med school. Her husband had a good job not in the medical field. When her children started being born, she regretted not being home enough for them. She finally quit in the middle of med school and is now a stay at home mom.


You are going to have to decide what you want, marriage is a very serious step. Your mom and dad don’t get to live your life- you do. You will be living with your choices long after they are gone. They have their own lives to live.

If you can not seeing yourself sacrificing you college pursuits if a you should become pregnant for the sake of family life you should not get married, at least not until you have completed your education. But that has to be your choice not because of pressure from your mom. There is nothing wrong with loving motherhood so much that you chose not to continue. But if you feel you will resent any future children impeding your educational pursuits then marriage must stay on hold.

This is my own personal view from my particular life experience. I married against my parents wishes at a young age. And although we had tough times I hate to imagine what I would have lost if I had followed everybody elses advise on what I should do. I knew I was taking a risk and that I would only myself to blame if things went badly. Thanks be to God I have been very blessed in my marriage.

Ofcourse I did not have the dream that you have to pursue one or more degrees and devote my life to a career. If that truly is your dream I believe you are right that at this point it is not compatable with the sacrifices required for married and family life. That certainly doesn’t make it bad. If that is your vocation then by all means pursue it but I think it would be wise to delay marriage for now.


How 'bout asking St. Gianna for a little bit of assistance? Although she married later in life, she was a physician ***and ***mother. She might have some guidance to share with you!


Well, considering that I am in a somewhat similar situation I would definitly advise that you and your boyfriend make the decision and go where you think God is calling setting aside the opinions of others (of course you should take them into consideration but don’t allow them to dictate your decision).

Lots of prayers and support is what you 2 need!

God bless you both! God is good!

(btw I voted “right now or soon (6 months to a year)”)


I have briefly considered nursing or occupational therapy but my heart sinks to think about it. It has nothing to do per se with the fields themselves, I just have that feeling when I consider those paths.

My dream would be to specialize in neonatology and public interest law. I also wanted to get a MPH and D.C.

I was thinking that a good timeline would be to complete the first year of chiropractic school which will also complete my bachelor’s in human biology (it is an articulation program) so the last three years of chiropractic schooling will line up with law school. Then one additional year for the MPH.

Medical school is quickly being pushed away but I still keep it in mind. :frowning: Unfortunately, my math and science is not competitive enough for traditional schooling. I considered a D.O. but feel more attracted to D.C.

Right now I am also completing a degree in human resources for my job, hence the additional years of schooling on top of graduate school.

My fiancee is also interested in the same subspecialty but he wants to pursue it from a different perspective, namely biotech and research. I think that is a much longer road than mine!

It’s not that I want to choose my career over my future babies, but that I want to do it all! I also do understand that I must make this choice for myself. Still, I want to hear from those who have experienced this mess and see what their input is. My parents and his parents have no say in the wedding or marriage; we have our wedding expenses budgeted on our own and plan to be 100% independent. I still feel the pressure though.

Thanks for listening to my thoughts! Sometimes it is nice to hear from others who are like minded. At work, for instance, everyone my age is living together or otherwise functioning abnormally. If I mention marriage, I get funny stares!


I voted for marriage “right now or soon”.

I don’t have the wisdom of age to offer you, but I’d just like to add my two cents as another college-aged woman trying to determine her future as far as a career and motherhood go.

From what I remember, you and your fiance have been together for 4-5 years, correct? Waiting another 6 seems insane to me! My boyfriend and I already feel like we are approaching the wall of intimacy where we are so close and know for us that the next logical step is marriage, but we can’t make that leap for another 2 1/2-3 years. Though you say chastity isn’t an issue for you, not being able to share in the marital love to which you two have been called for so long could damage the relationship.

As far as the educational plans go, I’d just say “be flexible”. It’s really hard (if not impossible…) to ‘have it all’–the demands of a highly specialized career don’t really allow for modern women to be good mothers, too. I myself am trying to find a field in which this is possible…Perhaps re-consider if all of those degrees are really essential to your vocation in life, as a mother with a career. I’m no where near saying “give up on your career aspirations and just be a stay-at-home-mom,” but just realize that life happens, and that even what you imagine yourself doing now is more than likely not what you will actually be doing in 10 years.

On a related note, this year I heard a talk given by Katherine Pakaluk at my university on this subject. She has been working on her PhD in economics at Harvard for 8 years, but when she started she never foresaw that it would take that long! A year or two into her program, she met a widowed man with 5 young daughters, and they married a year later. Now she cares for those children, along with a baby of her own, in addition to working on her dissertation… it’s not an easy path! But motherhood, she said, has changed the way she views a lot of things. She prioritizes things differently–her kids come before her research, and she has found advisors (at Harvard!) who understand and respect that. Now she plans on using her academic econ background to address, from a Catholic point of view, the status of women and children in the world (from what I can remember, at least), and truly feels that it is her vocation to address this issue. She emphasized that women aren’t forced to “balance” careers and motherhood–bringing new souls into the world and caring for them is always more important–but that women’s careers must be conformed to their roles as mothers. Thinking of things in that way has really helped me try to determine what I want to do with my own life.

Anyways, I think marriage now (or soon ;)) could lead you to a better understanding of yourself and your purpose in life… and perhaps focus your attention to the degrees which are crucial for fulfilling that purpose. Your six more years of schooling would cost a lot of money and stress! Maybe that MPH or DC aren’t necessary for what you want to do, especially if you have a biology background and a law degree and intend on going into public interest law? I’m not sure what you exactly want to do with all your specialties together (neonatology, public interest law, chiropractic, masters in public health?), so really articulating that for yourself could probably help.

sigh I’m going through the same decision-making process myself, trying to figure out how I’m supposed to serve God in what I do career-wise, so take my advice for what it’s worth as coming from another girl in your shoes! Best of luck and know that my prayers are with you and all the other young women out there trying to find their places in the world!


I agree with Rach620…I think you sound responsible and I didn’t realize you have been with your boyfriend for so many years. I vote you get married.

There is a place in a relationship that is ‘the point of no return’ where you wait to long and then it’s over. I’ve seen this happen time and again.

I also think Rach made a good point when she told you to be flexible on your education plans. “Having it all” doesn’t make for good mothers…and it doesn’t make for good students, either. You have a good head on your shoulders, you will figure out what works for you.


If you ask me, I say just do it. I don’t always make the best decisions. Some decisions you just have to throw caution to the wind, and jump in. Some might look back and say, that was stupid, and if I know now what I knew then I would not have done that, but I’m so happy I did. Others times the person might look back on another desicion and say I wasn’t thinking, and I should not have done that. Sometimes they end up great, sometimes they blow right up in your face. Sometimes the answers say a lot more about the person, than they do about your future. Very good to take into consideration, but no one really knows how things will work out.

Just remember every door that you go through will mean there are others that you have to give up going through. Discerning a decision is as much about making a decision as it is pair off choices. To marry now, with your minds so much on your education might puts lots of strain on your marriage. To have a baby right now, could put a strain on your career. To not marry now, could also put a strain on your marriage. To have a baby now, might teach you a lot about your profession, after all the medical field is all about people. To marry now, might further point you to your career goals. To not have a baby now, might mean that you two might not be able to have a baby. The older the body gets the more likely problems can occure. To not have a baby, might mean you could look towards adoption of a child in need of good parents.

Sometimes the best plans fail. Sometimes the things you never plan for end up being the best blessings. You say you want to go into neonatal. I’m sure quite often your going to be dealing with parents who didn’t plan for their children to have problems that you will have to deal with. Some will take it awfully hard. But I’m sure you’ll be amazed, how they’ll be amazed that they could have never dreamt of realizing how much they could love and sacrifice for their child, and how it’ll change their whole life.

I cannot say what you should do. Either way, there will be problems that you’ll both have to work through. More important than whatever decision you make is that you take the problems and pray that they’ll help you grow. Sometimes problems are the best blessing. Sometimes they’ll rattle your head, but they can also clearify many things. I’ll say a toast to you two, and give you my prayers. This decision is up to you, and many blessings on your future, and to those you have been graced to touch.


I too agree with Rach.

the demands of a highly specialized career don’t really allow for modern women to be good mothers, too…women’s careers must be conformed to their roles as mothers.

If you are called to the vocation of marriage, then that should be your primary concern right now. School, career, etc. should only be aids to serve your vocation, they should never take the place of it.

I cannot imagine postponing a marriage for SIX MORE YEARS let alone dating for as long as you two have dated!!!

And I find it very sad / disturbing that your mother “fears” that you will like being a mommy too much. What a sad testament to motherhood. :frowning:

Anyway - I agree that if marriage is truly your vocation - your calling from God - then you need to pursue it. And I would continue myself with your area of study unless you are blessed with children - then I’d recommend taking a step back and re-evaluating everything. A career needs to be second to your life as a wife and mother, and it sounds like your “dream” job and aspirations have the possibility of consuming you.

Just remember every door that you go through will mean there are others that you have to give up going through.

There are lots of people who have to give up the “perfect job” to do something that serves their family, rather than the other way around. That’s where the sacrifice comes in. If you become a mother, you may very well not be able to do all you want to do - and you need to come to peace with that in knowing that your first duty is to your family.


We opted to wait to finish school, but he only had 2 years left at the time we met, and 1 when we got engaged.

I agree that a career vocation must serve your marital vocation, but that does not necessarily mean postponing marriage is not what God wants for you. There is such a dire need for competent, Catholic women in some fields that their professional vocation may create a different dynamic between husband and wife or with children.

You and your FI need to do what you discern God is calling you to do. Parental approval is important, but know they will love and support you no matter what you decide.

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