My Girlfriend and I are both in college, I am turning 20 and she 19. We both want to get married and think that about a year after we graduate would be a prudent amount of time to do so. I have mixed reactions from different people about when a good time is. It seems that we would miss out on something if we do it so soon. I would like to turn to the good people of Catholic Answers for some advice. The underlying question being at what age is one ready to take on that great step of marriage.
Hi! My husband is a rugger.
I think a year or so after graduation is a good time, if you are ready. I don’t think that a year after graduation should be the deadline. My aunt and uncle were ready to marry right out of high school and they have been together for 12 years now. So I don’t think a particular age is the right thing to focus on. I’m for postponing the wedding bells until after college because you are more stable, but that’s just my feelings on it.
What would you be missing out on? The correct answer is that one can marry when one has the maturity to do so. That does vary somewhat with different people.
In the past, people commonly married when teenagers and lived in a happy and content Christian marriage for the rest of their lives. In today’s culture, so hostile to Christian marriage and human life, it seems to be more difficult to resist temptation and live out a Christian marriage. It has never been more important to marry someone of strong faith.
There is no correct answer to this Question… Some are ready at 16 some are ready decades later… If I were to advise it would go a little like this…
Hold Hands a lot… Pray a little…talk and laugh a lot together, go for Picnics together…
Go to the theater together… Go swimming together,discover one another and the right time will come by itself…
I didn’t marry til I was in my 30s. I could have used the years before that to accomplish a lot of good stuff… but I frittered them away.
I told my children that the early to mid 20s were good ages to marry, for many reasons. If you don’t have something better than getting married to do, then I think a year after graduation is a great time to marry–gives you two a chance to know each other outside of school, get on your feet a bit.
Believe me, you’re not missing anything by marrying then!
First off, welcome to CAF.
My wife was 19 and I was 21 when we got married (we dated 3 years while she finished highschool). We were told we were too young and that we would miss out on “getting to know our selfs” if we married so young. Almost 20 years later and I have zero regrets about when we married. Anything we might have “missed” would pale in comparison to the time I gained with my children and my lovely wife.
My wife and I often tell couples that marrying and having kids young might be a trial by fire, but fire and pressure is what builds a core of steel. Just don’t run if you get a little burned.
Long and short is marry when you feel like you are ready to commit to a life long marriage. I wouldn’t use a certain age or even passing some set of life events as a yard stick of readiness. I’ve never understood the concept of having a checklist of things to do where marriage is near the end rather than the begining of the “young adult” list.
I would suggest that age is not the most important factor.
When YOU can support the “Family” is. Spiritually, you must be solid in your faith and recognize that we are called to lay down our lives for our wife as Christ did for his bride, the Church (a real help if this has already sunk in BEFORE you get married). Second, I’m a little old fashioned but I believe when you and only you (single income) can provide for your wife (home, cloths, etc.). If your wife works…that’s extra.
Just as Christ provides for his Bride in physical and spiritual ways, so we as men should follow that model. None of us are ever 100% ready for this task, Love is a feeling yes, but it is a decision you are going to make. You must decide from the beginning, you will love this women God has brought into your life no matter what. Too many young (myself included) folks go into marriage blindly. Go to marriage prep and put everything you can into it. If you currently don’t, begin to pray for her and most important, PRAY WITH HER! A couple united in prayer is a POWERFUL help to the married life.
There is no right age. It depends on the couple. As to enjoying your life before you marry - look at what you do together now and what your goals are. Are you ok with staying home day after day or is it important to go to parties, see the latest movies, etc.? Do you want to get further education? It’s harder to do when you have children. Do you both want careers? Have you each lived on your own (not just college dorms)? I think that if you live on your own first, you are more aware of what the other person is doing for you when you marry as opposed to just expecting it because you’re used to someone else cooking, cleaning, taking care of the yard for you.
My husband and I married as teens, and still finished college and we are even more happily married more than 15 years later. I wouldn’t trade in those early years of marriage with him for any other experience or goal. Whatever in life there was that was worth doing, we did it together. We even converted to Catholicism together a few years back. Marrying young has the added benefit of beginning adulthood together. I think it is great.
“We both want to get married and think that about a year after we graduate would be a prudent amount of time to do so.”
It depends on your circumstances, but to me that sounds just about perfect.
I would suggest 1) trying to keep a firm hand on wedding expenses as you will need that money for so many other things over the next 5-10 years (setting up housekeeping, moves, kids, emergency savings, etc.) and 2) making sure to keep up (but not overdo) outside relationships and interests and 3) think about doing stuff that will be hard once you have kids. The unfortunate thing about adulthood is that when you have time, you have no money, and when you have money, you have no time, so it is genuinely tricky to manage this. I would really encourage trimming down the wedding and putting more resources into the honeymoon (and being imaginative about the destination). My husband and I had a great family visit/work trip/honeymoon about a year after we got married, but as so many people wind up pregnant almost immediately, I would not encourage waiting on joint travel. There’s often only a fairly narrow window to do that sort of thing.
The thing to avoid is a situation where 10 years later, one of the spouses says regretfully, “I always wanted to do XYZ, but we got married and had kids and then I couldn’t do it.” Figure out what XYZ is for both of you, and then do it.
Taking a personal finance class together is a really good idea, too.
“Second, I’m a little old fashioned but I believe when you and only you (single income) can provide for your wife (home, cloths, etc.). If your wife works…that’s extra.”
When we got married, the priest doing our marriage prep suggested the same thing–learn to live on one income. We kind of laughed it off at the time, because we were each making very, very low five figures at the time and it sounded impossible, but it was very good advice. As a matter of fact, just learning to live on two incomes is a good start.