[quote="CKA, post:1, topic:227777"]
I am a 25 y.o. and thinking of engagement with my 21 y.o. girlfriend.
She is still in college and we would like to do some travelling and work abroad after she's finished her schooling.
We love each other very much and were wondering if marriage is right for us at this stage. We are open to life but would prefer to have children in 3-5 years. Is it wise to enter into marriage?
My husband and I got married when I was 22 and he was 25. We were just like you--we still had things we wanted to accomplish before welcoming children into our lives (in fact, I think our anticipated "start making a baby" date was 3-5 years in the distance). Of course we intended to welcome an unexpected child, but because we felt our reasons to postpone children were "grave," (as the Church requires), we practiced extremely conservative NFP.
Our marriage struggled. It's hard to really analyze *exactly *why we struggled, but if I could turn back time I would have opted NOT to marry my husband until we were ready for the fullness of marriage, including a complete readiness for children. We ended up getting civilly divorced, returning to single life, then dating, and eventually getting remarried. We were remarried in August, starting trying to conceive in December, and just last night I discovered that I am pregnant.
MANY MANY MANY things are different now than with my first attempt at marriage. For starters, I'm a 27 year old woman instead of a 22 year old girl. I've also learned that love isn't something you feel, it's something you choose to do. But I do think that one of the biggest differences is that this time around, we were ready to pursue God's plan for US as husband and wife, instead of God's plan for each of us as separate individuals. And of course, for married couples, more often than not, God's plan involves children.
I guess what I'm saying is I personally don't believe that two individuals are ready for a Catholic marriage if they are not ready to dive into all aspects of it, including children. But that's based on my personal experience, not based on any research or study of Church teaching.