Q&A: Having to wait until we graduate to get married

Q: My girlfriend and I – both first years in college – have been dating about five months. We want to marry within two years, but my parents (who have always been strict and controlling) think we should wait at least until we graduate. What’s your take?

A: Research demonstrates that the first three to six months of a relationship is the “infatuation” stage. Basically, couples are “in love with being in love,” and are unlikely to view their dating partner or the relationship realistically. That’s why we usually advise couples to date for at least a year before getting engaged.

Holding off on marriage for a couple of years sounds like a good call. But we’d suggest that for the first half of that period you continue to date without becoming formally engaged. In other words, take some time to get to know each other on a much deeper level before locking yourselves into a commitment.

Meanwhile, you can greatly increase your chances for marital success if you commit to a structured, reputable premarital counselling program that includes personality testing. The relationship test developed by Prepare and Enrich has an incredible success rate at predicting which couples will have a happy marriage and which couples will be divorced within a few years.

Finally, consider the wisdom of your parents’ advice. They know you better than you may think they do, and probably have good reasons for recommending that you finish school before plunging into marriage. You’ve apparently got their support, at least in the general sense, so they must agree that the two of you make a good match. That’s a hopeful sign.

Your marriage might work out fine if you marry during college, but your chances for success increase if you give your relationship an extra year or two.

© 2018 Focus on the Family.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

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