I am twenty years old and have almost graduated from the university. I am engaged to a marvelous man who is twenty-three years old…. We have been going together for two years and four months. We want to get married, but everyone says that we are too young, that we should do graduate studies (a doctorate), and enjoy our youth….
I am really worried about all of this. We have almost done what we should not have time and time again, to the point that we feel badly for what we have done. We have read that a healthy courtship normally lasts between one and two years. Any longer than that has its risks, and we’re in that very situation.
We congratulate you on your wisdom and your patience! You are trying to listen to the counsel of others, and you have been patient to keep extending your courtship instead of getting married right away.
It might surprise you to know that Hermano Pablo and his wife were each twenty years old when they were married in 1942, and have testified to enjoying marital happiness many years beyond their Golden Wedding Anniversary. We were also twenty years old when we were married in 1974, and have been happily married ever since. However, these two success stories do not make us think that young people should get married at such a young age.
What we believe is that age is not the primary consideration in deciding if you are ready for marriage. Some people in their late twenties or thirties are still not ready for marriage.
Many other factors are more important than age. Here are some questions to ask yourselves:
- Can we completely support ourselves economically and have enough income to maintain our own home, totally separate from our relatives and not funded by them in any way?
- Will we be able to support ourselves and still have time left over to spend together as a couple and with friends and relatives?
- Do we have the same beliefs about God, and do we agree about how our future children will learn about Him?
- Do we agree about our relationships with our families, specifically whether any of our relatives will ever be supported financially by us or come to live with us?
- Do we agree about how many children we want to have and how soon want to begin to start a family?
- Do we agree about what city we will live in?
- Do we have common goals and expectations for our future?
- When we disagree, do we treat each other with respect and resolve our differences without calling names, resorting to violence, or questioning our love for each other?
- Can each of us pledge to be faithful to the other for our entire lifetime?
- Do we trust each other with our very lives?
Couples who can honestly answer positively to each of these questions are ready to be married. They must decide between themselves how long they should wait, but it is a significant advantage if they have the approval of both sets of parents.
We wish you well,
Linda and Charles