I have a twenty-six-year-old daughter who is in her third year at the university. She wants to marry her boyfriend, who is twenty-five and has already graduated with a bachelor’s degree, but his job is not stable. He says that he will pay for her continued education and everything else that she needs. I say that it would be better for the two of them and for their future children if they wait until she is further along in her career before getting married.

We are a family of six, and we live in a small house. I think that she is fleeing poverty and our overcrowded conditions. What should I do?

Dear Friend,

Every mother wants the best for her children, and of course you are concerned about this situation because you love your daughter and want the very best for her. However, the way you voice your opinion may push your daughter into going ahead with the marriage, whether it is the right thing or not.

Your daughter is an adult. She is obviously intelligent enough to have made it to the third year of university. Yet the way you give your advice may cause her to think that you are treating her like a child. If she thinks that you do not respect her as an adult who is capable of making her own decisions, then she may be trying to get out from under your roof, not because of the limited space but because of the pressure that you put on her to do things your way.

You say that your daughter’s boyfriend is a college graduate. What mother wouldn’t want her daughter to marry a man with that much ambition and self-discipline? You characterize his job as unstable, yet the jobs that most recent college graduates have could probably be called unstable.

We agree completely that couples that plan to marry should have the resources to live on their own. And we agree that it is easier financially when both have finished their educations and can work full time. But we do not believe that finances should be the primary reason to marry or not to marry.

You do not say anything about your daughter’s relationship with her boyfriend. Does he treasure her and treat her with respect? Have they learned how to communicate and even disagree with one another in a healthy way? Do they share common goals and priorities?

What about faith? Do both of them want God’s plan for their lives? Have they both accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and asked forgiveness for their sins? Do they agree on where to go to church and how to teach their future children about God? If the answer to these questions is yes, then the couple has a much greater chance of having a happy marriage.

So trust your daughter. And pray privately for God’s will. But use wisdom in sharing your opinions.

We wish you the best,