Young Marriage

What advise would you give to a young college couple attending same school, no debt, resume for high income and bright careers. Boy is graduating early and starting a well paying job, hopes to do MBA in few years. His girlfriend graduates year after, will apply to dental schools.

They are willing to make sacrifices to stay together. They are getting mixed advice about marrying or waiting after his graduation and move. They don’t want time and distance to kill their chances to build a life together.

If it’s a strong relationship and meant to be, it can actually get stronger over time, even if there may be some distance separation. People these days can expect to live a lot of decades. It’s good not to rush such an important commitment.

Many of us change quite a bit from when we are a student to when we are working full time and figuring out our work/life balance.

That said, the couple will likely make the decisions they feel are best for them.


Which sacrifices? Sacrificing being in the same city for 9 months while one finishes school, or sacrificing a good school for a lesser school? (also, are the gf’s parents paying for dental school?)

The reality is that if they aren’t asking for advice they probably won’t listen to any! but imo, this is what living together is for.


How long have they known each other ?

How long have they been in a relationship ?

What type of parent role models has each experienced ?

How do they know that each is willing to make sacrifices to stay together ?

Would one forego dental school or MBA school or a job promotion in a highly desirable city in the name of the relationship ?

Do they both want children ?

Any religious concerns or differences that might have an impact upon the relationship ?

Has either or both had a prior serious relationship ?

Do they trust & respect each other ?

Are they best friends ?

Do they want to get married out of fear of losing one another ?

Since their financial situation appears to be concern free due to lack of debt & great earnings potential, will they be able to handle dental school & MBA school without introducing significant debt into the relationship ? What sacrifices will have to be made to remain debt free or to incur only minimal debt ?

If a pregnancy occurs, then what ? Is either willing to sacrifice a career ?

Or do they need more time in order to get to know each other better ?

Not sure that anyone can give definitive advice beyond recommending marriage counseling prior to the marriage due to their youth & due to the upcoming significant life changes each will be experiencing soon.


H and I would have “failed” many of those questions. Our 41st anniversary is approaching soon…

That said, I would advise them to wait until they are out of college to marry.


There really are not right & wrong answers to the questions posed in my post.

The purpose of the questions is to encourage the two young adults to think about these issues.

Sometimes the answer may be as simple as I don’t know. That is fine. It’s honest & it raises awareness.

Even the question “Do they trust & respect each other ?” has no right or wrong answer. Plus,any answer given today may change over time as the individuals get to know one another better and in different circumstances. This question is asked in order to raise awareness that these are considered to be important qualities in a healthy relationship.

P.S. Hopefully,an experienced marriage counselor can use methods to assess each individual’s readiness for marriage / long-tern commitment.

FWIW An interesting question might be: Do you believe that there is only one perfect mate for each person in this world ?

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What’s the hurry? Why not live together for few years to get to know each other better. They will mature quite a bit in the next few years.
If they are not going to have children in the near future, I do not see any upside of getting marry so early.


If a pregnancy occurs, then what ? Is either willing to sacrifice a career ?@Publisher

Is that a serious question? Why would either need to sacrifice a career for that?

D and SIL are both Dr.s. D is pregnant and is a very capable surgeon. Your assumptions are very outdated


I got married right out of college. I moved from my parents’ home to live with my then husband. I never had a chance to live on my own to be independent. It wasn’t until I got divorced in my 50s that I began to figure out what I liked and didn’t like. My ex was very set on what kind of food to eat, how to decorate our place, etc. I am sure he felt I was very domineering in other aspects of our lives.
I think it is important for young adults to have some time to find themselves before they commit to a relationship.


Whether or not I’d advise them to marry now or wait depends on the temperament of the couple. IMO waiting until both have graduated college and are ready to live together makes sense. Being apart can break you up whether you are married or not.

But I like where publisher was going with his list of questions. We got married in the Catholic Church and had to attend a retreat. There, we had a workbook and were forced to talk to each other about certain issues. Most of them we had already discussed, but there were a few we hadn’t. I can’t remember what they were now though.

Finances. Are both savers, spenders, etc. who will do the monthly bills? Keep things separate, joint, combo?

Religion. Is it a mixed marriage? How will they raise the kids - if they want kids.

Visiting families. What are the expectations for each side, especially during the holidays. And what if their ideas don’t match the parents/grandparents. How will that be handled?

What are their dealbreakers - the issues where they will end it ASAP or as soon as possible? (Physical abuse, addiction, affairs, etc) in Ann Landers, porn and cross dressing were popular issues too. Better to figure it out now.

General advice - respect the others’ differences. And you don’t have to like the same hobbies, but you should be supportive of them. You’d want them to be supportive of you.

There will always be good times and bad. They will always do something to annoy you, but then again I even annoy myself at times. Grit through the bad. It will get better (unless it’s one of the dealbreakers!)


If it’s a good relationship, time and distance will not be a problem. Many a strong marriage has endured being apart for a long period of time before the marriage, even during the marriage. If it’s not a good relationship, then thank goodness they waited.

What’s the rush? Not that anyone can do much in regards to the young man, but if the young woman’s parents still pay for her education, they have a say in the matter. I would make them wait if I had any power to do so.


Agree, the “is either willing to sacrifice a career” is outdated. However, it is an important subject to discuss, maybe better worded as What is the plan if pregnancy occurs(nanny, daycare, relative?) and can we afford it? And, does either person expect one of them to cut back career goals and does the other person agree with the plan?

Also agree that if it is a good relationship it will survive time and distance. We never lived together but one of us moved out of state before we were engaged and then we were apart again(planned for and known) for many months of our first year of marriage.

As these are two adults, unless other adults are financially supporting either, it isn’t really anyone’s decision but theirs. If I were related to one of them, I would strongly encourage premarital counseling. We also did it as a required part of two different faiths actually—long story—but very worthwhile and helpful.


Wait, wait, wait… Not sure what the sacrifice is. Time till tell. Building a life together is great. There should be no rush. If she’s paying for Dental school that’s large money also. I don’t understand the rush.

She sets up practice where he gets his MBA. School makes it tougher than when you’re settled in a job. Just work together on logistics and it’ll work out if meant to be.

No, I have no assumptions; you are the one making an assumption about my thoughts and beliefs.

This is an example of why such a question is important.

Also, this question can involve issues about pregnancy not asked in a direct fashion. Our relatives encountered a situation regarding invitro fertilization & Catholicism that led to a divorce about 2 years ago.

At the end of the day, if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.

Wife and I met our junior yr in college (age 20) when she came to my school on exchange (domestically - kind of the precursor to study abroad). She went back to the other coast for her senior yr and then another yr of student teaching. We did the long distance thing for six years which included lots of visits, a cross country move, a break up, another cross country move and eventually a wedding. In August we’ll celebrate our 30th anniversary.

My only advice is do what seems natural. The preconceived ideas of I have to date others or I can’t date others is really meaningless. If they want it to work, it will.


I understand that many young people live together before they marry, but not everyone chooses to do that.

I was talking about this with a friend earlier this week. Her daughter and now son-in-law were both finished with their undergraduate degrees when they got married, but they were only 22 and 23 years old and didn’t live together first. Most of their friends considered them to be VERY old-fashioned.

There is no single, “right” way for adult relationships to proceed.


Where do they live? Here in the northeast most don’t marry before 30. My oldest is 25 and has been dating her 31 year old boyfriend for over 3 years, she says maybe when she’s 30. There is no harm in waiting, a break up is easier than a divorce (and much cheaper).


To me getting married when you can live in the same place seems more logical. That’s when you can ask for wedding gifts to furnish a home. If he’s moving away for a year while she finishes college then why not set a wedding date now for after she graduates and then they can plan to get an apartment/house in the same city. But if they expect to be in separate locations for all of her dental training then that may not be feasible.

My husband was 26 when we got married and I was 21. We just celebrated our 22nd Anniversary yesterday.

My advice… do what’s right for you. All marriages (and relationships, really) are a leap of faith. There’s not really any right or wrong answer and everything can work out or fall apart, no matter what decision you make. Also, there’s no single ‘right’ way to be married. A successful marriage looks different to everyone.

For us, sure it worked out but my god we were young, stupid, and had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Then we had a baby a year and a half later. Not something I’d recommend, but we got thru it together.

You hear alot about compatibility, similar life goals, etc, etc… but honestly, I think it’s more of a daily thing. Every morning you wake up saying, this is where I want to be and I’m willing to work for it. I want to be here with you more than I don’t. It’s really that simple. Everything else is just details that you work thru together.