How soon is too soon (to get married)?

My boyfriend and I have been seriously dating for about a year and a half. It is my second serious relationship (I am 23) and his first serious relationship (he is 30). We have a very healthy relationship, we communicate well, we have nearly identical interests and goals, we love each others' families (and the feeling is mutual), we both trust each other completely, and we have nearly identical beliefs. Essentially, we are best friends who happen to have a great sex life.

Marriage is not the problem. We've both known for some time that we want marriage, and I don't think anything is going to change that. The problem is when.

Some background on us: I recently applied to medical school, and am currently sitting on three waitlists (MA, ME, MD) and waiting to hear from one school (CA). It is very possible that I might not be accepted. If that happens I am considering two options: (1) push back my graduation date at my current university and take more classes, (2) work for a year and reconsider options. Or...I might get in. It's a very frustrating position to be in, and although it might work itself out within the next month, I could be in an equally confusing spot on August.

He is currently working on his dissertation for his PhD. He cannot teach anymore classes as a PhD student, although he is in a position that gives him free housing at the University if he wants it. He has no physical requirements at the University however, so he is free to be wherever to finish his writing.

To explain some of the stickier parts of this situation (yes, it actually does get worse...) my family is from Massachusetts. His family is from California (we met and currently live in MA, although whether or not that is permanent is up for debate).

My family is very laid-back, and have no concerns about us "living in sin," (they lived together before marriage themselves). His family is very conservative, and would most definitely not approve.

Unofficially, we have lived together for about 9 months. I technically have a different residence but I spend most of my time at his apartment, and keep a good percentage of my things there. His parents have no knowledge of this, and although he is the one who has asked me to be there, the lying does bother him.

He wants to get married as soon as possible - August best case scenario. I'll let him explain his reasoning, and I must admit, most of it is good. For the sake of explanation, his main reason is that it would make our living situation easier: he wouldn't have to lie to his parents, and we could live together and not waste money on 2 rents.

I disagree. I would really like to wait until next summer. Here is my reasoning.

1. We are in a very difficult position right now (myself especially) and it's very difficult to (a) plan a wedding and (b) plan a life when you have no idea where you'll need to be in the next year.
2. It would be extremely difficult to plan a wedding for August, especially when you have family on two sides of the country. Although his family has some great connections, it would still be really difficult to pull off in five months.
3. He offered the idea that we elope over the summer, and then have parties on each side of the country later. This seems a little absurd to me. I would be fine with JUST eloping, but I am very against of the idea of eloping and then having ceremonies because it seems fake and unnecessary (it also makes it look like we're begging for gifts...which we are...but I would prefer that it not look that way). Also, if we do not have the actual ceremony in CA or MA, it will be very difficult to convince families to make the trip and meet each other, which is important to both of us.
4. I would like to try to consider my family's schedule (especially my parents and my brother and my would-be maid of honor) when planning the wedding. My mom and MOH are teachers, and so summer is a good time, but August might be too late. My Dad and brother are more flexible, but August is a busy time of year for them (they work for a fire equipment company and August-Sept is wildfire season). I see late June as being the perfect time of year...or possibly December/January.
5. We're both pretty broke right now, and although I'm sure our parents would help us, I would like to save a little money for the wedding. Also, we probably would not be able to have a honeymoon if we married in August.
6. His parents are totally psyched about us getting married (two of his siblings are married and one has children...and they're both younger than he is). My parents, although they love him, might need some time to adjust (I am the oldest of two unmarried children). I think they would do well with a year's engagement.
7. I'd like to consider pre-marriage or pre-engagement counseling. His siblings both did counseling before their weddings and found it really helpful and have highly recommended it. I don't think we *need* it necessarily, but it might be helpful to know where we can expect difficulties. Also, we probably could do this in under 5 months, but again, I don't want to squeeze too many things in.
8. Although we have been decided on marriage for quite some time, I want to feel like I am doing this for *us* and not for (a) an easier living situation or (b) for his parents' sake. I know that it's not necessarily a logical point, but I would feel better about this if we took our time and did it right. Even if we did elope, I want to make sure that the decision is taken seriously and not rushed into...especially given the complexities of our relationship.

So, there you have it. Again, we definitely do want to get married, that's not a problem. Also, although our ages might contribute to the problem, they themselves are not the problem (I have this fear that people will respond by saying...well he's 30 so he just wants to get married for the sake of getting married....which trust me, is not the case).

I think an ideal response would decide whether or not August was too soon, and if it is too soon, suggest a better solution.

Thanks for reading about our problems!
By erawka 14 years ago :: Marriage
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