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My girlfriend and I have been together for 3 years now and have been through a lot together, both positives and negatives. We have survived (and I think become a stronger coupled) through my semester abroad, the death of her father, serious injuries, and the loss of a one of her to be 'life long friends'. We have also spent so many wonderful times together from holidays to family vacations, to the two of us just packing up and leaving for a week. I studied abroad last semester and before leaving, I hadn't even thought or cared about marriage. Sure the idea of the party sounded fun, but it was never something that really mattered to me, at least until I couldn't be with her within 5 min 24/7.

As much as any 22 year old male can possibly be sure, I know want to marry this girl! Obviously we have talked about it many times, ranging from a joking fun fantasy to the serious 'could we actually do this'. So great, all seems perfect, we are young, in love, are doing great in school, have fantastic career prospects, and life aspirations. I will graduate in December, she in May. But then there is graduate school. Both of our career goals demand advanced degrees. I will be pursuing a PhD starting next fall, and she will starting an MBA and masters in statistics around the same time. We both want to go right into our advanced degrees without starting working and trying to do them on the side. So ideally I will graduate in 2017, and she in 2016. Both of us are looking at schools in the same cities (fortunately the cities with the top 10 programs in my field largely correspond to the top 10 in her) and intend to move in together in May.

So, to get married in the next year or two, or wait until we graduate. I know she would not be mad at me for getting her a lesser ring, but like many, she has elaborate wedding dreams which we should be easily make come to fruition if we waited until we are both employed. I realize that long term, its not a big deal, but its something to consider. The big deal is trying to start a marriage while both of us are in grad school. There will be challenges wither way with starting careers or with graduate school, and I keep debating which would give us the best chance. I'd like to think that it should make any difference being married vs living together, but I am sure it does. I also feel like getting married at 23-24 would be more fun than 27-28. Our friends will all still be young, without kids, and we love to throw parties and have a good time.

So should graduate school be a deciding factor in putting off an official marriage for 5+ years?

Thanks for your help in this confusing time!
 

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Neither of us are, but our desired industry/business jobs require advanced degrees.
 

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Just make sure you've done the CBA on that backwards and forwards. As far as being married and in school, it's fine. Two can live together cheaper than two living separately. Fulfilling your GF's wedding fantasies is the responsibility of her parents, so that should not be a consideration. I'd say go for it now.
 

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Since you sound like starting a family isn't going to happen until you finish your schooling, I'd say wait. 22 is very young and I know she seems like the center of your world and you have certainly coped with a lot of stressors that can undo a relationship. But your love isn't going to fade based on a marriage certificate. Regardless of the big wedding, I suggest waiting.
 

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23-24 is a young age to be married...especially since you're both still studying. And don't rely on her parents to foot the bill...this is not the 1950's.

By all means wait! 27-28 is not too old to party ;)
 

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if you have to question it

DONT do it

marriage at that age works for plenty of individuals who are on the same page and not tied down by things. Heck for some it works really well they are married and in graduate school and i don't see the issue if there love is a true consummate love and genuine.
 

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My son is probably in the same position as you are.
If the relationship feels right and you are both ready to marry, I think it is a good idea. I'm a student and I know how stressful it can be. Being in a mutually supportive exclusive and sanctified marriage can be a boon not a bust in terms of academic achievement and a sense of solidity. The downside to not getting married would be that you MIGHT grow apart during graduate school and start having fantasies of other lives, due to the influence of being in different programs at different schools. The world is tough enough as it is. I think if you feel like you should be married, then you should. It would have been good for me to be married earlier. That is when I had my most solid relationship that could have lasted. But for some reason I thought I couldn't be married in college, which was a dumb assumption. I think my son will probably get married before starting grad school, and I honestly don't see anything wrong with that. School doesn't have a lot to do with marriage. Marriage has to do with your heart, and your home. It will be easier to make career decisions about what to do after grad school if you know you have some solid years of marriage under you, and don't have to factor in "what if's" when planning where to go and what to do. You will have the knowledge that your marriage is intact and be able to plan accordingly. Grad school takes a while and maybe you will want to start a family a couple years after that...you will have more free time on vacations in the academic life, so personally, I think it's a better time to get married, while you can establish your history together during your later youthful years. But then again, I am pro-marriage. There are certainly young people who should not get married. But it sounds like you are the sort of person my son is. And if my son asked the same question, I would give the same answer. I would want him to have everything that marriage entails during his grad school years.

But yes, if you have doubts, you definitely need to sort them out, and if you can't, then wait.
 

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It sounds to me like you've already decided that the two of you want to spend your lives together and that you are making plans to have that happen (i.e., selecting graduate programs in the same city). The reality is that the next few years are going to be pretty challenging for you two. Graduate school can be demanding -- it's not unusual to work 60+ hours a week. Graduate school can also be very social -- you can work closely with other people in your program, and since most of those people will be single, you can end up balancing your social life with the social life of you & your partner as a couple. From that perspective, the big advantage of being married is that it will force you to put the "couple" ahead of the individual needs, and you are more likely to come through the experience still together as a couple and with a shared view of the future. On the other hand, given the changes that you and your GF are likely to go through in the next few years, you may find yourself growing apart. As long as you haven't bought a house together (entangled your finances in a long term commitment) or had children together (entangles your lives together in a life-long connection), it will be easier to split up.

I think using the size/ scope of your WEDDING to be a factor in deciding when to marry is a red flag. Too many couples spend a lot of time planning ONE day and not nearly enough time talking about things that matter so much more -- are you financially compatible (savers vs spender?), are your core values similar (similar religious views? similar social views (do you know if you agree on gay marriage, environment, divorce?), similar political views?), have you talked about children and not just in the abstract (not just "yeah, I'd like to have kids some day"), what do you envision the two of you doing together in 10 years? 20 years? Do you want to travel? Do you want to "nest"?

Figure out if you are on the same page on those issues before marrying. And, if you are not ready to have those discussions yet, then you are not ready to marry.
 

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If you are both students, how do you pay the bills?
Not the OP, but I'll answer the question in general. It depends on the field. In some disciplines you get paid (~18,000/year and a tuition waiver) for doing research, in other fields you have to teach (run recitation sections for undergraduate classes, grade exams for professors), and in some disciplines you borrow the money because you know you will earn it back (i.e., law school, med school, etc).
 

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I would look at the financial aspect of it. If you get tax cuts for being married, for example - but if you're a full-time student that probably doesn't enter into it. You may get better benefits on loans, etc. if you're not married.
 

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If you are going to be together forever . . . why rush? Wait and get married when you can do it the way you both want to.

IMO 22 is very young to be thinking about marriage. Spend some more time just being students together and having fun.
 

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Thanks for all the varying perspectives!

For me the only concerns are money and time. The marriage itself does not worry me at all, but the costs definitely do. As Couleur stated, graduate students engaged in research are typically paid anywhere from 20-50k/yr depending on the cost of living in the area. Enough so that you don't have to worry about getting a second job and can focus on your studies, but not enough that you can easily drop tens of thousands on wedding. On top of that we will be getting an apartment next summer and will need money for moving expenses (moving either 800 or 2800 miles depending on the school program I accept and basic furnishings/house hold necessities. We both live in furnished dormitory style housing now and eat at dining facilities on campus most of the time so we literally have nothing in terms of kitchen necessities, vacuum cleaner, furniture, etc.

So financially, a near term wedding would require us to invite only a few select guests (fully invited family out to first cousins alone would top 150 guests) as neither of our parents are in a financial position to significantly contribute. I feel that it is important to include those who have gotten you to where you are in your relationship and with everything we have gone through together, that list is approaching 200-250 people, otherwise the wedding is just a slip of paper in a filing cabinet. I want those important to us to be involved. So unfortunately, money is a huge stumbling block, with everything else we need at this point in our lives.

However, we are the kind of people who like to make a commitment and go full throttle with it. So the idea of waiting 5-10 years is very stressful. Especially if my degree ends up taking a few more years, and then our jobs move us again, by the time we settle down to have enough time to actually put this together, it could easily be approaching 10 years! I feel like under ideal circumstances with parental financial support, a 2014-2015 wedding would be perfect. Enough time for us to officially move in together, get situated with grad school, and join some new social circles.

So, in summary:
-I have no fears or doubts about getting married
-money is a concern, mainly in being able to afford a ceremony/reception what we will be able to invite our families and friends who have met so much to us over the years.
-having a tangible goal in sight is comforting

Oh so conflicted...I cant even count how many times we have gone back an forth with this only to change our minds the next day!
 

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I think using the size/ scope of your WEDDING to be a factor in deciding when to marry is a red flag. Too many couples spend a lot of time planning ONE day and not nearly enough time talking about things that matter so much more -- are you financially compatible (savers vs spender?), are your core values similar (similar religious views? similar social views (do you know if you agree on gay marriage, environment, divorce?), similar political views?), have you talked about children and not just in the abstract (not just "yeah, I'd like to have kids some day"), what do you envision the two of you doing together in 10 years? 20 years? Do you want to travel? Do you want to "nest"?

Figure out if you are on the same page on those issues before marrying. And, if you are not ready to have those discussions yet, then you are not ready to marry.
:iagree:

People focus way too much on the wedding and not as much time on what marriage will be like. The wedding is one day, while marriage is a lifetime. My husband and I are newlyweds and I am in my last semester before I get my degree. We didn't want to 'play house' and wanted to be together for life, already having discussed the above issues/topics, so we got married this last summer. While it would have been fun to spend a bunch of money to make our wedding "spectacular", we didn't have the money to do so and made sure to live within our means. Yes, we didn't invite everyone we wanted to invite, but anyone who knows you will understand that it's expensive and I actually liked having it be more intimate with less people. It the end, if you are married to the one you love, then nothing else about the wedding day really matters. Hopefully you and your girlfriend are realistic enough to realize that.

If you have any doubts, then just wait.
 

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Having been married while both my wife and I were in grad school, I can say that it worked well for us. The major issue is coping with high stress, long hours researching, and limited finances. Any couple must realistically think these stressors through as they can have a large impact on a marriage. Couples who set clear boundaries, to protect their relationship, and make time for, as well as those who can cope well with stress can make this work. Remember, high stress and anxiety can make us default to more primitive levels of functioning which can negatively impact marriage. To make a decision, carefully assess how you both cope with stress and anxiety, and what happens to your relationship in times of high stress.
David Olsen, Ph.D, LMFT
 

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Wait until your over 28 to get married. Most people change dramatically in their late 20's. You are obviously a smart guy but somehow you think you can beat the overwhelming negative odds on marrying young. Look up the stats and study the reasons why young marriages fail. You are not immune regardless of your feelings now.
 

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Wait until your over 28 to get married. Most people change dramatically in their late 20's. You are obviously a smart guy but somehow you think you can beat the overwhelming negative odds on marrying young. Look up the stats and study the reasons why young marriages fail. You are not immune regardless of your feelings now.
that's probably the worse advice i've ever seen on here. Infertility starts to become an issue.The optimal time for childbirth for women (non-PC) is 14-25. Even the version of truth that's palatable to today's society says 20-35. Which is preposterous given the aforementioned age related fertility declines. As the Stones said, time waits for no one.
 
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