Question:

My boyfriend and I have been dating for more than three years. Purity is draining me and I've suggested we get married as soon as possible. You said this in an answer to a question:

"One of the interesting things I've learned in life is that if you look at the hard numbers, no one really can afford to marry or have children. Yet with every marriage and every child, couples find ways to make what seems impossible on paper to work in reality. Much depends on your motivation".

In our case I find it impossible to get married 6 months to a year from now for the following reasons:

  • Neither of us has a job, so there is no source of income to either save up for the wedding or rent and decorate our place.
  • His parents, who live very far from us, are paying his costly tuition and once he graduates might not be able to afford to come.
  • My boyfriend has suggested we wait a year and a half longer, so he can save up to pay for both the wedding and the expenses of his parents and siblings to attend the wedding.
  • I plan on pitching in once I have a job as well. But in all honesty, I highly doubt we'll be able to accomplish this in a year and a half and I no longer want to wait!

The main problem: my family is where we live but his isn't. I believe it would be ideal for both families to attend such a celebration but our situation is so complicated. I don't want to fall, but I'm exhausted. What to do if one set of parents and siblings can't afford to attend? How to survive when there's no income? Where do we go from here?


Answer:

When my wife and I married, we lived in an area far from both of our parents. Since her parents were not financially able to travel, we chose to have the wedding near them. My parents love to travel, so it wasn't a bother for them. It wasn't convenient for us. Some things were difficult to arrange, but it was worth it to us to be able to have her folks there. If you want to have both sets of parents there, talk to both about where to have the wedding that makes it doable to both families.

The thing about weddings is that you invite those you wish to be there. Give them time to make plans, but whether they come is up to them. It is not your responsibility to pay for people to attend your wedding. This is an example where you have added unnecessary costs to your wedding plans, making the price tag so high that you think you can't afford to get married. The reality is that these things are extras that are not required for a marriage.

The lack of income is something within your control. You don't have to wait until you graduate from college to get a job. The fact that you are at a marriageable age and are completely dependent on someone else for all your expenses is not good anyway. Get jobs and figure out if you can live cheaply on your own with your combined salaries. Likely you'll have to do without a lot of frills, but you're young. Put your energy to productive use.

It doesn't take a year to save up for a wedding if you are willing to be innovative. In Should we marry now or when we are in a better financial situation? I used the example of my own wedding to show how we managed to pull off a wedding and honeymoon for less than $500 -- true, it was several decades ago, but there hasn't been that much inflation. Most people overspend because they think it is expected. At a bare minimum, you can get married at the county courthouse for under $100 in most places. You can elaborate from there, deciding what you really want to pay for, what you can do without, and what you can substitute with inexpensive alternatives.

Meanwhile, set a date for the wedding. It is easier to resist temptation when you know the end date. Holding off with no end in sight is harder. But if this is still too hard to resist, the ultimate fall-back plan is that you can get married at a county courthouse and then have the fancy wedding later for your family and friends. I've done several weddings where the couple did this rather than sin before God.