My boyfriend and I have been dating for over two years. We're both 20 and juniors in college. We met our first week of college and began dating a week later. I knew that I loved him a week after that. Four months later, I knew he was the man I wanted to marry.
Early on, we put up a lot of boundaries in our physical relationship. Looking back, I am so thankful that we did. We have saved ourselves from a lot of hurt and guilt this way.
Going into college, I thought that getting married in college was the worst idea ever. Now, I'm not so sure. Our friends and mentors at church have encouraged us toward marriage, as well as our friends at school and from home. We have both individually asked our parents about how they would feel about us getting married while still in college, and none of them support the idea. They all want us to wait until we graduate.
And here is the problem, and where I'm seeking guidance. How do we honor our parents and not burn in lust? We are very physically attracted to each other, and keeping up our boundaries is a lot harder than I ever imagined. I feel like either we're fighting because we're frustrated with each other and our situation, or we're tiptoeing up to the line of where we agreed we physically wouldn't go.
It's getting hard to be with him, either because we start arguing, or we have such a great time I want to break down and cry because we have two more years of this to go before we can get married.
Are we mature enough to be married? Is that even possible? Is getting married in college a bad thing to do? How do we honor our parents, while not burning in lust?
I really am confused and earnestly seeking to do the right thing.
It's not always easy to answer these questions because email can only reveal so much about a person and her situation — there's typically a lot that doesn't get communicated. Still I'll do my best to suggest some principles that may help you navigate your situation.
To answer your first question, there's nothing intrinsically bad about marrying while in college. For you it may be an unwise thing, or a premature thing but nothing about going to class and studying every day disqualifies people from marrying. Whether and when to marry has more to do with your character, maturity and ability to support yourselves apart from your parents' income than the fact that you have class at 8 a.m. every morning.
It may be unwise for some couples, but for others, it's a good decision.
You say none of your parents supported the idea of you marrying before graduation. Why not? Have you given them evidence that you will be able to make a home together, including holding down jobs that will provide for your needs while still making progress toward your degrees? If you haven't, that would be a good place to start. Maybe they're reluctant to give their blessing because they realize the improbability that you'd be able to cover your expenses and finish school (including tuition) without their financial support. Remember, once you marry, your husband would have the duty to leave father and mother and cleave to you. Likewise you would be under his provision and no longer under your father's. These are no small concerns.
If their reluctance is not financial but relational — they're concerned you're not mature enough to marry — what might you do to demonstrate otherwise? Spending more time together with his family and yours might allay their fears. And it would have the added benefit of cooling off those passions you're struggling with.
As I mentioned earlier, I'm not certain about a lot of your situation and can only suggest principles for guiding you and your boyfriend. However, of one thing I am certain. You must resist the temptation to fall into sexual sin and then blame it on your and his parents for not letting you marry. If you are burning, you must stop the behavior that inflames those passions. If you decide to honor your parents by waiting till after graduation to marry, it is possible — and required of you — to remain sexually pure. It won't be easy, but there are ways to help you make it.
First, you must be vigilant about how, when and where you spend time together. If you are in the company of others, you're not likely to end up doing things that are reserved for married couples. So spend time together with friends, with family and in public places. Also, be careful about being together late at night. The more tired you are, the less reliable your defenses will be. That includes napping together, midday, as well. Again, if you spend time together in the company of others, especially trusted friends and mentors, you'll be making great strides toward the altar in a way that is God-honoring.
One thing's certain: crossing any boundary into sexual activity will only confirm your parents' hunch that you're not ready to marry. The more restraint you demonstrate, the more you prove your ability to make adult decisions and take on adult responsibility.
It's a great gift to marry with the blessing of both sets of parents and I commend you for caring about what they think. They often have insights into our romantic relationships that we aren't able to see for all our emotions. When you stop creating opportunities for sexual temptation, you'll be able to think more clearly and may be able to see some of the reasons they think it best to wait. But consider also that as they observe you exercising restraint, they may recognize your growing maturity and be more open to your marrying soon. If they don’t however, and you do have to wait till graduation to marry, cooling the passions will make the waiting less agonizing.
May the One who made you strengthen you for the waiting and the growing.
Copyright 2005 Candice Watters. All rights reserved.