Dear Dr. Archer,
I recently got engaged to my boyfriend whom I've dated for about five months, but have been friends since seventh grade. We are both now 22 years old, which concerns my mother. She wants us to have a long engagement and for me to get my degree before we marry.
I am not entirely sure I want a degree. I would be perfectly happy being a stay at home wife and eventually mother. Mother also does not like that we got engaged so quickly and is concerned that we have not fought yet. I thought fighting was not a good thing. She wants me to really think this over. I feel like she is trying to make me second guess everything.
I find myself starting to question my love for him, but every time we talk on the phone I no longer second guess. Mother also commented that the ring he gave me was small and that I deserve bigger. I don't know what to do.
I would first like to say that your mother has your best interests at heart. She is being protective, which is her job, and she knows how much effort it takes for a marriage to work. I tend to agree with her about getting your degree first. What's the rush to get married?
I definitely am not of the mindset that everyone must go to college. Some teens know exactly what they want to do when they graduate and in that case I say go for it. However obtaining your degree would be a plus for you if the marriage falters. Also the number 1 predictor of a failed marriage is age. The younger the parties, the greater likelihood of divorce. So, I recommend having a long engagement, at least a year to 18 months. Also before you get married, it would be good for you to establish some independence. Once you're married, if you decide to stay home and raise a family, great. But if any unforeseen circumstances came up, you would have the benefit of a degree to fall back on.
As far as the comment about the size of your ring, Lindsey, I could not disagree more. The size of the ring by no way determines the quality of the marriage. I am here to say that some of the best marriages need a microscope to find the diamond in the ring, and there have been many rings with major karats that ended in nasty divorces.
My advice is to not only follow your heart, but to use your head as well. If this marriage is meant to be now, then it should be even better 18 months later.