Married in One Year: Impulsiveness vs. Pragmatism


savethedate

Every time my husband, Alex, and I hear someone superficially imposing a proper dating or engagement timeline for getting married—we cringe.

Only one year had passed from the time Alex and I met online on CatholicMatch to the time we were married. Just about every time we stick up for no-nonsense happy couples like ourselves, we’re told that we’re an exception.

Each couple must properly discern what timeline God is calling them to, but if you feel God is calling you to a shorter dating and engagement time here are some tips we have offered our friends and some red flags to watch out for to avoid impulsiveness.

Strengthen the Relationship. The process of dating and engagement should be relationship focused instead of event-driven. Instead of focusing on all the fun you’re going to have together on your next date or your wedding, focus on how your significant other was raised, their discipline in their spiritual life, their communication style, their excitement in having your children, their work ethic, their ability to forgive and forget, and their willingness to adapt and grow with you and others.

If you’re right for each other, having fun won’t require that much effort (trust us), and the specifics of those events alone won’t lead you to sainthood. Thriving in your relationship will always require focus and work like it’s your job.

Focus on their areas of strength in virtue and character, and note all the areas that need improvement. Be honest in this reflection about yourself. If you’re having trouble identifying those areas, ask your close friends or family members for help. Be humble in accepting correction, and seek out steps towards bettering yourself. Forgive yourself, forgive others, and move on to that cherished life God so desires for you.

Prudence is often thrown around as an excuse to delay the dating and engagement process. But all that prudence says is that your decision should be carefully considered and calculated. A couple can get married in a year or less and still be exercising prudence if they have thoughtfully considered all that the vocation to marriage entails.

In our case it would have been imprudent to wait any longer, as it would have allowed us to be selfish and greedy in delaying God’s will for us, not to mention, missing out on our awesome children!

Discern Courtship Length. God doesn’t rule by a heavy hand, but through the cooperation of our free will. In the secular world, the common advice from many media outlets is to wait.

Wait until you’ve dated through the seasons (does that only apply to New Englanders?), wait until you have X amount of money in the bank, wait until you’ve had your time to party, wait until you move in together, wait until he can afford THAT ring, wait until you can afford THAT reception or honeymoon, wait until you have the down payment of your first house saved, wait, wait, wait.

Does anyone else get the creepy feeling this advice is just another way to avoid procreation, the ultimate gift of self? Anyone else sense that contraceptive mentality sneaking in, even before a couple exchanges vows?

The truth is anyone can come up with any amount of reasons to wait, and the secular world will applaud you for it. Everyone is aware of the downfall of following their passions unbridled by reason. We’ve been learning about this since toddler-hood. But are any of those reasons to wait building virtue? Are any of those actions giving glory to God above and beyond the sacrament of marriage?

Instead of asking, is it prudent to wait, ask yourself, is it imprudent to cut to the chase? Discern with the help of a spiritual director, and then decide.

These tips will not only help you in discern the dating and engagement process, but it will also help you throughout your marriage, especially as you become parents together. If you’re in the habit of waiting and putting things off, you’ll be quite shocked when you realize children aren’t capable of waiting for you to get your act together.

Accept this humility now, and that humility will pay you back in ease of parenting a hundredfold. Set the habits now that you’ll want in your marriage, and set the example that you want for your children.

Looking back eight years now, we’re so happy we didn’t take one minute together for granted.






17 Comments

  1. Carlos-977696 July 5, 2013 Reply

    What I wonder is how to discern how long should one wait between getting to know someone and going steady? What did you do?

    • Joy K. July 7, 2013 Reply

      Carlos, that is a great question. That timeline really depends on you, your openness to full disclosure, and the same for the woman in question. No woman wants to be pursued by “default”. If you’re interested, let her know! When in doubt, have a conversation with her about it. She’ll admire you for your courage.

  2. Marcus-860000 July 5, 2013 Reply

    When in doubt, delay.

  3. William-607613 July 5, 2013 Reply

    I think a lot of this depends on one’s age (which is usually related to one’s level of maturity).

    There is nothing hasty about two mature Catholics who are serious about the Faith being married within a year.

  4. Rob-593818 July 6, 2013 Reply

    All this discernment and waiting, and trying to find mr or mrs. right, and I don’t want to settle or I don’t want to make a mistake, or I need to find my soul mate. Yes this all comes from the contraceptive mentality and self centeredness. Not to mentioned a brokenness experienced by many from childhood because of what the culture of death has wrought.
    All of this caused by the evil one to keep good Catholic couples from marrying and producing God lead children to combat the culture of death in the future.

  5. Bernie-971229 July 6, 2013 Reply

    I am the child of a couple who became boyfriend and girlfriend the last day of July one year, and married on April 21st the following year. My dad had already proposed in September, and it was only “delayed” because of job issues. They are facing their fourth decade together, and still going strong. The keys to their happiness have been (a) knowing that Christ is between them, and (b) being selfless and focusing in pouring all priorities in their children and in one another. The whole idea of delaying marriage “just because, because”, makes little sense. If you meet somebody who is worth your time and attention to consider them your significant other, then you must be active in finding out whether this person is somebody you would be happy spending the rest of your life with. As soon as the answer shifts from “I don’t know” to “not really”, you have to realize it is time to break up. Similarly, when the shift goes in the opposite direction, you need to start contemplating marriage seriously, and to discuss it maturely, as a couple, and to plan accordingly. This is why, to me, articles like this one are so important. It is crucial to come to the realization of the importance of “dating for marriage”. There is nothing hasty in marrying in one year or less. Indeed, unless there were other out-of-hand circumstances preventing two adult, free, mature, practicing Catholics in a serious romantic relationship, from marrying, I would be extremely wary of any such couple who does not at least have plans for marriage one year down the road.

  6. Lisa-933589 July 6, 2013 Reply

    Ahhh, this is a refreshing approach and article especially for the spiritually mature & compatible couples- . Thank you, Joy!

  7. Elissa-829089 July 6, 2013 Reply

    Thanks for sharing your perspective, Joy. I think you’re right that the timing is bound up with each couple’s circumstances. I wouldn’t say it’s connected to the contraceptive mentality, though — I think it’s coming from people’s fear of making a mistake and ending up with the “wrong” person. A lot of people don’t have a solid way to discern their choice, so they think they should go through a certain amount of time or certain experiences (living together) to make sure of it. I”d say that pre-Cana counselling (or whatever the equivalent might be) is a much safer bet.

  8. Esther-532964 July 7, 2013 Reply

    Excellent story! Many Blessing to the both of you and your family!! Please pray for all of us still looking for our CM match. I have to keep praying to find my match some day!

  9. Lynea-297530 July 10, 2013 Reply

    Age does not necessarily bring maturity, unfortunately. Also, there are at least as many men that want to rush to the altar as women. That can definitely be a red flag. Today, there are many “Utilitarianists”* (*See, “Love and Responsibility”, by the late Pope John Paul II or Ed Sri’s summary of it), who see their potential spouse as an object — a tool to be used for their happiness, and take for granted their whole being. That would not make for a happy, holy marriage.

    The article was very good. Thank you, Joy, for writing and sharing this.

  10. Jason-862068 July 10, 2013 Reply

    Alright Joy way to bring the heat with this story. Eight years for you and Alex nice. I love that I see the CT young adult groups as such a force and on Catholic Match I miss all you guys. Bryan and yourself writing blogs here. I got married in about a year and thought we had all family issues settled. She was to work less, no more weekends, her make friends at the parish and get involved there or in a community and maybe homeschool. None of it happened as she was a fearful, critical, unforgiving, anxious person who hid in her work from family life even after having two kids. She then left and lived with her Mom and had her take care of the kids while she worked traveling all the more. The problem was I was blind to see red flags of how weak her upbringing, mental toughness, actual devotion prayer time was so It caught up later were the facade fell and she remains a superficial sales person in all aspects to this day. Good conversation!

  11. Lucia-551179 July 12, 2013 Reply

    I probably would have gotten married in a year to my current fellow, but guess what? Life happened. We’ve had my father’s death, my mother’s illnesses, major job issues. In fact there is another crisis going on in my life as we speak. I can understand criticizing some of the conditions people use as excuses for delaying marriage, but at the same time there are those significant issues where marriage will suffer if not properly addressed beforehand. Hopefully someday the crisis I’m in will resolve and I will be able to get to the next step. It is important to not discern too hastily about marriage, especially when the conditions aren’t there to do it propertly.

    • Joy K. July 12, 2013 Reply

      Developing coping skills for major life stressors is incredibly important to develop before getting married! The stress doesn’t stop after you’re married. Good luck to you, you’re in our prayers.

  12. Rose-508587 October 12, 2013 Reply

    How do you reconcile a personal “timeline” (if you are healthily moving quickly) with churches which require a 6, 9, even 12 month notice before the priest will marry you?

    • Joy Kubik February 14, 2014 Reply

      Meeting with the priest who knows your personal circumstances can change that. I don’t disagree with the minimum 6 month requirement, but I know exceptions have been made, especially for the military.

  13. Ann-69118 January 24, 2014 Reply

    My dad decided to marry each of his wives in less than a week. 1st marriage to my mom was 29 years till she passed and he then married by Stepmother and they have been happily married for 10 years. It was less than a year engagement for both marriages. I’d say timing, maturity and the personality determine the pace versus a set engagement period.

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