@jaymieandben: I was in a very similar situation. Married young despite parental disapproval, difficult relationship with mom, moved in with the guy, etc. We divorced 1.5 yrs. later. Now, I had to go through it all myself because I wouldn’t hear it from anyone else…and well, no one really shook me and said, “Wait, wait, WAIT! What the HECK are you doing?! Did you get premarital counseling? Did you even read one book on marriage? What do you think marriage means?” and on and on. I am all the wiser and stronger for having gone through that marriage, but if I can spare you some time in your life, I will try. (This is not to say our situations are exactly alike, just similar.)
The best advice I can give you, and what you probably don’t want to hear, and the most gentle way I can write it, is that if you are afraid to tell your family, then you should consider examining all the points of marriage, in all its wonderful and sometimes gory details because, psst…you probably really aren’t as ready in this relationship as you would like to think. You need to prepare yourself for the onslaught of questions as to what you are going to do as an individual and as a couple, what the foundation of your relationship is, how you will support each other, emotionally, physically, financially, spiritually. Be prepared to stand up for your heart, your mind, and your relationship, with poise and for all the right reasons. If the thought of this energizes you and makes you feel good that you’re prepared and comfortable discussing these things before your family, great! Have a talk with your family, on a bright sunny afternoon, after everyone had a nice meal together and is in good spirits. Then, after the talk and you successfully answer their questions and celebrate, journey forth! Marry!
But, if the thought of this conversation is overwhelming to you, and you can’t imagine a celebration and happiness surrounding you, listen to that inner voice screaming at you, and let that be an indication that perhaps, just perhaps, your father is right in saying you are quite young for a serious relationship. And you know what? If that is the case, there is absolutely no shame in that whatsoever. It is just life, it is just part of the process, okay? You can still grow in your relationship with this guy and figure it all out if that is indeed what you want, and better, what you need, but maybe take it a little slower until you can feel more confident about answering those questions.
What I just wrote to you, is in essence, what I wish someone had written to me 12 years ago. Good luck to you.