(Closed) Should Personal Goals Come Before Engagement?

posted 4 years ago in Waiting
Post # 16
62 posts
Worker bee

beemyhandsome:  I think the one goal that needs to be met is for each person to have come into his or her own, which means a well-developed sense of identity and values, financial solvency (not necessarily wealth), and a life that is personally satisfying. That way, both people are whole and functioning and are bringing something into the marriage other than need or dependency. 

Everything else is…whatever. I plan on having another several decades on this planet and will never stop setting goals for myself. If I wait until I stop growing to get married, I’ll never get married. I don’t understand people who think they have to be in their dream job and have 200K in the bank and a passport full of stamps before they can “settle down.” I have traveled abroad several times with married girlfriends. I finished my first master’s degree several years ago and had many married classmates. I’m finishing my second with even more married students around me. If I find the right guy before I finish my doctorate, I’m not going to delay marriage until I graduate. I see the point in waiting until some short-term and completely engrossing/exhausting period of your life has passed so that you can actually enjoy the newlywed stage, but I don’t see why people feel the need to be finished with all post-bacc education, be at the pinnacle of their careers, and own their own home + nest egg before having a partner in life. Sounds like stalling.

Post # 17
2238 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

beemyhandsome:  I don’t believe that being married or engaged stops individuals from seeking personal or professional goals. My Darling Husband and I got engaged when he was in his first year of law school, and I went back to school soon after. We both pursued our career interests while living off student loans and now, my salary. It’s not a lot, and we don’t have tons of savings, but we do just fine. Luckily, Darling Husband is graduating in about a month and has a very well-paying job lined up, so our priorities will (finally) shift towards more financial-oriented goals. 

I don’t feel like being engaged or married inhibited our abilities to do anything or to pursue anything. I would have been upset to have had to wait to get engaged until he finished school – that would have been 8+ years of dating for us.

On the other hand, we were lucky to have families who paid for our wedding. If we hadn’t had that, I don’t know if we would be married right now – or we just would have run down to the courthouse one day. 

Post # 18
161 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 2016

I think it is highly dependent on the unique situation. I don’t think you necessarily need to save for a house and have a down payment ready before you get engaged; plenty of couples live the apartment/rental life for a few years. As far as finishin college goes, I don’t know that there’s a right or wrong answer. I think factors such as how long you have left, how easy it will be to get a job after finishing, etc. should be considered.

I am almost in my last semester of nursing school (four more weeks!!) and we’re getting married this December. I take my exit exam in November, get pinned December 15th, get married Dec. 31st, and take my boards in February! *phew* It’s a lot, but we have been together four years and have a son together and I have my daughter who I had at age 17, so it just makes sense for us. We have lived together for two years and support ourselves. So I think if the couple is independent and financially stable, goals such as the ones you listed don’t necessarily have to come first.

Post # 19
4253 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

In my opinion financial independence, like someone mentioned above, is super super important.  Being able to pay your own bills and to support yourself without outside help is so very important.  Plus I would say that finishing school is pretty important too, ESPECIALLY if the couple are teenagers or early 20’s.  It’s one thing if you’re in school in your mid or late 20’s or later on in life…then I don’t think it’s quite so important to finish school first.

Overall though if you wait to accomplish everything before getting married or even engaged you will be waiting for a long long long time.

Post # 20
1838 posts
Buzzing bee

It depends on the couple and the goals. I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all approach to this. Some couples could get married at 19 and do a fantastic job of supporting themselves financially and emotionally through college and using that experience to pave the way for a future of mutual reliance and support. Some couples are overgrown children at 30 and can’t handle supporting themselves at all, financially or emotionally. Being ready for marriage is all about where the relationship is with regard to moving forward into a life together. Some are ready to do that, and do it in style, at a very young age without many of the goals you listed having been accomplished. Some have accomplished those goals, and aren’t ready for marriage. So yeah, it really just depends.

Oh, and your list seems a bit class-driven — there are plenty of successful marriages between life-long renters without degrees who have jobs that they aren’t going to be “promoted” in. 

Post # 21
220 posts
Helper bee

aworldelsewhere:  Yes. Your post x 1,000. You wrote that so perfectly I just deleted my brain drivel. “Both people being whole and functioning” are key. A lot of goals can and are accomplished together in marriage; however, self sufficiency (being able to take care of yourself without outside help: parents/family/friends/partners) and having a fulfilled life is paramount before getting engaged in my book. Timeline for people will vary so it is not wholly dependent on age, education and career.

I’m glad I waited and pursued my passions and wants before becoming engaged. My pursuits a few years ago were very selfish and ego driven. Now, I am a better team player and can look at the bigger picture while still chasing after personal goals which makes me a much more thoughtful and engaging future spouse. 

Post # 22
400 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2016 - Harn Homestead

beemyhandsome:  I did everything by myself except for getting promoted/finding a better job. I saved for my house and bought it for us, we both had found our own jobs before we moved and then we had both already finished college before we were engaged. We are now working together on saving for a bigger house one day, being the best we can be in our jobs so that we can advance and working on things like our future. But honestly any way you go about doing it, you did it and thats what mattered.

Post # 23
1320 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

beemyhandsome:  As PPs said, I think that making the decision to be married is a decision that only a responsible adult could make. You should be able to provide for yourselves and not be depending on parents to pay your rent, phone bill, grocery tab, etc. (aside from the occasional help in an emergency situation, which happens to the best of us). You should be mature enough to have tough conversations with each other regarding money, goals, family life, sex, religion, values, household chores…the list goes on. In my opinion, after that, I don’t think individual goals must be accomplished prior to marriage. If you are a real team, you will support each other in those endeavours.

I honestly never understood why people think that if you get married, you’re suddenly going to forget about your dreams to finish school or get a good job. It makes zero sense to me that parents always use that argument with their children – why would it change anything in a negative way?? I don’t think it matters if one person still needs to finish school and find a job if the other partner can support both of you….or if you both work part-time jobs and manage together. It can be exciting to experience these big life goals together and strengthen you as a couple.

(Now, getting married and then pregnant really young because you didn’t have that mature conversation about how sex and kids fit into your life will definitely kill those individual dreams. That’s a whole different thread.)

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