Marrying For The Right Reasons?

Question: “I’m considering marrying someone I haven’t known for very long. I would prefer to wait longer, to enjoy the dating and engagement time and get to know each other better, and to make it “look better” to others. However, I’m in a precarious situation with my children (14, 7, 5, and 2) and have been unable to find work. I’ve worked as a nanny or child care provider for the last 2 years and when I was married, I stayed home. I’ve been staying with family but they’ve asked me to leave by the end of the year. Getting married means I could be home with our kids, he wouldn’t have to pay for daycare, and I wouldn’t have to put my kids into daycare where they’ve never been. Also, I’m having trouble f! inding any work at all in this economy, especially when I haven’t worked for so many years and don’t have a degree. Even if I do find work, I’m faced with pulling my kids out of their current school and sports because I won’t be able to transport them and putting them in daycare which I can’t afford. I’m a temple-recommend holding active LDS Mom trying to do the right thing for my family. He wants to do the same for his. We each have four children full-time with exes who are irresonsible and that have gone against the church. We both feel it would be so nice to have each other for support and for our kids to experience parents who are both completely committed to living the gospel. I’m torn between trying to do the “right thing” and wait until we’ve known each other longer, and trying to do the “right thing” by keeping my kids safely in a home and all that involves. Which is the more responsible, or “right” thing to do? Of course I’m praying about it also, but being in the midst of job hunting, home hunting, daycare hunting, and stress, I’m worried that I’m not adequately receptive. Either way, I’m forced to make immediate, life-altering decisions which is really tough for me. I’m a planner, preparer by nature. What are your thoughts? Thank you.”

Answer: I appreciate your question here about marriage and your intentions. It sounds like you are wanting to ensure that you are making the most ‘right’ decision for you and for your children. I would recommend a few things based upon the information you provided in your post.

I would suggest you marry when it is time, not due to making it look good or because it is convenient. As you know already, marriage is a lot of work especially if you are blending two families. The nature of the siblings and the dynamics of newly married life is a large mountain to climb. You have three children that need you and rely on you. I hear and understand your trepidation as you are needing to move from your current living situation. Providing for your kids physically is paramount, yet that being said marrying too soon or for the financial perks or to have it look ‘right’ may complicate it worse for you later if you are married and are in the a marriage you jumped into too soon. I recommend you follow your heart and spend more time dating and getting that relationship ironed out before making a commitment to him. The financial piece will work out, but may be really complicated. I’d suggest you both take the professional assessment called Relate, something I recommend to couples that are not married but want to flush out what is right for them and the relationship. I’d also recommend your continuing to pray and seek a confirmation. This was developed by therapists at BYU some time ago and has developed into its own institute.

You are in a difficult situation that is not an easy one. Keep supporting your children and continue the courtship. Post a comments post to this later and let me know how it turns out.