How long should courtship/engagement last?
#1
I’m a 20 year old guy(college Junior) and I’m interested in a girl at my Trad chapel who’s 18. I still have 2 years of college left and then 3 years of law school unless plans change. I’m thinking I’ll wait until I finish undergrad until I start courting her( just try to get to know her for now) I could start courting her next year when I’m a senior in college, but that would mean a long courtship and engagement. ( 2 year courtship 2 year engagement) I don’t think a man should get married until he has a job( that won’t happen for me for 5 more years) What should I do? How long should a courtship and engagement last?
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#2
(05-16-2019, 07:11 AM)Mr. De Wrote: I’m a 20 year old guy(college Junior) and I’m interested in a girl at my Trad chapel who’s 18. I still have 2 years of college left and then 3 years of law school unless plans change. I’m thinking I’ll wait until I finish undergrad until I start courting her( just try to get to know her for now) I could start courting her next year when I’m a senior in college, but that would mean a long courtship and engagement. ( 2 year courtship 2 year engagement) I don’t think a man should get married until he has a job( that won’t happen for me for 5 more years) What should I do? How long should a courtship and engagement last?

It really depends on the two individual people.  I think it's probably best to wait until after college to get engaged, so that you can learn about them in real life rather than the bubble of campus life, plus you aren't at a point yet where you could care for a family, so engagement is premature.

If you like this girl, I wouldn't wait two years before talking with her about it.  Two years is a lot of time for her to meet other people!  There's nothing wrong with dating for a long period of time so long as you're not wasting each other's time; rather, you're just discerning together as you progress towards a point in life where you can take that discernment further.  It would be a different question entirely if you or she were in a position to marry but you drew it on excessively for trivial reasons.
"There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church -- which is, of course, quite a different thing." -Ven. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

"Let me repeat this sentence. It is impossible in human language to exaggerate the importance of being in a chapel or church before the Blessed Sacrament as often and for as long as our duties and state of life allow. That sentence is the talisman of the highest sanctity." -Fr. John Hardon, S.J.
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#3
Pilgrim and I had a long engagement.  It went something like this:
He was a senior in college when we met and had plans for a PhD which meant he would be leaving the area.  I was a sophomore.  I knew within a week that I wanted to marry him.  We were dating a while and he started to say something about how this was all nice, but when he went off the grad school, it was going to be over.  I made him stop the car, I got out and started walking back to campus.  I told him flat out, if commitment wasn't the plan, then we were wasting our time and I wanted nothing to do with him.  He reconsidered his comments and that was it.  We had an "understanding" from that point on.  The ring took a while to follow (hey, money is tight when you are in college), but we were engaged and discussing plans for the future.

We waited to marry until I had finished college and had a job.  He had not quite finished up his course work but was getting close.  He was working at Catholic University of America at the time and so was I.  We had a long engagement in which to plan things out, get our affairs in order, and set up our future.  I wish we had taken better advantage of that time.  But we were young and perhaps a little stupid.

Can a long engagement work?  Yes.  Are there temptations?  Certainly.  But, there are also benefits.  You two can plan for your future, begin saving and working toward the things you will need in married life, create a strong prayer life together, and grow closer through that process.

I highly recommend developing an understanding with this young lady, speaking to her father about your plans and asking for permission to enter into a longer courtship process.  In a long engagement, you will need to show her in word and action that you are sincere and are preparing for married life.  This is best done by talking about plans for the future, setting up a savings account so that you are each building a bit of a nest egg, dating carefully and in a way that does not compromise virtue.  You might enlist her parents and yours as mentors in your talks about married life, money, and how you want to raise of family.  I would think there's probably a workbook for engaged couples that might be helpful.  That being said, it is probably of Protestant origins.  I have never seen much that is useful about marriage preparation in the Catholic church and it is really a shame.
My ipad keyboard hates me.  Please forgive the typos; they are unintentional.
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#4
Both excellent responses.
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I met a guy in college.  Really nice guy.  I really liked him right off and I grew to love him.  But after about 18 months I began to see that there were areas where we were not a good match, not that he was terrible or mean or anything like that, but that we saw some things very differently and those differences would have made marriage difficult.  He was, and is, still a good man and appears to have been a good husband and father, just not to me.
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Knowing someone for a long time is usually a good thing but I do recommend some sort of plan for the future.  You don't have to write anything in stone and it seems you are already thinking about this.  Good luck.  I hope she likes you back!
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