3 Reasons To Put Off Getting Married

3 Reasons To Put Off Getting Married June 3, 2024

a young couple discusses finances
Getting Married is a serious business| Courtesy Pexels

There is a certain amount of “sunk cost” in any relationship that has turned sour. This leads us to stay in longer than we should, not wanting to “lose” what we perceive to have already invested. However, it is important to know when to cut and run. We have to at least take a step back and survey the situation more fully. Why should two people think twice about getting married?

Society Infatuated With Love

As a society, we love romance. We love getting into relationships but not getting out of them. There is something about being in a romantic relationship that makes us feel valued. This gives the relationship some staying power, even when it maybe shouldn’t. From the outside, though, sometimes it is easier to see things clearly. We have all experienced this when we see a friend in a relationship that is not good for him or her. It can be embarrassing and painfully difficult to broach the topic with them.

I remember a friend in High School, who had just started dating a girl who mentioned to him that she might be pregnant. They both knew he was not the father, as that was impossible for that stage in their relationship. I remember telling him to get out; it seemed crazy to me to get involved in something so complicated at such a young age if he did not have any responsibility towards her. I narrowly escaped him punching me in the face, as he did not want me interfering in his relationship.

My experience with my friend was just about him dating someone, it gets much more serious when two people are thinking of getting married. When should two people who are engaged call it off or delay the wedding? Three main issues come to mind: mental illness, alcohol and drugs, and violence or abuse. We especially need to think about these things while dating or engaged. It is important to flesh them out before making a definitive commitment to this person.

Mental Illness

When you get married, you promise to love each other “for better and for worse.” These words sound so loving and encouraging on your wedding day, but “for worse” can get difficult to navigate. We should check out issues such as anxiety, depression, and family of origin topics now rather than waiting for them to develop later. I remember speaking to one couple about to get married – I knew the gentleman very well and expressed concern about what might happen if he were to relapse into his depression. They already had a plan and a firm commitment about what to do if this came to be an issue. I was impressed with their maturity and openness on the topic. You have to think of your future marriage as an investment and you should want to do everything in your power to make it a success.

Alcohol and Drugs

If either person is having a problem with a controlled substance, now is the time to figure it out. If you are the person with substance abuse problems, now is the time to get help. You probably have some underlying issues that needs to  be addressed before you have the capacity to truly commit to somebody. If it is your boyfriend or girlfriend who has issues, you should make sure that this is considered now. Maybe both of you have some issues to look into. In the early stages of a relationship, we are often willing to overlook some of these problems. We focus on the fun we are having and figure it is not such a big deal, or that we can simply deal with them later.

Too often, I have seen it become a big deal later. What seemed funny or endearing at the dating stage becomes a nightmare during marriage. If you are not mature enough to face a substance abuse problem seriously, you are not mature enough to make a marriage commitment. Figure it out first, maybe taking a break if needed, and then re-commit to the relationship when you are both able to take it seriously.


I wish it were superfluous to mention this topic, but violence is unacceptable in a relationship. Abuse, whether verbal or physical, is never an appropriate means of communication between two people who claim to love one another. Real steps have to be taken ahead of time so as to avoid making it a habit. Almost always, if there is violence during the stage of dating, it will get worse within marriage. Take a step back, get help, and re-evaluate.

God’s Vision for Marriage

God has created each one of us to love and to be loved. For most people, this is meant to blossom into a fulfilling married relationship. We have to acknowledge the reality, though, that we live in a world that also happens to be very broken. Take the time now so that dating is a time of deep discernment that sets up a long-term, satisfying relationship.

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About Fr. Nicholas Sheehy, LC
Fr. Nicholas Sheehy was ordained a Catholic priest in 2013 for the Legionaries of Christ. He has been involved in youth work including missions, retreats and apostolic outreach in Germany, Italy, the United States and Central America. He is passionate about the New Evangelization and formation for young adults and married couples. He is a spiritual director and retreat director, offering marriage preparation and marriage counseling through the Divine Mercy Clinic and Family Center. He is currently Executive Director and Chaplain of the Newman Center at St. Philip the Apostle Parish in Pasadena, California. You can read more about the author here.
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