Dear Lola,

I am in my early 20s and desperately want to marry my longtime boyfriend who is the same age. Our family thinks we need to wait a few more years, to get established in our careers and move out on our own. However, neither of us can afford to live alone and I do not want to live with a boyfriend before marriage – our families agree with that decision. My boyfriend and I have been together for several years and see no reason to wait. We have decided to elope and told our family of our plans, and it’s been nothing but fighting on all fronts since then. Should my fiancé and I just move ahead with our wedding plans?

Elaine Elopes

A cartoon rendering of Lola sitting in a bathtub with the phrase 'dispensing advice while playing with my bath duckies.'

Dear Elaine Elopes,

Well, you’ve certainly given me a substantial amount of information to unpack and I’m doing so as swiftly as I possibly can. I assume as soon as I empty the suitcase, I should pass it to you to be filled with your bridal couture? You seem to lack a certainly level of maturity I would encourage before marriage.

Hear me out before you flip your laptop closed in a huff worthy of any teen romcom movie.

You and your boyfriend love each other and want to get married. This is a good start. You’ve known each other for years. This is great news for a lasting relationship. Then your argument starts to slide in the mud a little bit. You both live at home. You want to live on your own as adults, but neither of you can afford to do so, which means you may have some financial difficulties on the road directly in front of you. For reasons you haven’t listed, living with a boyfriend is bad but living with a husband is good – I’m guessing there is a moral component involved.

Then you have a lightbulb moment and decide marriage is the answer.

It seems to me that you want to grow up and be an adult and you seem to equate marriage with that. While marriage is definitely an adult activity, it does not make you an adult. You need to be an adult, fully-fledged with the reasoning skills to navigate the obstacles that will come. There will be many and they will seem insurmountable. I can promise you this based on watching my own humans muck it up when they’re both in need of a nap and a few less monthly bills.

Both families think you need to wait, and I think this sums up my point perfectly.

In my experience, there is usually one family who may be a bit more cautious and advise against early marriage. It’s a red flag when both families have the same reaction. These are people who know you both, who (hopefully) love you both, and want only the best for you in life. The fact that they are all voicing the same concerns needs to be looked at under a microscope by the bride and groom.

Your own response to family concerns backs up the immaturity of your decision.

Instead of talking this out with the people you love most, you decide to petulantly announce that you are eloping and that’s all there is to it. I can just imagine you flicking your hair and flouncing back upstairs to your childhood bedroom once you had shocked your parents speechless.

Nothing screams adulthood like a pink lace bedroom that your parents paid for.

If you have other trusted adults in your life, it may be time to ask for their honest opinion of your plans. You should also seek out pre-marital counseling to ensure you are fully prepared for post-nuptial life. No matter the relationship length, living with a person is an entirely new game of ‘Who Will Survive This Night From Hell’ – and it’s always best to start with a guidebook.


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