My fellow gents and countrymen, i humbly ask your advice. I find myself in a rather sticky situation in my personal life, and i need some help to puzzle out this dilemma. To summarize, i am currently engaged to a wonderful woman with a tragic condition. She has a very severe case of Crohns disease. We got engaged last year on our one-year anniversary (also my 22nd birthday), with the mutual understanding that it was to be a long engagement. We wanted to make a statement that we are more than just boyfriend and girlfriend, and felt ready to take this next- albeit intermediate- step towards a life together. Almost immediately, things went off the rails. My fiance is a very patient, intelligent woman, but she is completely under the collective thumb of her family. It may be relevant (or may not be) to mention that they are all members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, AKA Mormons. Ever since i first proposed, there has been a constant pressure to get married and have children as soon as possible, and my beloved was even coerced into setting a date for may of next year. I bore that in stride, even actively involving myself in the wedding planning, but now i can remain silent no longer. We simply are not ready to be married in such a short amount of time. With her condition, high-quality medical insurance is absolutely essential, and my current 2 jobs do not provide that. I make plenty of money working full-time for a private ambulance service and a small-town fire department, but my goal is to get on a large paid fire department, preferabley in the town i was raised in. They are set to start hiring next May. In addition, i am absolutely set that i want her to finish nursing school, from which she took a break to avoid financial trouble. She wouldn't be eligible for almost any money in federal aid or grants if we are married, and it would be necessary for her to have a good job as an RN (Being a paramedic, though immensely rewarding and well-respected, doesn't pay peanuts). Despite these facts being glaringly evident, and my having brought them up several times, her family continues to put pressure on her and me. I can ignore it, but she cannot stand the thought of going against her family's wishes, perhaps due to the culture she was raised in. Whenever i make a stand to them, advocating patience and saying that this is not the right time, they go behind my back to my fiance and say things to make her doubt my resolve and commitment. In summation, my fellow men, can you give me any words of wisdom that may belp me to slay, or at least quell, this venomous hydra?

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I think you have good reasons to postpone. Share those reasons with your fiance, and reassure her of your commitment. If you can make it all clear to her, then that's all that matters. The opinions of your future in laws are less important.

I used to work at a Boy Scout camp and every year we had one week where the LDS troop from Pennsylvania came to visit. I've seen their dedication to the ideas of family and especially faith. It's become one of the reasons I'm not a man of any religion at this point. But I digress.

You have good reasons to postpone, I agree wholeheartedly. And I'm not one to appease those who refuse to accept my positions on things, but in this situation I feel as though there might be a way for you to get the perks of health insurance AND get her family off your back.

Why not conduct a legal marriage, with papers and everything, but save the ceremonial aspect for later when you're both ready? This way, you show her family that you've taken big strides towards committing to her AND you get the perks of her health insurance. With this option you can still maintain an image of being engaged but receive everything else you desire from marriage. Just a thought that you may not agree with, but it might get your brain working.

You are in a sticky situation, my friend, and I hope it works out for you. But unfortunately, it seems as though you only have bad options at this point. It's just about picking the one that sucks the least.

Good luck my fellow man.

blah blah blah babble babble babble blah blah. 

 Her disease is utterly irrelevant. 

 Her family's faith is even less relevant.

 You're making excuses for the fact that you don't want to get married. 

 Man up and marry the girl. Or leave her for someone who will. You're wasting her time and yours. 

I suggest something along the lines of, "Babe, it's our decision.  If they want to interfere, I want you to tell them it wouldn't be appropriate to listen.  If that's too much, I'll go with you."  But not to confront; to evade.  As in changing the subject.

And set a date.  That'll prove your commitment.

As for flames here... you've shown no vulnerability.  Good for you.

Thank you very much Will. We had (upon later, somewhat terse discussion) agreed upon a date in may of next year, but we recently decided to put it off indefinately. In large part, because she had a major flare of her condition and is currently in the hospital getting carpet-bombed with IV antibiotics, fluids, immunosupressants, morphine, and blood transfusions. These flares are often triggered by excessive stress, and i have noticed that they have become increasingly more frequent (and severe) since we have been trying to plan this wedding. Perhaps that may illustrate to certain other's why good coverage is essential. One bad flare could completely bankrupt us without it.

Stevens, i had a very similiar experience with the LDS and Scouts (being an Eagle scout and a one-time junior scoutmaster), and i agree. On the one hand, I find many of their principles to be quite heart-warming, and i must admit that my fiance would likely starve without the food the church provides for its flock. That being said, being an atheist myself, i do find some other things about it hard to swallow. But, i digress. We had considered doing the civil ceremony and the publicized ceremony seperately, but not for the fact that we would have to list our married status on applications for college financial aid, and thus decrease, if not eliminate the amount of funds available to her. And, to be honest, my concern for health insurance covers only her. I'm quite healthy myself (although i know that emergencies are, by definition, unexpected), but she has no coverage of her own (she is currently on her parents' policies- three of them, to be precise). Although i know that i could bring her onto my policy when (and if) i got on with a major department, if we got married before it took effect and she was left without coverage, her weekly medications alone would bankrupt us both with blinding speed. As you said, a true catch-22.

I do know that her beliefs are not as strong as her parents' (although she did get quite upset when she realized the antagonist of my favorite video game was partly modeled on Joseph Smith). I think it is more of the culture she was raised in (the absolute fidelity to the family), rather than her religious beliefs, that have been causing her grief. As stubborn as she may be, she is extremely non-confrontational (an odd combo, i know), and i think this, combined with the importance of her family, is what is causing this gridlock. I do know for a fact that the pressure is being applied from external sources, as we had both agreed on indefinate terms originally without any reservations. I dont want her to forsake her faith (in fact, i would actively discourage such action), and i do not want to alienate her family (never good to piss off the in-laws), but i want this pressuring to stop, whatever it's cause. The stress it is putting on her is quite adversely affecting her health, and i cant stand to see her in such pain. And thank you for your concern.

Have you tried talking it out with the future in-laws?  Perhaps they can be made to see reason, and surely they don't want to see their pressure making their daughter ill.

 

Hope she gets better soon and you get it all sorted out!

Ah, once again the whole "interfaith marriage" conundrum.  Blended with steel cable apron strings.

If your fiance "cannot stand the thought of going against her family's wishes," you'll be fighting with her on that (what her parents want vs. what you want in your marriage) the whole time.

A couple of your remarks show you already actively dislike the future in-laws. 

It's ultimately your decision, and it's a toughie.  I won't advise you yes or no on this.

I missed the you-not-being-Mormon (or even Christian, or theist) in OP.  What is she?  Sounds like you're pulling one way, her family another, and she's going to pull her own way and we don't know what that way is.  A recipe for continuing strife unless she's an atheist and stays that way and she decides to have little to do with her family, which is another problem.  And a recipe for continuing strife is a recipe for continuing Crohn's disease. I'm not sure the family is the problem here.  I think the interfaith thing (bad term perhaps) is?

Edit:

Oh, I see she's a Mormon.  Wow.  This is not meant to be.  You wouldn't want her to forsake her faith, and she won't split with her family, so this strife will be lifelong, or at least until something snaps.  Like a marriage.  Ouch.

The private or unsecured loans, i'm not sure. She has no credit history whatsoever, so that might require a co-signer. That being said, we are both the type to be extremely leery of owing money we dont have. I paid for school entirely out of pocket and scholarships (which explains why most people think i look a lot older than my tender age. heh.) Currently, she is working as a CNA in her local nursing home (to call it a dump would be a disservice to sanitary landfills). She barely makes enough money to survive working 60+ hours a week, and yet i cannot convince her to move into the city where i live (she is from a small farming town), where there are more and better opportunities for one with her qulaifications in the local hospitals (much more sanitary, as well). As far as appeasing the future in-laws, well... although i generally get along with them, i am not one to "appease" anybody. In my experience, it only leads people to assume they have more control over you. I can compromise, i can be diplomatic, but i wont give in.

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