“Ten years from now, make sure you can say that you CHOSE your life, you didn’t SETTLE for it.”
~ Mandy Hale
Unfortunately there does not seem to be a formula to determine when you are ready for marriage.
Every person and every relationship is different. There are a few things you can use to help gauge your readiness however.
When determining a time for the marriage talk, be aware of your inner emotions and inner dialogue.
Be sure you are interested in marrying this particular person, not just anyone with a suit.
- “Am I in love with this person, or are am I in love with the idea of love/marriage?” and
- “Do I feel pressured from your friends, family, or society as a whole?”
These are not good reasons for getting married.
Notice if you are able to be your true, authentic self with your partner. Don’t play games. If you are not talking to him because you think he does not want to talk about marriage, you are reading him too much. Do what feels right for you.
Remember to remain more focused on the relationship than the wedding/party.
Think more long-term than short-term and determine if this is really what you want.
If your answer is clear that you’re truly interested in marrying this particular person and it is definitely not about the idea of a wedding or labels, then you’re ready to discuss the idea with your partner.
I cannot stress enough the differences that exist in all couples.
Some people jump in too quickly because they are feeling pressured from people outside of the relationship.
Others take their time and may seem to take too long to legally bind themselves together (or never get married).
Who’s to say what is right or wrong? Only the people directly involved can make the call.
Take my relationship, for example.
My husband and I took over eight years to get married. This may seem like a very long time to some. For us, however, it was just right.
As a woman, I was told by several people to give up and move on; he’s never going to marry you.
I did not listen though because I did not want someone else. We were in it together and I was not even sure I wanted to get married for many years. We talked and listened and eventually both came to a decision when it was right for us.
Kimberly Atwood, MA, LPC, CST – www.KimAtwood.com
Bringing up marriage with a partner can be a tricky thing because you don’t want to chance sabotaging a nice relationship by bringing it up too early and appearing clingy.
By the same token if your desire is marriage don’t want to spend five years in a relationship with someone who has no heart for it.
It is important to enter all relationships with the perspective of friendship rather than interviewing, hoping or evaluating if each person is marriage material.
Practice looking at everyone as a potential friend, which will help you to relax into enjoying the moment. It will take the pressure of “are they the one or aren’t they” off.
Just enjoy the time and experiences you have with each other instead of looking ahead to the end goal of marriage. This is called being in the moment. If you are in the moment you cannot be fixated on the future.
At some point, later into the relationship but before living together the subject will naturally come up.
A simple “at some point are you interested in getting married” will give you all the information you need. Don’t ever ask “when”. Pushing doesn’t make for a happy marriage. You will be the first to know when he is ready!
If your curiosity is “when are we getting married”, again it is best to focus on the moment.
If it has been years into the relationship and still no proposal a simple “where do you see us going” is all you need. Marriage is not something that can be rushed or reasoned. For a successful union each partner has to get there in his or her own time and way.
Cynthia Pickett, LCSW, LADC – www.cynthiapickett.com
You’re in a solid relationship for a year or two and are enjoying what you have with your partner.
You see each other often and share common interests and philosophies. You are happy and want to spend the rest of your life with this person, but the subject of marriage has never been discussed. This issue is one of those relationship barriers you need to overcome. What do you do?
If chatting about marriage is difficult to broach, then communication between you and your partner is not up to par.
After all, your boyfriend has seen you during good times and bad and knows you inside and out. There should be no subject you can’t discuss in an open and honest way. That doesn’t mean you should say, “Let’s get married, soon.”
What you want to be able to do, though, is discuss marriage in general terms, saying things like,
“I’d like to be married one day and have a family. What are your thoughts on this matter?”
You could brush around the subject by expressing your feelings about a friend’s recent engagement or nuptials and listen to his response or watch his body language for clues.
If he is being evasive or sarcastic, you know that this is not a subject he wants to talk about.
What if you ask him outright, “Do you want to get married?” and he says, “I don’t know.” What happens next?
This non-committed response will give you a clue as to what he really thinks.
You will know he is making no plans for his own future wedding and that he is happy with the way things are. Your timelines are different, a common problem for couples who have expectations that are not shared or discussed. It’s up to you then, to decide if you want to stay or move on to meet a more prospective partner.
Ultimately, it’s not really about marriage.
Marriage discussions are just that — a discussion. Nobody has to propose right then or plan a wedding, but what it’s really about is the commitment you are making to each other about wanting to build a future together.
If your partner wants to be with you forever, talking about marriage, the future, family, etc. should not be a scary thing.
Instead, it should be a wonderful discussion to get clarity and some new perspective on your ongoing relationship.
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com
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