By: Mari Deene: I sometimes hear from women who are already living with the man who they love. And, although they are very happily living together, they are ready to take their relationship to the next level. They want the security and the commitment of being married, while their boyfriend is perfectly happy with the way that things are. And, these women can start to wonder how they are ever going to get him to marry them when he is enjoying all the perks of being married without having to officially commit.
I might hear a comment like: “I have been living with my boyfriend for eighteen months and for the most part, it has been wonderful. I love him and I know that he loves me. But, when we were first planning to move in together my mother took me aside and told me that she thought it was a bad idea. She asked why should he buy the cow when he can get the milk for free? And what she meant by that was that if I lived with him, then he might not ever be willing to marry me. I laughed at my mom when she said this. I thought it was such an old fashioned notion. But now, I’m no longer laughing. Because he has made no mention of marrying me even though we’ve had several mutual friends get married and we have attended those weddings. He always seems uncomfortable when it’s time to throw the bouquet as if he’s afraid that I might actually catch it. Sometimes, I think that he is perfectly happy living together and therefore, he’s not ever going to propose. How can I get him to propose and commit to me when he is already enjoying a lifestyle that mimics being married? He already lives with me, so what inventive to he have to commit?”
Well, he may have more incentive than you think. For example, if you can make him understand how important this is to you and why, then he may want to do it just to make you happy and secure. Or, if you can show him practical reasons that getting married makes sense, then he may respond to the perceived benefits of it. But, you have to allow for him to see these things. If you just keep going in the same way that you have, then you run the risk that nothing is going to change. So, it is very important that you make him aware of this, but you have to be careful of your methods. You don’t want to pressure him or make this process one that inspires him to begin to distance himself for you.
Letting Him Know That Marriage Is Important To You And Getting More Information From Him: It appeared that this couple was early in the process. She hadn’t really told her boyfriend the full extent of how this process was making her feel. So, it was probably time that she was careful, but completely honest. If she didn’t let him know how important this was to her, she might never act on it. So she may consider a conversation like: “if you have a minute, I’d like to talk to you about something. You know that I love you and am very happy in our relationship. But I’m starting to think that sometime in the future, I would like to take our relationship to the next level. I’d like to be married and, further down the road, I’d like to have a family with you. And it’s very important to me that the children in that family live in a home with married parents. There are some legal and financial advantages to being married also, but I am more motivated by the fact that our relationship is awesome and that marriage is just the next logical step for us. I’m wondering how you feel about this and what your timeline might be. I don’t mean to pressure you, but it would help me with my expectations if you would share your thinking with me.”
Once you’ve said what you need to say, then just sit back and listen. Because his response and his body language is probably going to give you a lot of information about his attitude about getting married in the future. If he expresses hesitation, then ask him what needs to change before he is comfortable. This gives you vital information about what needs to happen before you get what you want. Then, you can systematically overcome his objections until he’s more comfortable and willing.
Strengthen Your Relationship Without Pressuring It: Other than being honest and upfront, I believe that the best thing that you can do here is to make your relationship as strong and as fulfilling as it can possibly be. It’s so common for the relationship to become awkward and strained once this issue becomes contentious between you. Don’t allow for this to happen. Because if your boyfriend feels like the relationship lifts him up and strengthens him, then he is never going to want to be without it. And when this happens, marriage is just the next logical step.
I’d like to make one more point. Many women in this situation are tempted to give ultimatums or to tell him that if he doesn’t marry them, then they are going to move out and show him how it feels to be lonely. I actually feel like this is a mistake most of the time. Because once you cross that line, you change your relationship and he feels manipulated and threatened. This combination generally doesn’t make him want to marry you. It only makes him resent you and question the relationship.
Once you’ve shown him love and patience, you’ll want to learn how to make him willingly want to commit. If you want tips and advice on how to make him commit quite willingly, check out some of the free resources on the side of this blog. I particularly like Girl Gets Ring because it is so detailed and the author is so likable.