Regardless of how long a couple has been dating, there’s always one person who wants the relationship to progress faster than the other. The situation is a common one, and it’s the topic of today’s question, submitted by Crystal.
April, I love reading all your posts and your videos are amazing! I’d like to see what your thoughts are about my situation. My boyfriend and I have been dating 5 years. We’re happy together and we work well. I was wondering though, how to approach the topic of marriage. We’ve talked about it before but all he says is “someday.” I would like to get married and he leaves it at that. How should I talk to him about this; what questions would be appropriate?
Thank you for your kind words, Crystal. It always warms my heart to hear that my work is helping so many people. My biggest concern about your specific question is the five years you’ve been together. Before I tell you what to say, I need to give you advice that will lead you to be better prepared to even bring up the subject of marriage.
The fact that you don’t know what’s appropriate for this conversation tells me this relationship is not as connected and honest as you may think. By this point, five years in, you should both feel comfortable about expressing your wants and needs without any concern.
First, ask yourself if you’ve been “hinting” out of fear of what he might say, or if you’ve really been grounded, strong and confident in expressing what you need. Do you truly want and need to be married to this man? If so, are you willing to walk away if he’s not able to respect your needs and give you what you want?
My feeling is that you’re afraid to ask, and so you’ve allowed this relationship to continue at a level that isn’t appropriate for you. If that’s the case, then you have no business getting married, despite your longing for it, and it may be just the idea of marriage that’s appealing to you, rather than the reality.
Whenever we want something in life, we must have a clear vision of what it is, what it will look like and how we’ll go about making it a reality. Before you speak with him, sit down and write down all the reasons why you would benefit from marrying this man and how he will benefit from marrying you. What are the exact reasons to take this next step? Again, if it’s simply because “it’s time” and it’s been 5 years, think again. It’s not a good enough reason to get married and most divorced people will tell you the same.
Next, ask yourself why he gets to be the one determining the relationship. It takes two. Therefore, it’s not okay that he brushes you off with a vague answer. It’s not respectful, and so my next question is whether this is a guy you really love?
The answer about marriage each time you’ve asked, has been the dreaded, “someday.” Why is this acceptable to you? How does it feel when you get that response?
Get in touch with that feeling and take it to heart. His answer translates into, “what you are looking for is not important to me nor are we on the same page.” Don’t fall into the fairy tale of Never Never Land and lose another five years. Have the strength and courage to stand up for yourself and pursue your personal goals.
The Big “Talk”
I’m always curious when women have this struggle, as every time I’ve put the perfect match together, there was never a problem with a man proposing (and, I’ll add, rather quickly, too). They have a conversation, sure! Everyone needs to hear their partner’s timeline and wishes. If women didn’t sit men down and say they needed to be married, we’d almost all be single. But none of the women who have married my marriage-minded clients had to push for a talk. It was a much easier road than that.
In order to get what you want, you have to really want it and be ready for the answer. This means, it’s decision time. Not on his part. On yours. You have to decide right now what is most important to you. If you’re willing to walk away from someone who is not on your timeline or doesn’t share your personal goals, this means you have truly arrived at self-confidence and true relationship readiness.
Once you’ve done your own internal work and you’re sure this is what you want, sit down and ask him what HIS wishes, wants and needs are. Forget about telling him you want to be married. Your only goal here is to ask and LISTEN.
Ask him how he sees this relationship? Does he like things the way they are? Does he have a need or desire to marry? If so, when? Just be his friend at this point. Try not to make it about you and definitely don’t get emotional. What you’re looking for here is his HONESTY. After all, do you want a reluctant fiancé who then turns into the elusive, reluctant husband? Of course not.
Don’t have an agenda here. Be brave, listen well and see if he’s in alignment with where you’re at. If not, tell him that you want more for your life and you’re ready to take that next step, whether it’s with him or someone else and that you just might be on different paths at this time in your lives.
It’s Your Life
Catching your breath yet? I know. It’s one of the scariest and most challenging things to say and to follow through on. This is why you must be confident, clear and committed to your own joy and happiness. It’s not an ultimatum. But you must be willing to stand up for your life and prepared to exit the relationship if needed. He will only respect you for it, and right now, I’m not getting that he respects you enough.
We get one chance at life everyone! Live yours with purpose, courage and integrity.
All the best to you Crystal. Keep me posted on how things go.