Brother Word,

My girlfriend and I have been dating for 3 ½ years and although we’ve spoken about marriage, she doesn’t really seem to want to get married.  Both of us have parents that have been divorced, friends that have been divorced, and marriage just doesn’t seem that important anymore.  I on the other hand seek to be married, but my girlfriend is content with us simply living together.   She doesn’t see how being married would be any different or what it would change.  Should I continue like this or forgo the relationship and the woman I love?

Sincerely,

Jumping In Place

 

Jumping In Place, let me first start by commending you.  What you are facing cannot be easy and it’s obvious it has now forced you in a position where you are questioning your relationship and its future.  3 ½ years is a considerable time and the idea that you may walk away or forgo your aspirations has to be weighing heavy on you.  But to seek an answer, help, guidance, look beyond yourself, shows your dedication. love, and willingness to do all you can not only for yourself, but more importantly for your girlfriend and the relationship.  This is what love is truly about; to sacrifice of self for the well being of others.  You have definitely demonstrated that and I commend you for your efforts.

Marriage is one of the biggest moments of anyone’s life and it is nothing to venture into lightly or haphazardly.  Marriage is intended to be the union of two people who vow to share their lives forever, until death do them part.  Hopefully you noticed that last detail, until death do them part.  I’m not emphasizing that to scare you or influence you one way or another, but I do want you to realize the magnitude of marriage and all that is involved.  Marriage isn’t for the faint of heart or weak of spirit, but for those willing and able to put in the work to build something beautiful, splendid, and fulfilling.

Above all Jumping In Place, you first need to determine what it is you want for yourself and from your relationship.  Is your desire to be married because it is your desire to do so and you have found someone who you love and can see yourself sharing the rest or your life with or is it rooted in proving your parents’ and friends’ divorces and failed marriages will not be your own destiny?  I am sure you have contemplated and thought about the ideal of marriage and your own marriage many times and replayed the various scenarios through your head, but have you considered the work, effort, and dedication required to be married?  Society has put a negative connotation on marriage and made it seem as if marriage is a failing, but I beg to differ.  Marriage isn’t failing, it’s the people that are failing marriage!  The union, what it is designed for, hasn’t changed or altered, but the reverence associated with marriage, the respect and appreciation of marriage, has diminished considerably.

Additionally, couples have varying expectations and desires for marriage and before they say, “I do,” they have already done.  Before getting married, considering marriage, many discussions should take place and there should be a clear understanding of each person’s desire for the marriage and what they plan on contributing to the marriage.  After the honeymoon, it may be too late to start “discovering” each other and learning what those expectations may be.  Your girlfriend seems to have strong feelings and thoughts about marriage that may be stemming from her own past experiences and/or fears that may be causing her hesitance or refusal to be married.  Her wishes not to be married may be as equally valid as your reasoning to be married.

Jumping In Place, before you make any drastic decisions one way or another, express your desires and heartfelt feelings to your girlfriend.  Explain why you want to marry her and why marriage is important to you. Ask her to share her feelings about marriage and why she isn’t eager to be married and is content in the state you are in now.  Please, listen to her and consider her opinion and feelings.  Seek counsel from other married couples and divorce couples and ask them to share their experiences with you as it may give you insight.  Find a married couple who would be willing to sponsor you for six months, a year, share their individual and married stories, and answer your questions.

Whatever you do, be patient.  Yes, you’ve gone 3 ½ years and feel you are now ready to take that next step, but allow yourself a little longer to be absolutely sure.  It’s obvious you love your girlfriend and want a future with her.  Take the time to explore the possibilities and keep jumping in place; it’s a sign that you are still in it and haven’t jumped out.

Peace and Blessings,

BrotherWord