Appreciate Your Relationship, Or Push for Marriage - Relationship Advice

Dear Veronica,

First of all, I think God directing me to this site and to your blog. I see your advises are well balanced and hope you can give me one. Here is my situation:

I was a divorced mother of two beautiful children when I met my current partner. He had been divorced for nine years with no children when we met. His ex-wife, after seven years together decided to leave him. Therefore, after this awful experience with her, he hadn't been able to commit again with anyone else until we met. Two and a half years into our relationship, I get pregnant unexpectedly. All he ever wanted. We got engaged, bought a house together and been living together ever since as a married couple. He had promised we would wed after we bought the house etc. Its been almost 3 years and still nothing.

My fiance and I have a great relationship with its ups and downs as everyone else. However, when the marriage thing comes up it goes downhill. He says, that marriage is over-rated and that I am focusing too much on the wedding and not on the marriage. He says that he is scared of marriage and that we are already committed to each other and living together as a husband and wife, so why does anything have to change. Obviously, I was very upset and crying. We have been through so much and I cant understand why he doesn't want to make me his wife. I forgot to mention he is a very insecure and trusts no one. He is a Police officer for a living, so these instincts are practiced everyday. And sometimes his insecurities get the better of me

I've thought of moving on but then again. I love him dearly and my older kids love him dearly too. I wouldn't want to separate them from him as he is a great dad and partner. There is not one thing he hasn't supported me with. Recently, my sister got engaged and out of the blue he said "I think its time for us to do it too". I couldn't believe it! We agreed that would plan for Jan 2011. Yesterday, he tells me that he is thinking that May/June 2011 should be the best time, this way we can save more money and throw a big party w/friends, family etc. I got upset at the time, because I think he is trying to push the date again farther away. Family member tell me that 3-4 month more its not going to make it or break it. To take the May/June wedding as he suggested (given that he was the one that brought up the whole wedding thing) and plan for a date in these months.

He tells everyone that I am his wife and introduces me as such. So I cant understand why to I have to pay for what his ex did to him? Should I concentrate more on our life together, kids, and home than on the whole marriage issue?? And just go ahead and continue my wed plans for May?? Or am I wasting my time with him?? Will it be worth starting all over again with four kids now??

Hope to hear from you soon,

mother of 4 and confused.

Dear Proudmotherof4,

We've got a major rules here to review, and then a few solid points to explore so let's get started.

One of the tried-and-true rules I advise people to consider, is that his actions will always speak louder than his words.

Your partner bought a house with you. He's involved with your kids, and he had a kid with you. He lives with you. There is nothing you're expressing, that indicates any kind of plan of escape from him. It seems very clear he is planning his life with you. His actions speak volumes.

The words he speaks to others are fairly significant here. He introduces you as his wife. He isn't running around scoffing at the idea of marriage, making fun of your wishes and dreams, or disrespecting your role of importance in his life in any way.

He hasn't tried to make the fear of marriage thing about you, he hasn't pointed fingers and acted like an ass. He isn't covering his tracks, playing games, or vacillating on what he wants in life. He's not cheating, exploring other options, or in anyway treating you as anything less than His Future. All he seems to be doing, is building his life with you, and trying to get there.

This guy is the real deal. He's in it for real. He's your partner.

You have the relationship many women will only dream of. You're already having it. You're not waiting for it happen, you're IN it.

So take a deep breath, count your lucky stars, love that man, and let's take a look at your anxiety.

Failed first marriages are a bitch, dear. They are big, and significant, and real. You went through it, you know how painful it can be. However, what you don't fully understand is the man's feeling of responsibility. Feminists and sexists, please don't beat me up on this. But in general, there is a feeling of responsibility as the provider and protector that a man has that is just different than the woman's. His being a cop compounds this significantly. Shit happens in the big bad world, and a man wants to feel truly capable of providing for and protecting his family.

The fact that he is so hesitant, and is not taking this lightly is a blessing.

Another very significant thing is the fact that HE'S the one bringing the wedding up. Look at what that tells you: He respects you. He listened to you. He understands what you want, and why you want it. He's really trying.

One last point I want to underline is that he didn't cancel, he postponed. Even if it is because he thinks he needs a little bit more time, isn't he worth it?

I'm bottom lining it here for you, girl.

Some things in life that are really worth it take time to get. He's good to you, your kids, he's invested, he's there. He's trying. And he's showing every sign that he will not only marry you, but that this will be the final commitment for him - this one's for keeps.

You're already having the relationship you want, so the only thing at all you have to stress about is a piece of paper.

Those last few steps going up the mountain to the top are the most difficult. And the fall will be the hardest. You really need to re-adjust your focus. There's alot of "tells" in your words. You really love this man. You really are a good partner. You really have the right goal and have done the good work. It's all there, babe. I can see it. You're almost there. Don't lose it now. Any stress or anxiety you show could make him doubt his ability to provide you with a stable life. Any push you make could cause him to lose footing. I've seen it happen. 

From now on, let him bring up the wedding. Let him set wheels in motion, or tell you when and where and what. Go out of your way to tell him what a great house you guys live in, what a good provider of love and support he is. Let him see you smile, let him feel the happiness and approval. Let him see the goodness he's brought into you and your children's lives, every single time he looks into your eyes. Make sure he never feels like he's not doing enough and not doing it fast enough, ie wedding stress! 

All these things I'm telling you to do, are exactly how you feel. I'm just telling you not to take for granted that he knows and sees it all the time. Make sure he does. It's not an act, it's your truth. And now is the time to make sure every time he walks through that door he sees the good work he's done by you.

And please write back next summer to let us know how lovely the wedding was.

Face Tomorrow - Worth the Wait

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