- Gender and Relationships
Does Marriage Matter?
4 stages leading to marriage
The timing of the proposal isn't all that matters
Let me say first off that I believe in marriage. I believe that marriage builds stronger families and a better society. The commitment two people make to each other, to be together “for better or worse”, is more than a promise for a future of happiness together. Quite literally, marriage is a vow.
Now, I’m not saying that marriage will heal issues couples may find with their relationship. Marriage does not “fix” a bad relationship, it just hides the bad stuff to be revisited later in life.
Marriage also does not guarantee people will grow together rather than apart. We all have ideas on how our lives should unfold and they don’t always agree with other viewpoints or ideas.
As well, children should not be the cause of a marriage, they should be the reason. If you weren’t committed to each other enough to get married before children came into the relationship then you really need to consider how much more your lives will change and if remaining together is the best solution with children in the picture.
You and your significant other need to approach marriage as the way to grow together and create a life together. Loyalty and promises of a future together, without a plan of how each of you see the future unfolding, together and individually, is not enough planning to provide a solid foundation for a marriage.
If you’re ready for marriage and your partner isn’t, you can only try so hard to change the person’s mind about your future together. Sometimes people just aren’t in the “same place” as far as the true motivations that steer the relationship and how the future is perceived.
If you push very hard in one direction you may very well push the person you care about most away. But to be fair to yourself sometimes you need to ask the hard questions to get a straight answer, or an answer you’re willing to accept.
Deciding the rest of your life can happen in a moment or over a much, much longer period of time. Love does not often allow for “weighing the consequences” or writing out a list of “for” and “against” options. But you should never feel rushed into marriage either by circumstance or by an internal time clock, or by comparing yourself to people that you know that are taking that big step into marriage.
When you decide to consider the possibility of you being asked to marry the one you love, don’t get too far ahead of yourself. Stay out of “fantasy-land” and keep your feet on the ground until the question is popped. You may have your answer ready but you do need to wait until you are asked, unless you’re the one that’s going to be asking the question.
Lead with your heart but follow with your brain. The only real options to consider are twofold:
- Will a proposal of marriage be forthcoming?
- Will I be ready to make the commitment and to answer yes or no?
Only you can provide the answer if whether marriage matters.