My mother told me once when I was making my bucket list of things to do before I marry, “you’re not required to do those things alone, are you?” Didnt ponder much on it at that time and thankfully have achieved most of them while still being single. But, if I had met THE ONE, I would have enjoyed doing those things (travel, etc.) with him.
One needs to figure out if being married is more important than spending life with this person. Way too many people focus on getting married without understanding what that really means. If being married means more than being with this person, then one should catch the bridezilla train out and let the guy down easy.
If the other person is postponing the decision about making a life commitment and is hiding behind the bucket-list of goals — and even minimizing other person’s concern about commitment by scoffing at the “bride-zilla train” — then who’s the one who doesn’t understand what it “really means”?
People who want to be together will find ways to be together, through marriage or some other means. Likewise, people who are comfortable with the status quo but want to leave their options open will find ways to avoid committing — which is fine if they’re honest about it. In my experience, that’s quite rare. Here is what I hear : “I don’t know who I am yet. I can’t commit until I know that.”
The key word is “unfettered.” Marriage involves fetters, and if he doesn’t want them, she should also be unfettered. People who feel the pull of marriage would be well served to second-guess it and ask themselves: “If I couldn’t have the party and the ‘wife’ or ‘husband’ label and the societal imprimatur to have kids, would I still want the person? For life?”
In today’s society, living together leads to inertia on one partner’s part, while the other sees it as a step towards marriage. Cohabitation is just an artificial step/crutch that some people like to rely on to stall. Main point is to be on the same page at the same time, and not lead someone on. One needs to make a plan and stick to it. I want a life-partner, not just a wedding. If you’re too blunt, you’re giving your partner an ultimatum; if you’re too flexible, you’re not being honest with them.
Living together before marriage is “playing house”…no commitment involved and either one can walk away. This thinking attributes to the divorce rate because in modern culture so many people see marriage as an agreement not a life long commitment. For me (based on my experiences), marriage should not be something to do because your age, friends, family or society says it is time. It is a spiritual bond between two individuals that are deeply committed to the other no matter what the circumstances.
My question is should or shouldn’t people co-habitate with the expectation that it will lead to marriage? It’s as individual a decision as whether or not to have children, so if anyone who says it’s always the right thing, or never the right thing to do – listen and do as your heart desire and believing what you want to believe even if reality demonstrates that they’re wrong.
An interesting point to observe when someone is not ready for marriage: What do their friends’ marriages look like? Is it possible that the marriages around them are not the kind of marriage one wants for self? You have the marriage you make, but it does not just magically “happen” – you have to work at it and make it happen. If you are waiting for the perfect thing to just drop in your lap, you’re likely to be waiting a while. The two people in the marriage get to decide what marriage looks like, and the possible variations are endless.
In the end it’s just a word, a title, so long as you love one another – it shouldn’t matter if that title is placed on your relationship tomorrow, or ten years from now. In fact, I remember reading a CNN report last year that stated divorce rates were decreasing – due in large part to the fact people were waiting longer to get married.
“Where the heart is willing, it will find a thousand ways. Where it is unwilling, it will find a thousand excuses.” – Anonymous