For so many of us out there in long-term relationships, everything feels at peace. We’re settled, and happy, and we’re too busy celebrating our Tinder-less lives to worry about much else in the world. But no matter how you define your relationship, whether you’re partners in crime, soulmates, best friends in love, or long-term lovers, there comes a time when you start to wonder ‘what next?’
Although a large percentage of the millennial generation is rebelling against the traditional ideas of marriage, there are still millions of people out there desperately hoping to bag that magical ring before their biological clock stops ticking. But if your partner isn’t ready to pop the question, or has mentioned that marriage just ‘isn’t for them?’, what does that mean for you?
Maybe they don’t love me?
It’s easy for us to will immediately think that someone who won’t commit forever has logged out of the relationship for good. We jump to the conclusion and doubt everything – their loyalty, their affection, all of the promises they’ve ever made – did they ever love you at all?! The answer: no.
Every relationship is different, but the absence of marriage doesn’t always lead to an absence of love. Perhaps they’ve seen too many marriages fall apart, and want to stop that happening to you? Perhaps they don’t believe in the traditional values of marriage, and view companionship over legally binding contracts instead?
As strange as it might seem, love and marriage are completely different things. Love can mean anything – from making you a perfect cup of tea on a bad day from kissing you in the rain and dancing to your favourite song. Marriage can mean commitment, a big wedding, financial ties, name-changes and the expectations of a house, dog and children to follow. It’s a huge commitment to make, so don’t feel panicked if they’re not rushing you down the alter at the first chance they get.
What if I want to get married?
The topic of marriage isn’t one to spring upon someone with a ring in a glass of champagne or a huge public display of affection, complete with sky writing and a hot air balloon. It’s something that needs to talked about seriously – what are your views on marriage? What puts you off? Would you ever consider changing your mind?
If you want to get married, but your partner never does – this bit’s up to you. Are you willing to change your future plans for the person you love? Is being a wife or a husband more important than being with your current partner?
When the plan you have for your life, and the plan your partner has for theirs don’t match up, it can be really difficult coming to terms with what to do next. If there’s no room for compromise on either side, is it worth waiting around to see if they eventually change their mind or you change yours?
The most important thing to do in this situation is talk to your partner. They are the only one with the answers here, and it’ll be up to them, in the end, to decide when marriage is an option in your relationship.
Communicate with them how you feel, and try to raise as many issues as possible in this discussion. Do they have a lot of debt they’re unwilling to share with you? Do you not get along with their family, as is this a reason to avoid marriage? Is a conflict of location, or are they frightened of the concept of a huge public wedding? Use this time to open up as many areas of conflict as possible, and at the end of the discussion, ask them again – would you ever want to marry me?
The next step is up to you.