Marriage Imperative

17 Oct

Letterbalm Marriage CertificateDear LetterBalm: I’ve never been married, but my boyfriend went through a terrible divorce before he met me. He’s 34, I’m 28. We’ve been seeing each other for four years, living together for two. We’re great together, and we’ve always been satisfied just to be girlfriend and boyfriend. But lately I’ve realized I want to be married to him and, maybe, have a child or two. I’m in an emotional bind. I really love my boyfriend and I believe we are happy together, but I need to talk with him about my future without driving him away. What can I say to him?

–Marriage Minded

You have some serious thinking to do. If your boyfriend is not interested in marriage or children (or agreeable to children without marriage), what are you prepared to do? If you issue an ultimatum, he may leave you. You must consider how important marriage and children are to you, with and without them. Are you willing to break off a thriving relationship without marriage to reenter the dating world, mindful that a marriageable mate may not be as wonderful as your current man? It’s a risk. If you need counseling to help you sort this out, do so. When you’re secure in your decision, approach your boyfriend. Ms. L.B. suggests you add economics to the conversation, making it a heart-plus-head talk:

Stew, this is probably going to be the most important talk we’ll ever have. First, you need to know I love you more than anyone I’ve ever known. The past four years have been great. And, second, I always want to consider your feelings and what you think about things in life. Lately, I’ve realized that I want to be married to you and, maybe, have a child or two. This is a big thing to hit you with, and I understand if you’re surprised and don’t want to talk about it. I know you were burned by your divorce, but I also know that we’ve been really happy together, and I’m not like your ex at all. This is just opening the subject, darling, including considering the economic benefits marriage brings. Please, can we start talking about all this?

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