Marriage Maybe

22 Jun

Letterbalm No WeddingDear LetterBalm: I’m a widowed mother of two kids. I’m almost finished with college, due to graduate next June. Meanwhile, I’m working two part-time jobs. My boyfriend and I have been together for three years, and we’re now living together. I was careful to introduce him to my kids only after he and I had been dating awhile and had bonded. Now, they love him, and he’s really taken to them. My boyfriend makes very good money; he pays a lot of our bills and is generous and kind to me and the children. I really think he’s the one. The trouble is, he has no desire to be married (he’s been divorced for years). Even though he’s been honest with me about this from the beginning, he knows I eventually want to be in a stable marriage, yet he continues our relationship. I’ve brought up the subject for discussion several times, but I get nowhere. We both love each other very much. I don’t know if I should I stay in this good, solid relationship or risk everything to look for marriage.

–Waiting and Hoping

Ms. L.B. sees many women (and men) in a similar state of affairs. You’ve laid it out quite well. Your basic question is this: How much do you want to be married, and are you willing to sacrifice your current situation to bring it about? There are some variables here. If you get your college diploma and are able to take a better job, thus opening your horizons (and, maybe, causing you to be happier and more satisfied with your life)? Or, as time goes by, no matter what new personal directions you may take, you could become bitter. Or your lover could leave you altogether – which can also happen if you and he are married, remember. There are few constants in life. You need to deeply evaluate why marriage is so important to you. Perhaps you’re fearful of losing your man; you were married to your husband and you lost him. Your relationship seems strong enough to withstand serious scrutiny. You owe this to yourself and your boyfriend. Only you know what you will say to him, but if you decide to stay in the relationship, you might tell him something like this:

Harry, I’ve been so driven to get married that I think I’ve ignored the bigger picture. If everything you’ve told me is true, we have a solid relationship that means a great deal to us. You love my kids and they love you. And, you and I love each other very much. I think I’ve obsessed about marriage because I was afraid of losing you. As you know, Grayson and I had a good marriage and his death devastated me. After that, somehow I began to equate marriage with permanence. But I’m beginning to see that what we have is enduring, even without the vows. It will take some time for me to accept this, but I know you will understand. What do you say about this?

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