UACES Facebook What to do When You're Ready for Marriage, But Your Partner Isn't
skip to main content

Navigating Life's Journey Blog

Navigating Life's Journey Blog

Helping others navigate this journey of Life!

A weekly blog from the Family & Consumer Sciences Department

What to do When You're Ready for Marriage But Your Partner Isn't

by Ashley Foster, Program Associate - August 29, 2017

man and woman staring at each other with one of their arms handcuffed to each other

Many couples find themselves uncertain when it comes to marriage. Should we wait? If so, how long? Should we even get married? The average age for first marriages is now 27 for women and 29 for men, compared to 20 for women and 23 for men in 1960.



Here are a few things to consider to help you navigate the situation when you’re ready to tie the knot and your partner isn’t.


1. What does marriage mean to you?

     In earlier times couples married for reasons such as property or social status. Couples today are looking for soulmates, lifelong            friendships, pleasure, and connections.What does it mean to you? Your partner? Do you know?

     Here's the key: Do not let what your partner might say deter you from having a conversation.

2. Why is marriage important?

     You may be focusing on why your partner is not ready but are you clear on your own dreams and goals?

     Consider your motives! Are you worried about your partner's commitment? Afraid of being alone?

     Tip: If you can openly explain why marriage feels like the next step, your partner will be more likely to listen.

3. Ask open-ended questions

     Do not let your assumptions get in the way of a talk that could bring you closer or give you critical  information to figure out your          next steps.

     "I'm not ready." is a start, but seek the "why". Is it because of finances? Hurt Underlying fears about marriage? The length of the         relationship?

     Tip: Put defensiveness and criticism aside.

 4. Do not compromise your values

      What are you willing to be flexible on, and what feels non-negotiable?

     Seek to understand your partner's perspective and give them a chance to be honest. You may be surprised.



       For more information on marriage and relationships, visit:


For more information on personal well-being, visit:

Find Navigating Life's Journey on Facebook at:



Adapted from " What To Do When You're Ready for Marriage and Your Partner Isn't" by The Gottman Institute