Navigating Life's Journey Blog
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What to do When You're Ready for Marriage But Your Partner Isn't
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.
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Adapted from " What To Do When You're Ready for Marriage and Your Partner Isn't" by The Gottman Institute