I am new to this blog. I found it by searching my question. Here’s the thing, I have found the man I love, and I deeply know he loves me too. We have been together a little over a year. Since we started dating, we have talked about how we didn’t want to fool around and that we were both looking for something serious.
He had a past and so did I. He was in a serious relationship for 10+ years (on and off really, they broke up more times than I can count) I had been in a serious relationship for 4 years. So yeah, we were past the whole fooling around thing.
Maybe, 6 months into my relationship, we started talking about marriage and kids. I am telling you, we knew from very early on that we had found each other. Then, a couple of weeks ago, we had a conversation with his brother and “wife” (not legally married) about the legality of marriage and how they didn’t do it because of government payouts and stuff that makes no sense to me. But then HE decided to adopt this thought as if it were an option for us. NO IT IS NOT.
I want to be legally married and I want the religious marriage. We are both Catholics, so what do I do? How do I explain to him that being legally married has benefits? I am afraid he does not want to commit.
Yes, we have talked about the religious marriage. Catholic law states that the marriage must be both legal and religious. He now says that there are other ways. But not for me.
Ah, the logic vs. emotion argument!
I’ve been losing this one on the internet for 10 years now, so I may not be the best person to ask, but I’m going to give it a valiant effort. And I’m going to do it by pointing out that logic will not win this argument.
Sure, you have logic on your side.
Or you can comb through all my pieces on marriage to find statistics that make your case for you – married people are twice as likely to call themselves VERY happy, for instance.
But this isn’t going to move your boyfriend, any more than watching CNN will change the mind of a die-hard Trump supporter. Feelings are almost always stronger than facts.
Feelings are almost always stronger than facts.
Which is why you need to get to the bottom of your boyfriend’s feelings, explain your feelings, and have – pardon the expression – a “Come to Jesus” meeting about the consequences of this difference of opinion.
First, let’s establish something: your boyfriend is not “wrong” for not wanting to get married. He may or may not be the right man for you, but he’s not a bad person, he’s not foolish…he just has a different opinion. Which is fine if the opinion is that he doesn’t like tomatoes; it’s not fine if you want to get married and he doesn’t.
Your boyfriend is not “wrong” for not wanting to get married.
So, when you talk to him, your goal isn’t to “convince” him that he should want to get married. Your goal is twofold: to understand why he doesn’t want to get married (and potentially counter his emotional arguments with rational points) AND to explain to him that you do want to get married and how it feels when you hear he doesn’t.
The key here is to actively listen because his feelings are probably deep-seated. Without knowing all the facts, a guy who dated a woman for TEN years without getting married is in no rush to get married. He likes serial monogamy with an out, and he expects that to continue. So pay attention to his fears, validate his feelings, and show empathy for his beliefs, whether you agree with them or not.
Pay attention to his fears, validate his feelings, and show empathy for his beliefs, whether you agree with them or not.
And then, stiffen your spine, and lay out your side.
It doesn’t feel good when he says he never wants to get married.
It doesn’t make you feel safe, heard or understood.
It doesn’t give you confidence in your future.
It doesn’t illustrate much of a commitment to you.
It doesn’t lay out a path for you to start a Catholic family together.
Again, you are not attacking him; you are merely pointing out the consequences of his new anti-marriage stance. Still, none of this has any teeth if you are not willing to walk away from this relationship if you don’t get married. That’s the kicker.
If both of you feel stronger about your principles than you do about your partner, your relationship was not meant to be.
At the end of this conversation, your boyfriend will have to know: either he relents on his desire to remain single, or, in order to preserve his relationship with you, marriage is in his future.
This is really about who wants it more. And if both of you feel stronger about your principles than you do about your partner, your relationship was not meant to be.
Ultimately, you’re not going to win him over with a logical case for marriage; you MAY win him over with the emotional case that he will LOSE you if he doesn’t want to get married.