One of the most common questions I get in readings and online relates to marriage - when will he propose? Why hasn't he proposed yet? How can I make him propose? or different variations on the same question. When you have been in a serious relationship for a considerable amount of time it seems natural to want to take that next step and get married. But what if he isn't interested in marriage? Keep reading to see what to do when he won't marry you.
Dear Tucumcari Tarot,
Dear Marriage Minded in Manchester -
I can totally understand wanting to be married, for many of us this is something that we have dreamed of since we were little girls. But the first thing that you need to know is that you are not alone in your frustrations. According to a 2020 Pew Research Center report marriage rates were plummeting even BEFORE the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019 only 44% of millennials (born 1981-1996) and 53% of gen-xers (born 1965-1980) were married. As you can see from the graph below, marriage just isn't as high up in the list of priorities as it used to be.
There are any number of reasons why marriage is or isn't happening for you. For the most part it only takes a person 6 months to a year to know if they want to marry someone, it DOESN'T take years. It can be really easy for there to confusion between "doesn't want to get married" and "doesn't want to get married to me" so be sure you know which you are dealing with. So what should your next steps be?
Start with a conversation
This one seems like it is the easiest, but honestly it is the one that most couples seem to skip more then anything else. Sit down and talk about what the idea of marriage means to each of you. For some people it means that you are in a financial secure place, for others it is a sign that you are ready to start a family. “Historically men have been more eager to marry when they’re financially secure, and women have wanted to marry when they wanted children,” says biological anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher. Others see it as the ultimate manifestation of your love. Keep the next tip in mind BEFORE you have the conversation...
Trust in your partner's feelings
It can be hard when you are talking about something so important to get emotional and want to rebutt what the other person says, but resist that impulse. If your partner is respecting you enough to be honest with you about how they feel then the least that you can do is to listen without judgement or interruption. The next thing to keep in mind also is partaking in the radical idea that your partner knows what they want and what is right for them. Just like you are entitled to your values and convictions, so are they. You are not going to bully, guilt or force them to see it your way.
Ask yourself why marriage is so important to you
Why is marriage what you are pursuing? Do you want it because it is socially accepted that this is what you do when you get older? Is it because family is pestering you about when you are getting married?
Look at your current relationship with open eyes - besides the ceremony and a piece of paper what it is that you are going to get out of getting married? There is a difference between wanting the idea of marriage and wanting the PERSON so it is important to really examine which it is that you want.
Discuss alternate ceremonies
This is another thing to discuss with your partner. Is it the concept of marriage that they are against, or is it the legal act itself that they have a problem with? Discuss if they might be open to some sort of commitment ceremony that allows you both to get a bit of what you want. It is also possible that they have heard you talk about wanting a big wedding, and that this can cause some panic about the amount of money that weddings cost. Because most men are hard wired to want to financially provide for their partner the idea of spending thousands of dollars on a single day can be hard for them to accept. Maybe an alternative ceremony will allow you to have the commitment and for him to not stress about the financial aspect.
Understand if they have fears related to divorce or loss
You can say now that you would NEVER want to divorce your partner, but the fact of the matter is that none of us know how things will go 5 years from now, 10 years from now, etc.
50% of all marriages end in divorce. That is a fact that has been around for at least the last ten years. 70% of all those divorces are initiated by the woman so it can be understandable that this is a concern for your partner, and a very valid concern at that. Money matters can be the biggest stress point on a marriage, so this ties into the info in the previous tip - weddings are not cheap, even if you DON'T ever get divorced. Divorce can be messy, expensive and really painful. When a divorce happens quite often the woman gets a considerable share of the man's assets - and 80% of the time the woman gets sole custody of any children. The system is not kind to men - so you need to be able to see it from his point of view as well.
Acknowledge that marriage does not equal commitment
To understand this one, take a look at Hollywood. For a number of couples they are able to be happy and committed to each other without the paper that says that they are married. Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes have been together for 10 years, Enrique Iglesias has been with Anna Kournikova for 20 years (and they have three kids) and probably one of the best examples is Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. They have been together for 38 years! So it is possible for you to be happy and in a committed relationship with someone that loves you without the marriage. It is a matter of making sure that you are both on the same page.
You have a choice to make...
If you have gone through all the tips above and you and your partner are still not quite on the same page then it is time for you to make a choice. You can accept that your relationship is what it is, and that is what it will always be - and find a way to be happy. You can NOT accept that you will never get married to this person and deal with the resentment that WILL grow by squashing your feelings down. Or you can accept that your partner has made up their mind and will not change it - and you can leave in the hopes of finding someone that has the same goals and values as you.
My final thoughts...
For the longest time, it was just accepted fact that if a man really loved you then he would get down on one knee and ask you to be his forever.... It is time to challenge that idea. So many dating sites out there will tell you that a refusal to get married automatically means that he doesn't trust you, doesn't love you, doesn't really want you. Are there some guys out there that feel that way, and those are the reasons why they don't propose? Of course, but it is ALSO possible that marriage doesn't hold the same importance to him as it does you even though he loves you.
At the end of the day you need to talk to your partner. They are not a crystal ball and neither are you - you guys don't know what you don't know, and with something so important you need to be able to discuss your desires. Ignore all those people who will tell you that he is just playing you - until you have a conversation and know where he is coming from.
24 years of tarot experience, 20 years experience as a mom, and a lifetime of knowledge is just rattling around in here!