You have met the perfect partner. You have spent time getting to know them. You feel comfortable with them, and your gut instinct is telling you that this is the one. You can talk to them and they listen to you. Whilst you might argue, it’s never very serious and it always gets settled. You have a good life with your partner, and you believe that you could be happy together, for the rest of your lives. For you, the ultimate consummation of your love and your relationship is marriage. But what if you’re partner isn’t ready for marriage.

Are you ready for marriage? When you marry you give up a lot, you can no longer live your life according to what is best for you, you have to take into account your spouse’s wants and needs. If you want your marriage to be a success you have to keep working at it, can you commit to that? If you work together to create the best marriage that you can, then you will gain a lot more than you lose. But that is no help if your partner isn’t ready for marriage.

What are your expectations for your marriage. Are you looking for a, and they all lived happily ever after scenario, like you see at the movies. This can come as a surprise to people, but what you see at the movies is not real life, it’s a story, a stories tend to represent an ideal world and not reality. Are you able to accept your partner for who they are, and strive to create the best possible marriage?

There is also the problem that if you mention the M word to soon, you can have your prospective partner racing for the hills. Marriage is a serious commitment, it’s not one that you should enter into at the spur of the moment. You need to take the time to really get to know each other, so that you can be certain that you are right for each other.

Is your partner scared of commitment. When you are married it is a lot more difficult and expensive to part company than when you are in a relationship.

If your partner isn’t ready for marriage, have you tried talking to them about it. Have you tried to identify the issues that are holding them back. Have they seen too much divorce, are they scared to lose the relationship that they have with you for something unknown, or do they have certain goals that they want to achieve before they settle down, get married, and maybe have the extra responsibility of children.

Because your partner isn’t ready for marriage now, it does not mean that they will not change their mind. They might be uncertain, or lacking confidence in their emotions, and so they need time to work out how they feel about you.

Marriage isn’t all about love and commitment, there is also the practical day-to-day stuff, do you know how will manage all of that? Do you know where you will live, will you buy or rent, what happens if one of you has to move because of work, what about jobs, how will you divide paying the bills, who does what around the home, what about kids, how many and when? There’s a lot boring, mundane, but all to necessary stuff to work through.

If your partner isn’t ready for marriage, have you talked to them about it? Have you been able to identify their concerns? Once you can identify their concerns then you can work out how to deal with them. This is also a good time to talk about what marriage means to the both of you, and how you see your relationship developing. It helps to have similar visions for your future, because if you are working to two different schedules then you are in for a miserable time. Talk about what you mean to each other, this will help you to gain more of an understanding of where your relationship is, at this point of time.

If your partner isn’t ready for marriage then there are 3 things that you can do:

1. Carry on as you are but work at building the best possible relationship that you can, be the partner that they just cannot live without, and as your relationship deepens you might find your partner broaching the M word.

2. You could deliver an ultimatum and give them a time limit to make their mind up to marry, or you’ll walk. This is a high risk strategy and not one that I would recommend. There is always the chance that they won’t be blackmailed and you will have a painful decision to make. If your force someone to marry you, you will never know if it is because they want to, or because of your ultimatum.

3. Have a long engagement. Just because you become engaged it does not mean that you have to get married next week. Getting engaged is essentially stage one to the altar, it tells the world that at some point you are going to get married. If your partner is happy that they will marry you at some point, then why not have a long engagement? You get the commitment that you need, and your partner gets the time that they need to accept that they want to marry you.

When you get married, it has to be because both of you want to get married. You cannot start life with a reluctant spouse. If your partner is the one then talk to them about their feelings, if you feel that strongly about them, they might feel the same about you, but you won’t know until you talk about it. If there are issues that your partner needs to work through, then help them through it. If you’re partner isn’t ready for marriage then remind them that accepting a proposal doesn’t mean that you are both walking down the aisle the next day.