My boyfriend does not understand what the point of marriage is

posted 2 years ago in Waiting
Post # 106
Member
191 posts
Blushing bee

Do you live together? 

Post # 107
Member
14 posts
Newbee

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dnm998 :  “we already have everything that we want as a couple”

That is your opportunity to say “Actually no, we don’t have everything we want, because I want to get married one day, and I want to be married before I have children with someone. If you don’t want that for yourself and aren’t willing to do that to be with me and have children with me, then we cannot continue to function as a happy couple.”

Does he have specific reasons why it is pointless? Does he think it will negatively change something for him or for both of you as a couple? There are 2 options:

1. If he truly thinks it won’t change anything, tell him “well just do it to make me happy then, if it’s all the same to you” and see what he says to that.

2. If he admits that he thinks something will get worse with marriage, then that’s the real “reason” that needs to be further explored. I put reason in quotation marks because the reason he gives may just be the tip of a very frustrating iceberg and not the whole issue in itself.

Ask him to explain himself very very thoroughly. Take notes while he’s talking if you need to. Don’t go into the discussion feeling the need to explain yourself; rather, he needs to explain himself. Make him talk. Keep asking him questions, asking for clarification.

I don’t think you will find the answer you want (him happily agreeing to marriage), but you deserve a better answer.

Post # 108
Member
102 posts
Blushing bee

 

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dnm998 :  Why do you want to marry someone who has to be “convinced” for months and months and someone who “doesn’t understand” why having children without the legal protection of marriage is a terrible idea?

 

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limeandlemon :  Your situation sounds nothing like the OP’s, except that your husband was against marriage initially.

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obviousanonymous :  Exactly. If he wants factual and logical information and arguments, then do the research and show it to him, so that he can no longer make these excuses. 

Post # 111
Member
194 posts
Blushing bee

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dnm998 :  It would be a waste of time. Your description makes it sound like he won’t budge on his position on marriage. If three discussions later and a year later you have made no progress, what makes you think a fourth discussion will make him want to marry you?

Post # 112
Member
236 posts
Helper bee

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dnm998 :  

 He does care about my feelings but on marriage, he says he can’t understand the point because we already have everything that we want as a couple.

He knows that you want to get married, but is either choosing to ignore your feelings or does not care about your feelings. If you have explained why marriage matters to you in the past, rambling or not, and he dismissed it by telling you that you already have everything, what does that show you? This is not a man who is sensitive to your needs or cares about what is important to you.

Post # 113
Member
86 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: March 2018

dnm998 :  Coming as someone in their mid-30s, I don’t think that the advice that he will never change his mind is appropriate. Is it possible that he’ll never change his mind? Certainly. But the mindset of a 20-something (yes, even late 20s) is often different than that of a 30-something. I got married when I was 34 and had been with my husband for 5 years prior to that. I was in no rush to get married and didn’t know whether I would until I got older. 

However, even as non-married partners, you want to be with someone that has the same values as you. If fidelity, commitment, devotion, children, etc. are equally important to both of you, then you have a good foundation for a long-term partnership. I would determine that first. If that’s true, then I would stress to him why it’s important to *you*. He is right that the legal argument isn’t as strong anymore b/c there are lots of other legal documents (domestic partnership, healthcare proxy, joint property holdings, separate financial contracts) that could take the place of a marriage license. But, it is easier to just get one marriage license than going through with all the separate legal contracts.

Although you haven’t stated it outright, it seems that the strongest reason you want to get married is an emotional one. It’s a deeper level of commitment and meaning than just saying “I love you” every day. It’s symbolic and it usually involves a joining of you two along with your friends and family. For some, there is a religious component (though this doesn’t sound like the case with you). I would mention these things to him and see what he says. Sometimes marriage isn’t important to one of the two people in a relationship, but they’re not opposed to it. If he’s opposed to it I’d be curious as to why, though from what you’ve described as his position, this doesn’t seem to be the case.

Anyway, TLDR: I wouldn’t throw this 5-year relationship down the drain just b/c you haven’t fleshed out your positions on marriage. There is definitely room for discussion and compromise. And girl, you’re 26, you have plenty of time. 

Post # 114
Member
191 posts
Blushing bee

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bluebell83 :  26 is young and she has time but it would be foolish to wait for years only for the relationship to go nowhere. Why waste another 5 years on a man who is not on the same page?

Post # 115
Member
86 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: March 2018

liyag: I agree if that’s the case. I just don’t know that I believe they can’t come to an agreement. To say that he “doesn’t believe in marriage” is pretty vague. What exactly does he not believe in? Also it seems his position has changed a bit over the years. If there was something about marriage that he was specifically opposed to, maybe I’d be more certain that this is an uncrossable line for him. But people can definitely not believe marriage holds much worth and still do it if it’s important to their partner, as long as the type of relationship they want is the same as their partner. I’d need to know more about OP and her partner’s shared values and goals to know that.

Post # 116
Member
1573 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: City, State

Trying to flap my arms until I soar like an eagle would be pointless.  It can’t happen and there is no benefit in the attempt.  

Going to school for astrophysics to be employed in the field is not pointless, it’s just something I’m not interested in/ equipped to do. I fully understand why other people pursue that route. Trying to convince a reasonable adult that astrophysics degrees are “pointless” would be foolish and insulting to their intelligence.

Your guy is smart enough to realize that a social, religious and legal contract that has survived in most cultures for millennia is not “pointless”. It’s something HE doesn’t want to do with YOU. If it were truly a pointless and irrelevant task to him and he intended to treat you as his wife, he could marry you in much the same way he could wear gray socks instead of black ones.  

I also call BS on him turning down marriage forever in all circumstances. Think of his favorite celebrity crush. Make her a billionaire. Think of her wanting to marry him. Do you think he’d turn her down cold? Probably not. What if he needed immigration status or health insurance? If it were the condition for a sizable inheritance? There are circumstances where he’d get married. Those circumstances don’t exist with you.

You can keep trying to treat this as an education issue. It isn’t. He knows what marriage is.  This is a choice and values issue. He doesn’t want to choose marrying you. Currently, he values not being married more than the risk of losing you. 

 

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coffeecakez :  He does think it’s pointless and said that he never wants to get married, to anyone.

 

Post # 117
Member
5794 posts
Bee Keeper

OP I get the feeling that you’re going to be back here in a few years complaining that you’ve been with your boyfriend for 8 years and have 2 children together but he won’t marry you.

 

Post # 118
Member
292 posts
Helper bee

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elfbee :  I think that bee was sharing her story because she is married to someone who was not interested in getting married but agreed to because she told him that marriage was a must for her.

The point of her and other posts is that OP has to stop beating around the bush in fear of pressuring him and tell him that she will end the relationship if they don’t marry. 

Post # 119
Member
2060 posts
Buzzing bee

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chocco :  I agree.

problem is, I think she won’t actually come out and say that because she isn’t prepared to end the relationship at this point.

OP, do some research, show him the benefits of marriage and calmly state that you want and need the protections of marriage, especially before having children. See what he says.

Im not at all optimistic, but I’ve been wrong before.

Post # 120
Member
2023 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

“My husband is someone who “didn’t see the point” of marriage, in that he wouldn’t have bothered if it weren’t important to me. To him, it’s entirely possible to commit to someone for life without making it legal. The difference is, it WAS important to me, so he was happy to get married.”

Exactly this. My husband felt exactly the same way, but his feelings on marriage did not trump his desire to be with me long-term, so he happily proposed and we are married. If I also didn’t care about marriage, we would still be happily together, but unmarried. Unless he has very deep-seated philosophical/ethical problems with the institution of marriage (and my husband did before same-sex marriage was legal in the United States. Once his sister married her girlfriend, his feelings softened), not wanting marriage because “it’s just a piece of paper” is deflecting and a sign of a lack of committment to you, even if you are together long-term, even if you have kids. He still wants a relatively easy out and is not in 100%. That would be a problem for me.

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