The day we had our JoP wedding, the JoP commented that neither my husband or myself looked very nervous. My husband’s father, who is an amazing man I might add, walked up, put his arms around us and goes, “That’s because they made a commitment to each other a long time ago.”
It is absolutely 10,000% true.
I completely understand that my situation doesn’t fit everyone. If my SO had never proposed, he would have never been pressured — ever. If eventually we wanted to get married, that would’ve been cool. It was “smart” for us to get married because he is in the Navy, and it would provide me with a lot of benefits I otherwise would not have, plus we get an extra bit of cash in his paycheck, which is nice.
Now, because my situation is so different, I don’t see the “point” in getting married before having children. My parents have been together for 30+ years. They are not married. They are not common law married, because California does not acknowledge a common law marriage. I am 26, but I was under the impression that they were married up until I was 23. When I found out, it didn’t startle or shock me (Although I was surprised) and I quickly dismissed the issue.
I was raised right. I had two parents, I had food in my belly and a roof over my head. I didn’t always have electricity because sometimes, times were tough growing up, and sacrifices had to be made. My parents made those sacrifices together and thus, I don’t see why it is absolutely necessary to be legally married before reproducing.
Does it make things easier? Some things, hell yeah it does! But anything can be accomplished while married, can be accomplished without being married as well. My mother carries my father’s name, and they refer to each other as husband and wife. My parents are lifelong committed to one another, even though sometimes they really act like they don’t belong together.
My point being, a commitment is exactly that, a commitment. You don’t need to be married to be committed to somebody. You don’t need to be married to stay together forever. You don’t need to be married to have a husband, a wife, a partner, a lover, a significant other.
Different strokes for different folks — I get that. Some people, it’s religious. Others, it’s spiritual, or moral, or tradition. I get that. But because human beings have the ability to be so very different, I think it’s unfair to everyone as a whole to say, “Marriage is about…” or, “You need to be married in order to…” because it’s totally incorrect.
Ultimatums to me are incredibly selfish, spiteful, painful things to give. They shouldn’t be given carelessly. If your husband, or family member was drinking away their livers to the point that their health was at risk? An ultimatum is absolutely in order. Something as optional and elective as a marriage? There should be no forcefulness in love. You, hopefully, only get to do it once, and it should be natural, fluid, beautiful and wonderful.
Do I think people who give ultimatums are bad people? No. Do I like those people? No. Could I be friends with one of those people? No. But I don’t deny them their choice. I pity their SO, incredibly much, and I’d be far more likely to side with their SO.
What it boils down to, is my thoughts are this:
If your SO is willing/interested in ever getting married, you’ll know early on. If you don’t, either the person is unsure, or you’re not paying enough attention.
If your SO has voiced that they are disinterested/unwilling to get married, break up with the person. They’re not right for you. You’re not right for them. There is nothing wrong with this, despite how unfortunate it is.
Don’t issue an ultimatum. Clearly this person does not want to marry you, and if you force them to marry you, what kind of marriage have you just built?