- Not wanting to get married: perfectly valid!
- Wanting to get married: perfectly valid!
When you are in the process of dating, it’s essential to know what you are ready and not ready for at this specific time in your life, and to be able to articulate precisely and non-judgmentally your opinions, feelings and needs to a prospective partner.
To do so, a clear understanding of what marriage means is necessary because it helps clarifying - to yourself first then to another person - why you might feel drawn to making a legal life-long commitment to someone, or on the contrary, why you might feel resistant to the idea of getting married.
- A promise you make to another person to function as a team until death ends the relationship.
- A social statement to your community and the rest of the world that you are officially part of a couple.
- A legal contract stipulating that you have adopted your partner as a family member and that you assume responsibility of taking care of them until death ends the relationship.
- A spiritual covenant. Depending on your belief system, it’s at the very least a commitment to growth through the trials and tribulations of living with another flawed human being. And if you are part of a religious community, marriage is an agreement to live as a couple according to the teachings of your religion.
- A commitment to self. Because feelings towards another person come and go, it’s a commitment to yourself to stay committed to your commitment as feelings change. This commitment to the commitment serves as a source of inspiration and renewal in the marriage.
It’s a tall order!
Marriage is therefore not for everyone, with anyone, or to do at anytime. It takes a certain level of personal readiness to be able to consider marriage seriously and to have a chance of success, it requires a compatible partner who is also ready to make such a commitment, and it needs a good timing and flow between the first hello until it's time to make a decision between getting engaged or… ending the relationship.
If you are not into marriage at this point in time, it’s all good because our current modern dating culture gives you the option to have relationships with as little commitment as you want. It’s actually a good thing to have that choice; in the past people had to get married at a young age to fulfill social pressures and this led to many unhappy long-term unions.
On the other hand, it’s now more challenging for the marriage-ready person to navigate dating when the basic assumption is that dating is a fun activity to be enjoyed in the present moment rather than a process whose purpose is investigating the possibility of building a life-long partnership.
The bottom line is that if you would like to find a spouse and build a relationship that has the potential to lead to marriage, it’s up to you to ensure that your way of dating serves this purpose.
But first, it's important to understand what marriage truly is and what it requires of you.
We must first focus on becoming the type of partner we wish to marry.