We Have Kids Together -- Why Won't He Marry Me?

jilted brideGot kids together but no wedding ring? You're part of a growing trend. From Jessica Simpson to your next-door neighbors, couples are makin' babies together now and putting off the wedding until later -- or even never. 

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Most Americans without a college degree have their first child before marriage, according to the National Marriage Project. If you're one of these couples, you could be wondering: We have kids together. Why won't he marry me?

Or maybe that's not what you're thinking at all. 

In previous generations, marriage was seen as the foundation for building your life. Many couples got married first, then maybe finished college or military service, then started having children. 

Now marriage is more like the icing on the cake of your life. You wait until you've got everything else lined up in your life before you make that big commitment. 

But what if you're not okay with that? What if you're the one who wants to tie the knot, but your man is dragging his feet?

We talked with Lanada Williams, family therapist and host of radio program The Lanada Williams Show, for advice on nudging yourself closer to this major milestone. "Women are more vocal about wanting to get married," she says, "so we get the reputation as the ones who want the wedding." But this doesn't necessarily mean we're the ready ones, or even that your man objects because he's not ready.

1. Talk with a professional. "Seek mediation or counseling to process why you want to get married and how your relationship would change after marriage," Williams advises. These are two very important questions.

2. Know what you want as the outcome of that marriage. Consider if there are other ways to meet that outcome besides a wedding. Williams says, "You can have just as much support and love in a committed relationship as you do in a marriage." Is the main reason you want that ring because you want the approval and recognition from friends and family?

3. Find the real reason he objects. He may be more of a short-term thinker. Williams has seen this in her clients: One of you does long-term planning while your partner lives in the here and now. "He's thinking, 'What we're doing right now is working. Why do we need to change it?'" It's not that he's opposed to marriage in principle; he's just not in the habit of planning for the future.

Likewise, some people are intimidated by the social pressure of a wedding or of the pressure an "official" marriage will put on their relationship.

4. Remember, it's YOUR relationship. "It's up to you as a couple to be very protective about what works for you," Williams says. What's most important is how you and your partner feel. Much less important is how everyone else feels about your relationship.

Have you postponed marriage -- or decided you don't need it at all? Why?

 

Image via MANDY GODBEHEAR/Shutterstock

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