Youve been waiting for a magical sign…
A twinkle in his eye. A trip to his hometown to meet his family. A dainty blue box cleverly hidden in the hall closet just above the winter coats and yoga mats. Youre sure youre going to catch that mischievous grin on his face that hides the big secret hes not willing to share just yet.
Something — anything — that will give you a sense of comfort and safety in knowing that this important relationship is indeed moving toward a more serious commitment.
Its been a while. Days, months and even years have passed and still, no sign of a proposal. Youve started to dodge the endless calls from friends and family:
He has a lot on his plate right now, Mom. You just dont understand. Hes very busy. His business has suffered this year and marriage just isnt a priority. I have to go, Ill call you next week.”
Hes a little afraid of commitment. You know, his parents got a divorce when he was in High School, you say to your girlfriends, almost convincing yourself with your story.
When you decided to live together, you made it very clear youd need to be engaged within a reasonable amount of time. You read the books, consulted with well-meaning confidants, and presented your case as you unpacked your dish boxes, chose your side of the bed, and made room for your electric toothbrush. It felt good to take this step. After all, it was movement in the right direction.
Certainly youre better off than your other friends, who never dreamed of living with a man before marriage. Youre halfway there,” you remind yourself while giving yourself a soccer-coach style slap on the back.
But, now — youre worried you and your new roomie have completely different ideas of reasonable. Hmmm. Were you truly clear with him? Did you play it too cool in the beginning, hoping he would simply know what you meant? Or, worse yet, what if you were crystal clear and things still havent changed? Did he knowingly ask you to shack up without regard for your feelings, wishes, needs and goals? No. That would be too unbearable. That would make him a bad guy and hes not. Hes the man you love! The man you want no–need to marry.
Hey, beggars cant be choosers, right? At this point, youve let go of the hope for a surprise trip to Maui planned for just this very important occasion. Youll settle for being asked over lattes and spinach wraps.
Not only are you annoyed with him, youre annoying yourself with the constant barrage of complaints, worry and insecurity. Suddenly, you dont even recognize yourself. Uh-oh. Youve become THAT girl. The girl with the one-track mind on a loop:
When is he going to marry me?
To stay or to go, thats the real question.
You worry about whether he loves you, or loves you enough to make such a gesture and huge commitment. The second-guessing creeps in, tainting your relationship, and chipping away at your self-esteem.
You wonder if hes truly ready and what you can do to get him aboard the readiness bus. But, alas, thats not your job. You suddenly remember you already have a job, and one that actually comes with a paycheck. But youre also not ready to walk away. Who knows who else it out there. The devil you know is better than the devil you dont, right? Besides, just the thought of starting over and getting back into the dating pool makes your stomach do back flips.
See? Look How Great I Am
Instead, you start to audition, like an off-Broadway chorus girl. You dance and prance. You iron his shirts and prepare meals like Paula Dean. You fatten him up with extra sugar, and whip up TV trays of dude food when he and his buddies gather for Sunday night football. (You hate football. But, you watch and feign interest.) You want to look and feel like the perfect woman. Youve perfected the art of felatio. Who wouldnt want to marry you? Youre the dream and hes damn lucky to have you.
How long do you wait and anticipate? You dont want to leave the theater until the bitter end. What if the movie gets better? What if the entire plot comes together at the very end and gives the most amazing payoff????
Guess what? Its okay. The fact is, most of us have been this woman at one time or another, whether we admit it or not.
So how do you break the frustrating cycle of wondering and wishing and waiting on him to be as ready as you are?
No one has your instincts and theyre yours for a good reason. Make sure its your intuition you’re listening to, however and not your fear.
How do you know the difference?
Fear makes you feel like kicking, running and screaming, while your intuition feels like an elderly sweet friend giving you sage advice. Youll know the difference when you make your decisions from faith and knowledge, instead of the alternative which never looks or feels good.
Yes, I said it. If this IS indeed the man you are dying to share your life with in a forever sort of way, why arent you trusting his ability to make a big decision like marrying you? Ask yourself if youre willing to partner with a man that needs you to mommy him through lifes challenges. If you dont trust him with decisions, why would you want to marry him?
I will tell you that sometimes men dont marry certain women because they simply dont think they are the one. Sure, they may love you, like you, and think youre incredible, but that doesnt always equal The Woman I’ll Spend the Rest of My Life With.
Theres also another important reason why he may not be proposing. Hes not ready to be your husband. Ready to love you and spend time? Sure, but its that next step thats stopping him dead in his tracks. Some men dont propose because they dont believe they are capable of making it work. This is where trust comes in. You cant push or convince him. Perhaps he knows his staying power better than you do. Believe him if hes reluctant.
Theres always a reason.
That is why you must
Be Careful What You Wish For
A reluctant fiancé is often the reluctant husband. The last thing you need (especially if children now or in the future are involved) is a partner who consistently throws the I told you I wasnt ready to get married card in your face every time theres a bump in the road.
Find the man who is just as excited to marry you as you are him. Otherwise, its truly a form of settling, and no one wants that.
And finally, how long should you wait?
That is up to you. Your own comfort level and what is most important to you at this time in your life will be your guide. Dont be fooled or swayed by the timelines of your friends. All to often I see women trying to get married simply because friends are doing it and starting families. No matter how many weddings you attend, stay focused on your journey.
Youre a unique woman and youre not a follower. You have your own divine timing and wisdom, that is just yours to have and to hold. So dont compare.
Stay smart. Stay open. Stay connected to your heart.