You’re sitting around with your friends and significant other at happy hour while your newly engaged bestie is showing off her perfect diamond ring. Her fiance is beaming as she gushes about the clarity and how the proposal was “like a fairy tale.” You hold her hand to examine the ring more closely, and you nod and say it is the most gorgeous engagement ring you’ve ever seen. And then, you look over at your boyfriend, whose eyes are locked on the TV above the bar watching the game. No one seems to notice, but you notice.
You’ve also noticed that every time you bring up getting married, he brushes you off and changes the subject. Or even worse, he says something along the lines of, “I don’t see it happening any time soon” or “I’m in no rush.”
The problem is, you do see it happening soon, and you may not be in a rush, but you are ready. So, you’ve complained a little here and there to your mom and your co-workers, and the word “ultimatum” has been tossed around once or twice. Okay, maybe more. But, even though you are sure it’s worked for some couples, you are not sure it would work for you two. You are also terrified to scare him away with “till death do us part.” You want to be honest about how you feel and what you want, but you love him too much to let him go. Do you need to give him an ultimatum? The answer may be yes, but not the way you think.
If you truly see your boyfriend as your future husband, but he is dragging his feet, there is something you can do about it. You want wedded bliss, but need to steer clear of the things that could lead to getting dumped.
Make Your Way Toward Wedded Bliss
If you haven’t already, talk to your partner often about your five-year plan, your 10-year plan, and maybe even your 20-year plan. Although you think he knows already, he may not. So, remind him. Often.
Explain that as a (insert your age) woman, you hope to be engaged by (insert age) and married by (insert age), and then explain your “why.” Maybe it’s because of children, maybe it’s because of your career, or maybe it’s just because you’re ready to be with this person and don’t want to wait. Whatever the reason is, if he truly loves you, he will hear you.
After you lay out your timeline, ask him about his. This is the most important part. If your timelines seem too different to blend, it may take a lot of communication to find a middle ground.
Find the Right Time
Don’t pick a Monday to lay it on him that you need to be married or else. Make sure the time is right. You want him to be focused on what you are saying, comfortable enough to discuss it, and not exhausted/stressed or in a bad mood. Also, make sure to have the conversation by yourselves and not in front of others, whether that be friends or family, because this could cause him to get defensive, and it is really no one’s business but your own.
Keep in mind that engagements tend to be a “surprise” and most men want a reaction that probably wouldn’t happen if you knew it was coming. So, it is important to not nag several times a week about the same thing, but instead have one or two solid conversations about what is on your mind.
Beating around the bush is a waste of time for the both of you. Make your points clear, and leave no room for misinterpretation. Don’t end the conversation with regrets or missed points. Instead of saying “I really want to be engaged soon, so hurry up!” Try saying “I don’t see myself with anyone but you forever, and it would be great to be engaged and be married by this time next year; what do you think?”
By shifting what you say from demanding and non-specific to loving and pointed, the conversation will have a better chance of going the way you want. It is also possible to be straightforward, but open-ended. By letting him know you care about what he wants and feels, it won’t feel like he’s trapped in a marriage ultimatum.
Left Behind in Dumpsville
Compare Your Relationship
Couples are like snowflakes: every one is different. It is important to remember this when giving your man any sort of ultimatum, but especially a marriage one. Don’t bring up how it only took 6 months for so-and-so to get engaged, or how so-and-so has been married for years and said it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to him. This will emasculate him and really have no affect on whether he wants to tie the knot sooner, later, or at all. It will only lead him to get defensive and end the conversation. Remember, this is about you two and figuring things out together; it’s not about anyone else.
Why are you thinking ultimatum? Is it a timing thing? It is important to remember that every good thing takes time, so if you truly see yourself with this person for the rest of your life, what’s the rush? If your wedding ultimatum is premature, it may cause you to get dumped. Be sure to assess how much time has truly passed in your journey together. And sometimes, it is not about counting from the first day you met, or the first time you kissed, or even the first time he asked you to be his girlfriend. Maybe you should think about how long it has been since you moved in together, or the moment you knew you could spend the rest of your life with him. Sometimes these more intimate or more intense moments act as a good starting point to see when the perfect time for an engagement is.
Complain to His Friends (or Family)
If you’re out at an office party, a friend’s house, or other social gathering, complaining to his co-workers, friends, or family could lead you to getting dumped. Discussing marriage should be an exclusive conversation between you and him. Talking about personal matters in your relationship to others is never okay, and honestly, no one wants to hear it for the right reasons. For the most part, people don’t want to hear it to help, they want to hear it for the entertainment. It is extremely insensitive to bring up your marriage ultimatum or the things you’re feeling about him not proposing to anyone else besides him.
So, next time you are sitting around your friends and significant other at happy hour, hopefully it will be you showing off your ring and gushing about your relationship because you went about a marriage “ultimatum” the right way. It’s all about having an open and honest conversation together and listening to what each other wants, not about empty threats or extreme measures. Hopefully your relationship will be so strong that an ultimatum wouldn’t be the thing to break you apart, but instead open the doors to a conversation where you can share how you feel with one another with no judgments.