How to talk about marriage with your boyfriend
Talking about marriage with your boyfriend is without a doubt one of the most stressful conversations you will have in a committed relationship.
For both, men and women.
For us girls because we fear rejection and are afraid that the confrontation could lead to a breakup. And for men, because they don’t like to talk about commitment altogether.
The idea that he might have to give up his freedom and independence on a single day for the rest of his life, scares most men to death.
And for the majority of couples, the marriage conversation, means that the initial stages of dating are officially over and that you are officially in a serious relationship.
But what if you could bring up marriage in a way that does not stress him out or bring tears to your eyes? I have done it a couple of times and decided to finally share my approach on the blog.
Here is how to talk about marriage with your boyfriend in 10 non-scary steps.
Things to consider before you talk about marriage with your boyfriend
Before you even attempt to ask your boyfriend if he ever wants to marry you, you should first ask yourself if you really want to marry him.
Yes, I understand that you believe he is “The One”, however, this is an important step.
A lot of people rush the decision to get married and then face a lot of challenges in the future.
You want to assess your personal motives, but also the strength of the relationship. Because if you don’t, you risk getting into a lifelong commitment unprepared and that can lead to conflict or even divorce.
Therefore, take some time to ask yourself some of the below tough questions.
Why do I want to get married?
Truth is, there are good and bad reasons why people want to get married.
As a single Christian woman, you might desire marriage because you feel lonely or believe it will bring you more happiness. The problem with these reasons is that you run the risk of idolizing marriage and setting yourself up for disappointment.
Projecting your happiness onto a state of being is risky because eventually your marriage will hit a rough patch or your partner will disappoint you.
Instead, you want marriage to be a genuine desire for sharing your life with your boyfriend. And you reach that state of mind by becoming whole as a single woman.
Are we equally yoked?
One of the most important topics to think about before you tell your boyfriend you want to get married is whether you and your partner are truly equally yoked.
While chemistry ignites romance and excitement, compatibility is what will guarantee the success of a long-term relationship.
Do you share the same values, interests, and outlook on life? Find out by having open discussions and hard conversations.
You can use free resources all over the internet or great books such as Eight Dates by John Gottman from the Gottman Institute, a clinical psychologist and researcher who specializes in relationships and marriages.
Is our relationship healthy?
A healthy relationship is a relationship that is filled with love, joy, and trust.
You and your partner should feel respected, cherished, and safe enough to communicate openly about anything. After all, you want your husband to be your confidant and best friend.
That’s why it is important to review the health of your relationship. How do you feel when you are with him? How does he treat you? Do you feel respected and valued? Do you feel like you can be your authentic self?
Remember that the health of the relationship will have a direct effect on your mental health, so it needs to be good.
What do I expect from marriage?
Make a list of the things that you expect from a husband or marriage. Next to each item write down where you got the idea from or heard about it.
Maybe it was a movie, something you read in a magazine, or your experience watching your parents. Wherever and whenever that belief was formed, make sure that it is not an unrealistic expectation you are risking to project onto your own relationship.
Instead, form healthy expectations and understand that things may turn out differently.
Am I ready to be a wife?
Last but not least, you want to do some self-reflection. Before you talk engagement with your boyfriend, ask yourself: Are you truly ready to give up life as you know it and commit for better or worse to your life partner?
Married life requires both parties to sacrifice parts of their freedom to merge their lives. It’s a big step that brings a lot of change.
So you want to make sure you are ready to become a wife before you talk about the subject of marriage.
Truth is, you will have to bring up marriage at one point if you desire to be married in the future. It’s a topic you should initiate rather early on in the relationship to avoid disappointment.
But now the question is “how early is too early”?
How long should you wait to talk about marriage?
The timing of the marriage conversation is probably just as important as its structure.
Truthfully, the best time to bring up marriage in a relationship is when the two of you are in a stable relationship. In that phase, you discuss future plans for your relationship on a regular basis and feel comfortable sharing your dreams, hopes, and goals with each other.
It’s the logical next step.
Different couples will reach this stage of the relationship at different times and therefore you can’t put a time frame on it. My guess is anywhere past the six months mark.
However, if that topic is important to you, I suggest you bring up the marriage discussion early on in the relationship/dating phase. That way you avoid falling for someone that does not share the same core values as you.
But now let’s get to the how!
How to talk about marriage with your boyfriend
One of the many reasons why we delay the marriage talk is because we are unsure where our partner stands.
The following steps, however, will show you how to talk about marriage with your boyfriend in a respectful and appropriate way. It does not put any pressure on him and allows you to feel confident and empowered.
1. Don’t set an ultimatum
Whoever thought giving someone an ultimatum was a smart idea really needs to take a seat.
Why? For two reasons.
First, it is very rude and demanding to tell a man that he has to make a decision right now about whether or not he wants to marry you. Because one thing you need to understand is that men DO NOT THINK ABOUT MARRIAGE as much as women do.
While most women think, plan and breathe marriage and weddings from the day they receive their first Barbie and Ken set.
Men simply don’t!
They don’t have their engagement ring picked out, or other dream wedding venue on a Pinterest board.
If anything, they occasionally dream about playing football, basketball, or soccer with their future son. That’s it!
So, for you to demand a decision to a question he might never have asked himself right here and now, is straight-up inconsiderate. And whenever you put a lot of pressure on someone, it tends to backfire.
Reason number 2 why setting an ultimatum is not a good idea, is because it’s an important mutual decision that affects both of your lives forever. And that should not be rushed.
Instead of setting an ultimatum, you want to bring up the topic in a casual conversation and ask him to think about it. That way the next time you bring it up he is not caught off guard.
2. Be honest about your desire for marriage
Men are not stupid. They know that marriage and kids are on your mind…a lot. And if you are like me then you probably melt every time you see a baby in a stroller. It’s obvious!
That’s why it is important that you are truthful about it. If you have been dating for a while and believe it is time to talk about the future, don’t be scared to bring it up.
Be honest about your desire for marriage and kids and how you see that in your (near) future. Again, don’t set an ultimatum, but let him know that you need him to think about it.
And if it is important enough for you to end the relationship, be honest about that too. Show him that you value yourself a lot and want to honor a desire that God put inside of you for a reason.
Remember that one of the key attributes of a healthy relationship is that both partners keep a sense of self-sufficiency, self-value, and independence. And as a single woman, your own joy and peace should always be your priority.
3. Ask for his thoughts and fears
One important tip on how to talk about marriage with your boyfriend is to encourage him to be vulnerable.
For a man to desire to commit to you in marriage he needs to feel like you provide a safe space for him to be honest and truthful. And the topic of marriage is probably the best to show him that you respect his feelings.
Even if he says he doesn’t want to get married. While it might sound silly or immature to you, your boyfriend’s fears about marriage are very real and intense to him. Encourage him to share these with you and find out how you can eliminate them.
He might be worried about divorce because he has seen it in his immediate circle. If that is the case, discuss what he thinks are deal breakers in a relationship or marriage that would lead to divorce.
By taking his thoughts and fears seriously and discussing them beforehand, you make the topic less stressful for him.
And once you understand what scares him about taking this next big step, both of you can come up with a process and timeline that allow him to work through these fears.
4. Ask him about his plans for the f
Okayyy. I strongly believe that couples should talk about their plans for the future, even before they get into a relationship. But if you never had the chance to do that, now is a great time.
Find out what his plans are for the next 1, 3, or 5 years. Ask questions like: Where would you like to live? What age would be a good age to get married? At what age would you like to have children?
Don’t just interrogate him but share your plans and vision for the future too. If his plans for the next 5 years totally deviate from yours then this might be a good indication that your relationship won’t last.
I know this one is scary because you fear that he doesn’t see you in his future.
But isn’t that the point of this conversation? Wouldn’t you want to know and more importantly move on if he doesn’t see you or marriage in his future?
This is your chance to find out rather earlier than later.
5. Tell Him he is The O
Simple but effective: Tell him he is “The One”. All too often, couples talk about marriage as an abstract part of their lives without any outlines.
You might have established the fact that both of you eventually might maybe want to get married, but never talked about the details.
It is important that you outright share that you see him as your future husband and not some fantasy man in your dreams.
Be bold and let him know that his personality and character traits are what you look for in a godly man. Give him time to digest the information and encourage him to respond.
Ideally, he will reflect on the conversation and confess the same to you.
Make sure he actually sees you as his potential wife. Don’t wait for an argument to find out years later that he only likes/loves you but doesn’t really think you are the one.
Trust me, that happens, and it hurts.
6. Communicate your E
The beauty of sharing your dreams for marriage is that it gives you room to share your expectations too.
Let him know that you expect faithfulness, respect, love, and all the other good stuff and that you will return the same to him.
A marriage is a lifelong commitment that needs to be honored and cherished. In order to do that you will have to establish a set of rules that allow both of you to experience that.
By telling him in advance what you expect from marriage, you give him the chance to consider whether or not it is a commitment he wants to enter.
Pray about it
Everything we speak and do should be led by God. Especially, if you are dating with purpose. Therefore, I strongly believe that important conversations should always be consulted with God first.
So, plan a week or two of prayer and fasting before the conversation. Seek God’s word to study marriage, biblical womanhood, and love.
Make sure that you are in it for the right reasons and not making an idol out of marriage.
Also, pray for your partner to have an open heart for the conversation. And for yourself to have an open heart for his answers.
8. Practice the C
Remember when you were a teenager and decided it was time for your parents to increase your monthly allowance?
Well, just like teenagers tend to practice that conversation carefully considering every possible question, collecting important proof of why they deserve it and preparing for different outcomes.
You need to do the same!
Practice the conversation and think about all the possible questions and outcomes:
- Questions: Why now? Why Him? Why You? Why Marriage?
- Outcomes: What if he wants to wait? What if he doesn’t want you? What if he is stressed?
Trust me, the better you are prepared the better you will master this conversation.
9. Give him time to t
The best way to avoid getting emotional, getting into an argument, or making hasty decisions is by giving him time.
Once you have voiced all of your thoughts and he had the chance to receive them, end the conversation by deciding on a day you will resume the topic.
Agree on a specific date that you will come back together and brainstorm. That might include some of the points mentioned above or a heartfelt one-on-one
10. Don’t get too emotional
Haha one thing you might not know about me, is that I’m a crybaby!!!
I get sobby and emotional at every movie and am the worst when I get into arguments. But one thing I have learned is to resist crying when I’m having a grown conversation with a man, especially in a relationship.
Now here’s the thing. I don’t think crying is bad. Not at all, actually. It’s one of the beautiful things about being a woman and being in tune with your emotions. And in general, men find vulnerability attractive.
However, crying makes men uncomfortable. And being uncomfortable is something they try to avoid by all means.
Meaning, if you cry every time you have an honest conversation and it doesn’t turn out the way you want. His default behavior will be to avoid the (uncomfortable) situation altogether. And as mentioned above that is the exact opposite of what you want.
You want him to feel comfortable enough to share his honest and vulnerable thoughts about the topic, without having to fear your reaction.
So, whatever you do, try not to cry even if the outcome is not what you expected.
What do you say when talking about marriage?
As mentioned above, most of the conversation will be about shared values and your desires for the future. But to give you an idea of some of the important things you want to touch on, here are some examples:
- Financial goals
- Health issues
- Sex life
- Wedding planning
- Conflict resolution
- Number of children
- Student loan debt and credit cards
Those are all part of the marriage talk, which will give you a better understanding of your spouse-to-be.
Remember that discussing future plans with your boyfriend can be a lot of fun. And if you follow the above steps on how to talk about marriage, I am sure you will enjoy the conversation.