Ready for Marriage, but He’s Not? Here’s What Worked for Me

BY: - 14 Sep '16 | Single

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What do you do when the man you’re dating says, “I’m not ready for marriage”?

Let’s say this news really puts you through the wringer. You’re completely confused, hurt and shattered because when you met, he said he was looking forward to marriage. But now that you’ve had “The Talk,” he has deviated, saying he wasn’t sure.

So what do you do? 

I was actually in this similar situation when I met my husband, Roy. We were in a grey area when we began seeing each other.

I couldn’t even really tell if we were dating or not. We were going out for coffee, catching a movie, grabbing a bite to eat, talking on the phone (remember when people actually did that?!), etc. And every time I thought I knew for sure that he liked me, he’d say, “You know I’m not really looking for anything serious right now. I’m focused on my career and getting closer to God.”

I was confused. So I prayed! I believe in asking God questions, specifically when you need to know the truth about a situation. I prayed about the person I was dating in past relationships, but I always denied the truth. I’d push past that still, small voice telling me what to do. This time, I was determined to lean in and listen. I heard the following words in my heart: “Watch his fruit.”


Of course, I wanted a clear, black or white answer (or maybe a neon light, telling me what to do!), but what I heard was less direction and more discernment. Yet, there was great wisdom in what I heard.

Here’s why: A person produces fruit in his life based on the roots in his life. His roots are based on who he believes he is and where he draws the source of his fruit, which is his character.

By character, I’m not talking about a man’s morality or integrity. Instead, I like the way Beyond Boundaries author Dr. John Townsend defines character as “that set of abilities we need to meet the demands of reality.” In other words, I was being led to go beyond whether or not he was a good guy and instead ask myself:

  • Is this man fit for the institution of marriage?
  • Is he kind, considerate, consistent?
  • Is he growth-oriented?
  • Is he open and available?
  • Is he able to support you emotionally, partner with you financially, assist you spiritually?
  • Is he fine with the status quo of the relationship or does he desire something more (like marriage and family)?

To answer these questions, I paid attention to Roy’s efforts. I observed how he responded to and respected my boundaries. I didn’t give him access to my time or body. I didn’t pretend like we were in a relationship because we weren’t. I communicated with him that I wanted marriage instead of pretending this situation was alright with me. And I was prepared to walk away if he never came around, instead of putting my life on hold.

Owning your worth, communicating unapologetically for your desire for marriage, and refusing to settle for less is the way to handle it when your man says he’s not sure about marriage. Your confidence (in knowing there is a partner out there who would be happy to be with you) will inspire him to step up or step out.

It may be painful to have to walk away from someone you love, but ask yourself this: What will my life look like in five years if I stay with him? Is it worth it for me to invest another moment with him if he can’t—or won’t—give me the commitment I desire and deserve?

I know it’s scary to think about walking away from someone who is your life when you’re not sure if there’s anyone else out there for you. But when you’re ready for marriage but he’s not, you’ll waste precious years of your life hanging on to someone who can’t figure out what he wants. You’re worth more than that!

BMWK, have you been in this situation before? How did you handle it?

About the author

Aesha Adams Roberts wrote 182 articles on this blog.

Dr. Aesha is a matchmaker, dating coach, speaker and author of the book, Can I Help A Sister Out: How To Meet & Marry The Man of Your Dreams. After years of making painful dating mistakes, she met & married her husband in 11 short months and has made it her mission to help women and men find and keep the love of their lives.


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Aim High or Aim Low? What Advice Do You Have for a Hopeless Single?

BY: - 20 Sep '16 | Relationships

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Dear Dr. Buckingham,

I am a single female who is very close to giving up on meeting Mr. Right.

Every time, I meet a man who appears to be good, things do not work out. I continue to date on a regular basis, but I do not expect much these days. I learned years ago that it does not benefit me to get my hopes up when in comes to men these days because I typically get disappointed. I live my life hoping to meet Mr. Right, but I’m now doubtful that dream will come true.

The last guy I dated worked very hard to impress me. However, I still had low expectations of our relationship succeeding. Because I did not expect much, I did not appreciate what he did for me in our relationship. Instead of focusing on the positive aspects of our relationship, I focused on the things that were not so good.

I truly want to get married one day, but I feel like a failure. I do not know if I will be successful in a relationship. What advice do you have for a hopeless single? And are my expectations negatively impacting my dating life and relationships?


Hopeless Single


Dear Hopeless Single,

Yes, your expectations are negatively impacting your dating life, and you are making the same mistake that thousands of single men and women are making daily.

You are creating personal hopelessness by failing to develop rational expectations. You cannot find love because your expectations do not align with your desire. If you truly want to find love, you must monitor and change your expectations. What you expect from your relationship is typically what you give. The expectations you have of others often reflect how you behave in your relationship. As you continue to navigate through the dating scene, please consider embracing the following two expectations:

Expect To Learn

Lack of knowledge, destroys relationships. How do you expect to have successful relationships, if you lack knowledge? How often do you equip yourself with information that will help you solve or cope with hardships in your relationship?

Your experience alone is not always the most effective way of learning. Vernon Law, a famous baseball player, once stated that, “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first and the lesson afterwards.”

Instead of engaging in unsuccessful relationships time after time and making the same mistakes, try equipping yourself with proper information before the test.

If you desire to find and receive true love, seek counseling and support if you are not successful. Develop a road map to better relationships by enhancing your knowledge of yourself and your future partner. Trying to navigate through a relationship without proper directions or a map can lead to disaster. Matthew chapter 15, verse 14 says, “If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall in the ditch.”

How can you find and experience true love if you do not know how? Empower yourself by acquiring knowledge and applying it. Lack of knowledge and irrational expectations are the root cause of most failed relationships.

It is irrational to expect that you can have a successful relationship without equipping yourself with proper knowledge. You should consistently try to learn as much as you can about having a successful relationship. This means you must utilize all available resources. Your willingness to grow and learn will influence your ability to find Mr. Right and experience true love.

Expect to Have a Successful Relationship

Instead of expecting your relationships to fail, expect them to succeed and be prepared for adversity. Relationship distress can wear you down and cause you to feel helpless and hopeless. It seems like the more you try to be positive, things get worse. And giving up is the rational thing to do.

Frustration and disappointment occur in every relationship, but they don’t always indicate that the relationship is in serious trouble or must end. However, if you dwell on the negative aspects of your relationship, it will likely lead to the development of a failure mentality.

Your mind is powerful, and it sets the stage for your performance. If you expect your relationship to fail, then you interact with your significant other with uneasiness, low motivation and doubt. Such emotions hinder your ability to bond with your significant other and are highly associated with failed relationships.

On the other hand, if you expect your relationship to succeed, you interact with your significant other with confidence, enthusiasm and certainty. These emotions are uplifting and occur more often in successful relationships. Shifting your expectations from a failure mentality can lay the foundation for a promising relationship. Positive thoughts lead to positive behaviors, thus increasing the chances of success. Life offers no guarantees, but I can guarantee you that if you expect to fail, you probably will. If you fail, your relationship fails.

Believe that your relationship can be successful, and do not dread adversity. Adversity builds resiliency, and resiliency is a precursor to success. Success can be defined either by the process or outcome. It is important to learn the difference.

Sometimes you will go through things in your relationship in order to mature and grow. Although you do not desire to experience difficult times in your relationship, the experiences can be considered useful if you learn from them. Expect your relationships to succeed, and you will see a difference in the outcome.

Evaluating your expectations is critical to being able to find true love. Expectations are powerful and can predispose you to certain experiences. Irrational expectations often cause or contribute to inappropriate expression of emotions and behavior. While rational expectations often cause or contribute to appropriate expression of emotions and behavior. Please understand that expectations guide behavior. Get help if you continue to struggle with your expectations.

Best regards,

Dr. Buckingham

If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to

Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.

About the author

Dwayne Buckingham wrote 220 articles on this blog.

Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham, author of Qualified, yet Single: Why Good Men Remain Single and Unconditional Love: What Every Woman and Man Desires in a Relationship, is a highly acclaimed international clinical psychotherapist, life coach, relationship and resiliency expert, motivational speaker and corporate consultant. He is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of R.E.A.L. Horizons Consulting Service, located in Silver Spring, Maryland. To learn more about Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham visit his website at


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