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?