He's happy with the way things are. I want to marry him. He doesn't want marriage. Thinking of leaving makes my heart hurt. What should I do?
Cross Purposes, (female, 72)
Dear Cross Purposes,
I wish I could ask you some follow-up questions, but since I can't, I'm going to make a few assumptions that I hope won't make me an ass. Mostly I'm wondering about the whys of you wanting to be married and him not so much.
People often get married because they want to start a family. Forgive me if I'm wrong for crossing that off the list, but I don't imagine that, at 72, you're planning on having babies with this guy. I'm also thinking you both have been married at least once before. Perhaps yours was a good one, and you'd like to recapture that. But maybe his wasn't so hot, and now he's altar-shy?
Are you concerned about legalities? You could establish a domestic partnership that gives you similar legal rights as in a marriage. The benefits of those vary by state, so you'd have to do some research. Or you could adjust your wills to include each other. (Side note: If you don't have a will, what the heck are you waiting for? Get it done!)
Are you into the traditions of marriage? Maybe he'd agree to have a commitment party or ceremony. That way, you could do all the fun bits of a wedding without the pesky "marriage" label.
Whatever the reasons for your disagreement on marriage, if everything else in the relationship is good and you love each other, why get hung up on a piece of paper from the government? If the thought of leaving him makes your heart hurt, the obvious solution is not to leave.
Good luck and God bless,