By Mindie Barnett

Author and motivational speaker Mindie Barnett answers your questions about life, navigating these stressful and uncertain times, while steering you down a more straightforward path.
We welcome your questions and invite you to reach out to Mindie at mindiesmusings1@gmail.com

Hi Mindie, 
My boyfriend and I have been together for about a year and a half and occasionally talk about our “hypothetical future” together (marriage/living together/kids etc.) The other day we got on the topic of marriage, and he said he would want to be “married” but thinks the government legal documentation is pointless. That upset me; I do not know where he got that idea. But it makes me wonder if he honestly did not know or is just afraid of long-term commitment. What would you do in this situation/how long until they take this seriously, or should you kick them to the curb? 
Thank you,

Danielle G

Dear Danielle G—
You are brilliant at having these conversations with your boyfriend now. Many do not broach the subject until much later, only to learn they have two vastly different views of a long-term relationship and commitment. Your boyfriend is not alone; many people opt not to get married.

Numerous people instead choose to solidify their bond in other ways, wearing commitment rings, buying a home, raising children, or sharing a joint bank account. There are several reasons for this, and skipping the altar is becoming more common than not today. As the divorce rate continues to climb (it presently sits at 42 percent), I suspect we will see even more opting to forgo traditional marriage and choose the latter.

Having said that, if marriage is your goal and something meaningful to you for legal purposes and for what the license means in terms of your life together, I advise you not to concede. Marriage still holds a vital role and meaningful purpose for so many. Marriage has much meaning out of the sentimental spectrum, too: it can enable partners to share health insurance benefits, provide financial security, adhere to religious beliefs, offer a child-rearing foundation, and for some, offer them a layer of legal protection.

Whatever your reasons for wanting to tie the knot legally, they lie within your core values, or I suspect you would not have been motivated to write this inquiry. My advice is to have a serious conversation with your boyfriend in a well-thought-out way. Do not bring up this topic while haphazardly speaking about your future nor at a time when you are engaged in another debate. Instead, talk to him with a loving heart and open mind and ears to learn his point of view, share yours, and see if there is any room for negotiation. If there is not, then you will be informed to make a deep-seated decision about your future—whether it includes him or not.

Married or not—relationships bring joy and a great deal of conflict. It is the repair component that can make or break an alliance. Best of luck! 

Much Love,