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My boyfriend has major trust issues from infidelity in his previous marriage. He made it abundantly clear during the early stages of our relationship that he never wanted to remarry. However, he knew that marriage was a must for me. He doesn’t want to legally be tied to someone. And I simply don’t understand how to compromise on this one. What happens when we have kids? What happens when one of us is in the hospital? I’m so lost and confused and don’t know how to meet in the middle.
When my fiancée and I got engaged one of the first things we agreed on was that we wanted to go to pre-marital therapy. I finally made our first counseling appointment for next week. Somehow, this step makes the engagement feel more real than almost anything else in the planning process.
Recently, an old friend of mine decided to have a non-legal commitment ceremony… a commitzvah, they called it. For various reasons, she and her dude decided they didn’t want to legally get married, but you know what they did instead? They sat down with a lawyer, and had some really, really difficult conversations and worked out a legally-binding commitment agreement. Conversations about money. Conversations about children and aging parents. Conversations about fidelity and divorce. Realistically, because they opted to build their legally-binding commitment from scratch, they had conversations that many of us planning state-recognized marriages don’t have.
When I got engaged, I wondered how I would balance the excitement of planning the magical party with the importance and gravity of beginning a lifelong commitment. Going into couples counseling, even for just our brief stint, has been a very grounding way to hold this intention.