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to be seriously considering abandoning my long held belief that, for me, marriage should come first

(105 Posts)
tickTOCKtickTOCK Mon 06-Jun-11 13:14:49

Namechanged for this, and have my flameproof suit at the ready...apologies for the length of this, once I started it was hard to finish IYSWIM and I hope it makes sense.

I'm 32 years old, in a loving and happy relationship with a fantastic DP. I'm desperate to have children. It's like I can hear my eggs ticking. And each month I hope desperately that my contraceptive pill has failed. I've not got to the point of crying over it but it's not far off.

What I'm struggling with is that I would really like to be married before I have children.

But DP has been through a horrendous divorce and, whilst he loves and cherishes me, can't get his head around getting married again. He is more than happy to try for children with me, and I believe that he is 100% committed to me and our relationship. I totally understand why he has the opinions he does, and he can understand mine, I think he does want to compromise but the reality of it scares him, and I don't want to force him into something he doesn't want to do.

I?ve been brought up as a practising Christian (CofE, if it's relevant) and have always believed that for me (not necessarily anyone else, these are just my views, others should do what is right for them) that marriage should come first. I feel that if I'm good enough to have children with, I'm good enough to marry, IYSWIM

We can both see each others' POV but we are fairly immovable. It's got to the point where even just the intention to get married would do me. We've talked about it but I don't want to force the issue too much - for all I know he's choosing a ring on his lunchbreak - but how long do I wait? Yes, I know I could ask him, but I don't want to!

Having said that, if I was to get pregnant accidentally (unlikely but the pill is not totally infallible) then I've no idea how I would respond, but we / I wouldn't be questioning whether to keep the baby or not, it would be a given, it would just be a matter of me getting my head around it and then dealing with the family fall out. It would devastate my family and make life much harder for my DP with them if we were to have children before getting married as they are very traditional.

What I really don't want is for me to get pregnant and for him to propose then, as then I'll think I forced him into it and he doesn't really want to.

Should I just think feck it, not get the next prescription filled, and we can just see what happens as I feel time is running out (I know this is totally illogical) and if I wait for him to change his mind on marriage I could be waiting a long time? To be clear, I would only do this with his consent, I wouldn't trick him into having children. He's said again this weekend that he's looking forward to us trying.

I don't even care (well, I do a bit, but not hugely) about not having the big white wedding, I would marry him tomorrow with just the two of us there. He's not keen on the whole big wedding scenario anyway and I've said fine, I could compromise on that, we could have parents and siblings only, to me marriage is about the lifetime that follows the wedding, which is only a day. He said couldn't we have the lifetime first, then the wedding...

AIBU to give up my long held principle? Should I give into my hormones, or stand resolute?

olderyetwider Mon 06-Jun-11 13:22:43

Do you genuinely trust his commitment? If so, and if you can give up your principle without feeling that you'll regret, or resent him for it, then I'd chuck away the pills and get busy!

niceguy2 Mon 06-Jun-11 13:24:33

Ok first thing I'd say is don't whatever you do just stop taking the pill without talking it through with your DP.

My mate's GF did this and "forgot" to mention it. Whilst my mate loves his son, he hates her now and never managed to forgive her for it. It might get you a baby but you will lose your DP.

I can understand your DP's reluctance to get married. Nowadays, there's nothing in it for a man except the prospect of losing half when you split up. Up until very recently I was totally against marriage. I've softened since I met my present GF but that said, i've never been through a messy divorce, only messy breakups.

Having a child out of wedlock nowadays isn't a big deal. The major challenge I see is agreeing with your DP. If he's happy then just go for it. Screw what your family think. Trust me, when you have kids, there'll be much more things they'll disapprove of! lol

The key question in my mind is do you want to get married just to have kids or are you happy to have kids without the piece of paper?

Niecie Mon 06-Jun-11 13:25:56

That's a tough one. I tend to agree with you that marriage should come before children. Apart from the emotional and religious aspects of it, I would want to be married from a practical point of view - having children when you are married gives you and your child more rights and protection than not being married. Of course, most of the legal differences can be dealt without being married but it would be cheaper to be married!

I think you need to bid your time. 32 isn't too old but I would only give it another year. How long have you been talking about getting married and having children? If it is years then probably another 12 months won't change his mind but it is a relatively new discussion then once he gets used to the idea he might come round. You probably won't get your big white wedding but that is secondary really to being married, isn't it?

There is also the issue of names of course. What would your DC be called if you weren't married - would they take their father's name or yours? One of you would end up with a different name to your children. Of course that would be the case if you didn't name change on marriage but I know several couples where one of the parents isn't happy about being the odd one out in the family because they have a different surname.

I suspect these days we are in the minority for thinking like this though.smile

tickTOCKtickTOCK Mon 06-Jun-11 13:36:30

Olderyetwider - yes, I do trust his commitment. Will I regret throwing away my principles? I don't know!! That's what I'm struggling with smile

NiceGuy - there's no way I would stop taking the pill without discussing it with him first. Whatever the decision is, we do it together. I have no desire to be underhand or deceitful, he knows how I feel and I know how he feels. I want to get married, to him, not just to have kids - of course we may turn out to have problems conceiving and we have talked about that - I feel a strong desire to marry him regardless.

Niecie - it's not just me! Thank you wink We've been talking about it for 18 months, been together for 4 years, so it's not a sudden thing. I would get married to him whereever he wanted, however - I'd rather have friends and family there (as would he, from what he's said) but if I can't, you're right, it is secondary. I would give DC his surname. Which would mean I could choose their first names, right?! I would take his name if we got married.

Guildenstern Mon 06-Jun-11 13:44:18

If you hold strong principles that mean you should be married before having kids, I don't think you should break these principles because of your partner's situation.

HappyMummyOfOne Mon 06-Jun-11 13:47:34

I hope its not that rare anymore to want to be married before having children.

Its not just the name thing, for me it was the commitment. I would have been the same if DH had not wanted to get married, I dont think we would have had DS as I felt very strongly about it.

At 32 you have a few years yet to find a way that makes you both happy..

igggi Mon 06-Jun-11 13:54:29

I'm not sure where Christianity comes into it - I'm a Christian and had my ds prior to my marriage to his father (because I don't believe sex outside marriage is wrong), OR you might be a Christian wno does think sex outside marriage is wrong so wouldn't be doing it for recreational or procreative purposes.
You're entitled to think kids should come after marriage if you want, but that's not because you're a Christian.
One thing that might help your DP is to ask him to think of a wedding he could live with - no restrictions: going abroad, nipping off in lunchbreak, as few or as many people as he wants. And then stick to his plan! I know that's not fair on you but ultimately you get what you want too.

vess Mon 06-Jun-11 14:00:49

Sounds like you've got a choice between your principles and a baby. Which one is more important to you?

WriterofDreams Mon 06-Jun-11 14:03:09

This is purely my opinion OP but if I were in the same situation as you I would feel very hurt that my OH didn't want to get married. I have the same belief as you - that you should be married before children and luckily my DH felt the same way. If he hadn't then I don't think I would have stayed with him. Why?Because I think it's a very fundamental belief and for me marriage is very very important. I would also think that if he wanted to be with me then why wouldn't he want to marry me? I know he's going through a divorce but that's not your fault and TBH no matter how irrational it is I would feel insulted that a previous bad marriage was impinging on his feelings for me. I couldn't help feeling that he didn't want to get married because he was afraid of another messy divorce.

Marriage isn't just a piece of paper or a big day out, it's an open and honest commitment and I don't think it's wrong to want that. Think long and hard about how you really feel about it before going ahead and having children because it could become an issue later on. Don't let your desire for children cloud your other decisions - sort out your relationship with your OH first and then move on to the children issue as any problems will be magnified once children come along.

niceguy2 Mon 06-Jun-11 14:03:45

To me, having a child is much more of a lifetime commitment than a marriage. The latter as your ex already knows can easily be disposed of. A child is for life and even when he/she's an adult, you'll still need to see each other occasionally for family events etc.

So whilst principles are all well and good, there's no reason why you can't compromise on them if it gets you something you want more.

I think when we are young, we have this grand plan about how life will go. You know, you finish your studies, date, live together, get married, have kids, live happily ever after.

In our modern topsy turvey world, I think few ever achieve it all in that order. Certainly my life's been one mixed bag!

Ephiny Mon 06-Jun-11 14:11:28

The name thing is a separate issue to marriage IMO. You and he can change your names to whatever you want, and name your children whatever you want, regardless of whether you're married or not.

I also have a vague, general feeling that we 'should' be married before having children, but I struggle a bit to justify it logically. Just feels like it's the right way to do things, and my family have rather traditional views on these things too so being married would save having to justify ourselves to them. I don't think it would be a deal-breaker for me though, if I was really desperate for a baby.

cannydoit Mon 06-Jun-11 14:12:22

got to think if getting married is really important to you or is what you think you are suppose to do? if its what you want then you are probably in a no win situation you are saying you dont want to push him but you are just going to wait for him to magically change his mind or give in to your wishes. dont know about you but i wouldnt want a man to marry me under those circumstances.
i would say give up on the idea and have a baby or give up on the man and find someone who thinks your worth marrying, if its that important to you. having been there and done that, i'm not saying i wouldnt do it again but the sparkle has some what rubbed off and i was religious. so i married for all the 'right' reasons. catch me doing that again.

FirstVix Mon 06-Jun-11 14:19:43

I had the same desire and the same problem with my DP. I also was told 'he'll never move in with you - too commitment shy' etc.

Well, I just went ahead 'assuming' things would happen as I wanted. We got a mortgage together, he agreed to try for children but wouldn't budge on the marriage. I decided that I'd prefer to be a family with someone who was helpful, loving and caring than get hung up on one issue that didn't, ultimately, change our interaction. Also (at 35) why would I throw away something lovely for the faint possibility that another person would suit me as well and also want children.

So I now have DD grin but no ring and am happy as Larry. That's not to say I've given up on the marriage thing but hey - and I have my own bridesmaid now!

OyOfMidWorld Mon 06-Jun-11 14:20:23

I'm in a similar situation to yours but a bit further down the line. I have a fantastic DP but we fell pregnant after a double contraceptive failure (condom then MAP). We both knew we wanted to stay together and that we would get married and have children together in the future. When I fell pregnant we were both happy and we have a beautiful DS but the prospect of marriage is in the background now, mainly for financial reasons.

It really rankles with me that I don't have the same surname as my son. I know I'm probably being a little unreasonable but, when we discussed naming, DP said that he should have his surname as we would all have the same name when we got married (I would take his name) but 14 months on from his birth we aren't even engaged and when asked about it he says he can't afford to buy me the ring I deserve. I don't care what kind of ring he buys, or if he buys one at all! I'm not interested in a big wedding or anything but I think he would want a big party so he just thinks our financial situation can't accomodate a wedding and there is no point proposing (neither of us would want to be engaged for years). I had a bit of a hormonal meltdown about not being married when I was about 8 months pregnant and he explained that he didn't want to propose while I was pregnant as people would think it was because of the baby.

I always wanted to be married before having children and do feel that marriage is important which is why I feel the way I do. I know we will get married eventually but I think we will probably have another baby first as, at 34, the biological clock is ticking. DP does say he will 'make an honest woman of me eventually' hmm and I think I just have to live with that for now. It is really important to keep talking about these things, as long as you are both open and honest about where you stand on these important issues you will work it out smile

jugglingwiththreeshoes Mon 06-Jun-11 14:20:33

I agree with niceguy

- Life isn't perfect, and you have to make compromises along the way.

Every month you are upset not to be pregnant, yet every day you're popping a contraceptive pill which makes it very unlikely - hugely reduces your chances !

This is slight madness !

Give yourself and DP a better chance of having the baby you're both looking forward to, and stop taking the pills !

Your traditional upbringing and your parents views will make this a more challenging path than it would be for many - but it's your life and you have to go for what you really want !

So many people get married with their little ones in attendance, or while expecting - It's becoming quite a new tradition ! Could you imagine things that way round ?
HTH

shirleyshortcut Mon 06-Jun-11 14:21:59

remember, he can walk away and you are left holding the baby

(well so can you, but thats probably less likely)

i would never never never have babies with someone who didnt want to marry me. Im not saying they have to marry me first but if they categorically stated they wouldnt, that would be a HUGE warning to me

EggyAllenPoe Mon 06-Jun-11 14:23:18

i was going to say getting married whilst not pregnant/ with small kids would be much more fun..

but then if you want to have kids -the time is now!

what would cocern me was him not wanting to get married. he's been with you for four years - enough time surely?
and children are a biger committment than marriage.

Bluemoonrising Mon 06-Jun-11 14:24:51

People have been having babies since way before Jesus roamed the land. His own mother wasn't married. In fact people have been having babies since way before marriage was even thought of.

The church only got involved with marriage in 1563.

There is nothing unchristian about having babies outwith marriage. It's a fallacy that is used to make people bow down to the way that others think they should live.

Go forth and multiply! (With your Dp's consent, of course!)

umf Mon 06-Jun-11 14:25:10

If he's not willing to prove his commitment by signing a piece of paper, is there something else he could do? Perhaps signing the house over to you? Or putting a couple of hundred thousand pounds into a bank account in your name? Cos you're going to be causing serious damage to your career, finances, pension, and health to have his children.

I would stand my ground if I were you. Whatever mistakes he's made in the past, he needs to show he's willing to look after his family. That means signing the contract.

darleneoconnor Mon 06-Jun-11 14:25:38

I think it depends on your relative financial situation. ie do you both own property and how much is it worth? Do you plan to stop work/go p/t? Does your DP want PR? Have you made wills? Are you happy not being each other's next of kin? Have you both got pensions? Are you living together atm?

There are lots of practical and legal reasons to get married and most of these favour the woman, under typical circs. If he's not willing to otherwise compensate you for not having these rights then I'd be questioning his committment to yor relationship.

Why exactly is he so anti-marriage?

diddl Mon 06-Jun-11 14:26:08

I wouldn´t have had children without being married first.

Why would he be happy to have children but not be married?

I don´t get it tbh-children are a huge commitment-why not be married as well?

pinkhebe Mon 06-Jun-11 14:27:10

If having the same surname matters, you could always change your name by deed poll (about £35 I think)

OyOfMidWorld Mon 06-Jun-11 14:27:40

I just wanted to add that I was a wee bit terrified of breaking the news of my pregnancy to certain family members with very traditional views. I was so surprised by the warmth and excitement that greeted our news and those relatives who I thought would have been most disapproving were amongst the most helpful and supportive during both my pregnancy and the newborn days. You might be underestimating your family and a baby brings such joy to new grandparents, aunts and uncles etc that they may not stay devastated for long if they are very upset by the initial news.

tickTOCKtickTOCK Mon 06-Jun-11 14:29:11

I do feel hurt, Writer, I am so the polar opposite of his moneygrabbing ex. The divorce is all finalised, it came through 2 years ago. I totally see your point about problems being magnified once children have come along, perhaps that is what is stopping me?

I know children are more of a commitment in some ways than a marriage, and I know that marriage doesn't solve problems, but whether it is believing that I should be married before having children through either the church influence or via my parents beliefs being instilled in me - as Igggi says (and I stand corrected) it's not really about religion - but it is important to me that our relationship be blessed and formalised.

Igggi, I've asked and he's said no to going aboard, no to the large wedding, both of which I have said fine, we'll compromise on that, how about 25 people, very lowkey? He's 'thinking about it' ... the one thing I wouldn't compromise on is that I would like to be married in church.

Noone is asking me to choose, Vess hmm, as HappyMummy points out I still have some time.

I'm not at the point of saying 'marry me or we're over' by any means! I suspect we'll muddle through it.

As NiceGuy says life is a mixed bag. It would just be nice to do it in the order I would like to. And that's not asking for much, in my view.

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