The inevitable "big question"

There is no more delaying the inevitable. Jack is going to "pop the question," most likely before the end of the year.

We've been dating for five or six years (who's counting), and living together for almost three. Somewhere around our two-year mark, Jack told me that he intended to marry me.

My first reaction: "If you get down on one knee, I'll kick you in the teeth!" Poor Jack. Luckily for me he's a patient and understanding man. He knows that my father's multiple failed marriages that crumbled before my eyes and his horrible parenting skills (putting it mildly, the man should have been put in jail for the things he did when I was younger), have jaded me against marriage and men in general.

The next time Jack mentioned marriage, I got all logical and said: "You should finish your degree and find a career before we talk about this. I want you to have options. Besides, my parents wouldn't approve of me marrying a man without a "real" job." Sounds good, right? Bought me few more years.

Well, Jack has finished his degree in psychology and earlier this month he began training to be an elementary school teacher in the Baltimore City Public School System. Degree? Check. Job? By next month. Now he's asking what type of ring I want...

Don't get me wrong. I have no qualms about being with Jack forever. We get each other in a way that must be rare. We can joke, have fun and work hard together. He's my favorite dance partner. We see eye-to-eye on so many things. We have great sexual chemistry. Things are good, so why go screwing that up by throwing marriage into the mix?

So many people tell me "everything changes when you get married."

Jack and I have had numerous conversations about--and agreed on--things that will likely never change, whether we get married or not. I don't want to combine finances. I don't plan to have children. I would like to pursue a PhD eventually (after I complete the master's program I am applying for this week). My career goals involve moving to Latin America and working in the nonprofit world, in the ecotourism industry or at an environmental research or conservation center. I've already started teaching Jack some Spanish.

I DON'T expect that Jack will suddenly expect me to be barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen allowing my dreams to fade away just because we get married.

Of course I realize that people grow and people change, so maybe I am naive in thinking that we can grow together, not apart, and the promises Jack and I have made will hold strong. I don't think he'd want that.

Maybe I am naive. But, is that really so bad?

If I am going to "take the plunge," I'd like to say my "I do" with a head full of positive thoughts and a heart full of love.


  1. mara- you are wonderful. good luck! we'll catch up soon!

  2. Don't worry to much, things really don't change that much when you have been together for so long...things DO change however with children. Not bad, but definate change.

  3. That's what I figure...we already know all about each other's annoying habits and we've had about a million late-night conversations about our respective hopes and dreams. People change and grow, of course, but why should adding the "Mr. & Mrs." titles make anything different?

  4. You've been together for such a long time-it is just a title, a way of formalizing things, and getting a little break on taxes if you file jointly. ;)

    That being said, count yourself lucky that the person you love and connect with also respects your dreams and goals enough to not try to dampen them or pull you onto his path instead of a shared one. Not everyone is like that. You have a good one. =)

  5. i meant to comment on this a million years ago.

    like heather said, marriage doesn't spur change in a healthy relationship. you already have the stuff and the house, those are bigger deals than a piece of paper.

    as for future plans, those would be tricky without a marriage. marriage won't change any of that.

    i say do it

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