Asking my boyfriend to marry me

So I have been with my boyfriend for almost 3 years now and I am ready to get married. I do live with him and we have a daughter together. She is baptized as well. I have asked him to marry me but his answer is “I want to be more financially prepared and be able to provide more for you and our daughter.” Which I do understand his point of view. To me, I know I am living in sin and I feel for some time that I am ready for the sacrament of marriage. Money, and cars and houses matter of course but not to me when it comes to marriage because it’s about the unity between us. We live tougher already and it’s nearly having everything a married couple does have but I want to so badly To be united as a family in the eyes of God. As well he does have different spiritual practices (Shamanism) and I have talked to a priest about how I feel and of course I am aware that we can still get married by church and keep our religions. But, he gets annoyed when I keep bringing up marriage but yet there are times out of the blue where he does let me know he is going to marry me. What do I do? I am not understanding how he gets annoyed that I want to get married but yet he tells me sometimes he wants to get married as well? What do you think?


Do you really want to know?
I think it was a bad idea to live with him, being intimate with him and have children without getting married first. With someone who profess paganism, I would avoid too. It may be a part of the problem, as he does not see marriage the same way as you may. It’s so cultural to just cohabit nowday!

I know it can be hurtfull to hear.

More seriousely.

Does your priest have talked to you of the possibility of marriage when you prepared your daughter for baptism?

No, i don’t understand his point.
I would have understand “I want to save money to have the big wedding we deserve, as we cannot do more than a little picknique at 10 people with our current finances” as a valid point.

But it is a nonsense to said that he don’t want to marry you because he wants to provide more for you and child. He id already mandate to provide for the child. And in practical life he supports you even without legal duty as you share a home etc. Marriage will not add more to provide, unless you both feel that you want the exit option and the freedom to marry someone heathier? Which seems pointless and not realistic with already a child.
But marriage will provide for protection for you and the child.

So I will answer him that you don’t want to marry someone wealthier or a welathier him, but just him, your love and the perfect dad.That you are happy with him.
I would point it discreetly on a second argument that marriage will protect you or him and the child if he or you dies. And that you want that the society want to recognized your family as a true one.

If need, I will add that not being married hurt your religious beliefs and make your conscience unrest as you feel it’s a sin before God. Does he wants to help you with making peace with yourself?


Stop living in sin and I’m sure he’ll come to find that he is suddenly financially prepared😉


You have two choices:

  1. Tell boyfriend that you want to set a wedding date within the next year and if he’s not ready to do that, you’re moving out with your daughter, and be prepared to move out if he doesn’t set the date. This will either motivate him to marry you or will show you that he never really intended to do so.


  1. Continue to hang around waiting for him to want to marry you, which at the rate this is going, may very well be “never”. I do not recommend (2) because you could spend your whole life living in sin.

My mother’s generation had a saying, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk free.” It basically meant if a guy can get everything he wants from a woman, such as sex and maybe other stuff like cooking, cleaning, and her salary going towards his expenses, without bothering to marry her, then he has no motivation to ever marry her. On the other hand, if he can’t get all those things without marrying the woman, he’s a lot more motivated to marry her.


Love the idea, I am sure it’s effective. To both make him a decision and stop sinning.

But quite honestly, as it makes a sort of backmail, the person affects may posssibly have resentment that she will express a lot at any occasion when the problem will be resolved.
He can also choose to not accept but to leave.

It’s a risk to take.


and the

  1. stop leaving in sin. To not live as husband and wife until they are truly married. Seems the only possibility fr someone who is concerned by his immediate sins.

I agree with the saying. As people currently have few practical reasons to marry, they just don’t want to spend time to really take action to make it happens.


You have been together for three years, you live together, you have a child together. I don’t understand why he needs to be “more financially prepared”. For what? Being more financially prepared makes sense if you are looking to find somewhere to live together and begin your family. In your case, you have already done that. So, when you get married, the only difference will be that you’ll be married. Getting married doesn’t have to be expensive. I don’t know where you are from. In the US, the average wedding apparently costs $33,900. You don’t have to spend that.

Having seen one of your earlier posts, would I be correct in guessing that your boyfriend is a Hmong? I guess I was curious because I don’t think I know anyone who practices shamanism (I believe the term is sometimes applied to Native Americans, but I am fairly certain that they don’t use the term themselves).


It seems that he takes his role as a male provider very seriousely.

But it might have something else to add such as a fear of a life engagment, a difficulty to trust the woman or a something link to cultural difference…


‘Shamanism’ is a word used to describe a very wide range of religious belief coupled with many cultures.

Do you know much about his detailed beliefs? Or just that they are not Catholic? And can you distinguish between religious beliefs and culture practice? For example, if his parents are required to hold a very large and expensive event to celebrate a wedding this may lead to him putting it off out of respect for his parents. They may already have had to hold such events for his siblings, or cousins. Of he may be expected to marry someone else and is resining this.

I think that there are circumstances in which the Catholic Church allows secret marriages to take place.

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I agree with this statement, because if your boyfriend isn’t ready to commit to you, you could spend your life living in sin. You don’t want to jeopardize your eternal salvation.


You could try couples therapy.

It seems to me that he wants to get married but is afraid to, perhaps for a reason he’s also afraid to reveal or might not realize on a conscious level. A safe environment like a therapist’s office would provide a space for this to be explored further.

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I do understand his religious practices. And no, they don’t require him to have a big ceremony.

I don’t get it. He’s already living with you and raising your child. If he can do that now, he can do that as a husband. Almost sounds like an excuse, tbh.

If this was my friend telling me this, I would say it sounds as if he’s using the possibility of marriage to keep her, without actually marrying her. I see this in many relationships where couples are already living together, whether a partner is getting all the benefits of having a wife without the responsibilities of having a wife. There are couples out there who only got engaged to “shut their baby mamas up”.

I would tell her to re-evaluate the relationship if she has to ask to get married, but I imagine this is difficult when there’s a child involved so you have my empathy. You don’t have to marry him to stop living in sin. Going to confession and breaking up is an alternative if you decide that he isn’t going to be a good partner. Or you could move out/stop having sex, but in his eyes, it’s going to be seen as an ultimatum because he’s not Catholic. And this will lead to problems even if you end up married IMO.

Please don’t get offended, I just don’t get a good feeling based on the information you gave.


How is not being married helping your financial situation? The marriage penalty has been nearly abolished, so it is likely being married would save you money. You don’t need an elaborate wedding; if you’re willing to get married at a regularly scheduled weekday or Sunday Mass, it costs nothing.


Out of curiosity, what sort of responsibilities are you thinking of here?

Based on @alexisrm2927’s post, they are living together, they are raising a child together. It sounds like they are married for all practical purposes, except on paper. What additional responsibilities are you thinking would materialize once they formalize this arrangement?

I agree with the earlier replies that this seems irrational. Weddings don’t have to be expensive. If you don’t care about an elaborate ceremony or reception, you should be able to get a priest to officiate a wedding for a few hundred bucks. If you have a case of financial hardship, you might even be able to get the fee waived.

It sounds like your boyfriend is using finances as an excuse to avoid discussing what’s really on his mind. It might be worth having a discussion with him regarding what he actually thinks marriage will mean for your relationship.

I have a relative who lived with her boyfriend for several years before she was married. They even owned their home together. On her wedding day, after the ceremony was over, she lamented that now that she’s married, she will have to do her husband’s laundry. Her mother told her that was ridiculous. Nothing about the relationship needed to change because they had signed a piece of paper.

The problem was that she had some image or stereotype in her mind about what “marriage” was, and after she got married she felt like she had to conform to that image. But that was just a fantasy. She had been living a married life the whole time, just without the formal recognition.

I suspect something similar might be going on with your boyfriend. He might have some image about “marriage” in his mind, and pressure to conform to that image is inhibiting him from taking the leap. So have a chat with him, and try to find out what he’s really thinking. What does “marriage” mean to him? Try not to pressure him to marry you during that discussion, because then he may just get defensive. You’re not trying to change his position; you’re simply trying to understand what’s really on his mind, because what he’s saying is on his mind doesn’t make any sense at all.


I believe the others above have covered this quite eloquently, but I just want to chime in with the chorus of voices here and make it crystal clear:

Face it: you are already married to this man and you are inextricably linked due to common housing, your child, and probably your finances and vehicles. The only thing you lack in your “marriage” is the piece of paper. He is stringing you along because (excuse me) he doesn’t have to buy the cow when he gets the milk for free.

So you definitely need to set your priorities in order here. He is the father of your child and so he is in your life to stay, no matter what. But given your disparity of cult and your firmly held belief that fornication is sinful, you need to take immediate and drastic action. Tis_Bearself laid out some very effective ultimata.

Be ready to carry through on any threats you make in this regard. I hope he is not abusive or mentally unstable, and that he is able to see your point of view enough to make the right decision. But you should also be prepared for this to end your relationship. Your daughter needs a father, but you need a husband, not a boyfriend, so if he leaves you, so be it.

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@Anesti33 “Tis_Bearself laid out some very effective ultimata.”

Yes, and no.

The advice @Tis_Bearself proposed is a bluff. This decision doesn’t belong exclusively to OP:

For all practical purposes, this comes down to a mutual agreement, and, in the absence of agreement – a judge. No judge in this land is going to arbitrarily allow a child to be taken from his/her father just because the babies mother wants to use the child as leverage to force someone to get married.

This is GREAT advice!!

Is this man emotionally and mentally healthy? Is he a caring father and (common-law) husband?
Is he mature, respectful, providing materially for you and your child? Or is he manipulating you emotionally, sometimes being nice to you, sometimes controlling you?
Can you imagine if it were your daughter in your shoes, what would you want her to do?
Can you move in somewhere else like with parents, or other family members? Even temporarily while you can get some mental clarity about the situation? What do your loved ones think of him, and your situation?
I would think about getting out before you have more kids with him and are trapped even more.
Is it possible he’s a narcissist?

Maybe I am 100% wrong, but I don’t get a good vibe from your description of the situation.

Also @moderators, does this really belong in liturgy / sacraments?

In USA, many of the dads who don’t want to get married aren’t interested in suing for parental rights. Some are, especially if they’re well off (doesn’t seem to be the case here) or if they think mom is unfit. Judges don’t go rushing in, the dad would have to care enough to take it to court, or alternatively if mom decided to sue in court for child support, it would come up then. Often, couples who break up just handle anything to do with their kids informally. I answered from US perspective but of course other countries might handle it differently. There are countries that give more legal protections to couples living together unmarried.

If OP is concerned then they should talk to a family lawyer in their jurisdiction.

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