I love you! Love you too! I love you more! No, I love you more!
AAAAAhhhh! Stop it! You hear it every day… people casually throw these magical words around like there was no tomorrow. Sometimes it’s a replacement for “talk to you later” when you’re going to hang up… “Luv you. Love you too.”
Sure, it’s very important to express your feelings to those close to you, to let them know you love them, cherish them, enjoy their company. But what does all this constant “I love you” REALLY mean? What ARE YOU getting yourself into?
Here’s a question from Lee in Ontario. She’s found herself saying “I love you” to her boyfriend more and more lately, and suddenly she’s feeling unsure and uneasy about it. Is she actually misleading him?
Dear Dan and Jennifer,
I am in a 6 month relationship. He says I love you I say I love you back. He says it more I say it more. Yes we are both in love with each other.
If you tell someone you love them a lot, are they going to expect you to marry them? Am I leading him on by telling him I love him – I do. But will I marry him I don’t know. Is it evil to tell someone you love them under these thoughts?
— Lee in Ontario
Does “I love you” mean “I want to marry you”?
NO!!! Love and marriage are two very, very different things. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with getting married, but there’s also no reason whatsoever to rush into it.
Our society is so hung up on getting married FAST that young girls grow up planning that fairy tale wedding since before they have any idea what love for a partner means. They’re enamored with the idea from their childhood days when they hear stories of the lovely princess that’s rescued by some dashing prince, and he sweeps her off her feet and they get married – and live happily ever after. Yep, it’s really that natural. You meet a guy, he’s not that bad, so you get married before he gets away. Done deal.
STOP IT! Drop that thought and back away slowly.
Marriage is a government sponsored religious construct and may be defined differently depending on your personal beliefs. Separation of church and state aside (just pretend it doesn’t really exist since often times it doesn’t), governments everywhere discriminate against people who choose to share their lives together but not get “married” – i.e. they don’t have a signed government contract together that is blessed by the church.
This is the whole reason why the topic of “gay marriage” is really an issue, and why it will disappear as an issue as we evolve as a society and as a species. The government has no business discriminating against people and telling them who they can and cannot marry. These restrictions originate from one faith or another that some people may subscribe to, but many others do not.
So before you sign that contract, take to time to actually think about what it really means to you on a personal level. Marriage is just the beginning, or the next step, of your life together – not the end goal…
FEAR – “You better marry that girl before you lose her”
One of the main reasons people get married WAY too early in their relationship is fear. Whether it’s pressure from friends and family, pressure from one partner or another, or just pressure to get married before you hit a certain age, it’s all based on fear. And decisions based on fear are almost always decisions you regret later on.
Want to marry the love of your life? Wonderful, do it. But don’t rush into it.
Getting “married” won’t change your relationship, it’ll only change the legal description of your relationship – and make your family and friends happy or sad, depending on whether they like your bride or groom to be.
Finding the person you want to spend your days, months, years with is a wonderful, beautiful thing that not nearly enough people experience. Be grateful for the experience and enjoy it to it’s fullest. But don’t treat it like a quote for a home loan and lock in your rate before your APR has a chance to go up!
You don’t have to get married to have a long and happy relationship
All this rampant fear around getting married too late or “losing that special someone because you didn’t marry them sooner” creates all kinds of silly complications. It’s gotten to where people feel awkward saying “I love you”, and almost feel they have to preface it with “but I’m not going to marry you just yet”.
Express your love freely, and understand that your expression of love and caring is JUST THAT, nothing more. No need to lock in that interest rate until you’re good and ready.
But what if you don’t get married and end up losing that person?
It’s important to remember that being a part of someone’s life is a wonderful privilege. Every day, that special person makes a conscious decision to be with you. That’s a beautiful thing. And you can be happy together for days, weeks, months, years, whether you’re married or not.
People are always changing and growing, some more than others. When you are together with someone, you are either growing together or you are growing in different directions (read: growing apart). If for some reason the time comes to part ways, then so it must be, and that’s OK.
It doesn’t make the time you spent together any less previous and blessed. Just think – if you had been married, then you’d be parting ways and calling it a “divorce” – often a very ugly business, since you have to cancel your government contract AND your religious bond at the same time. Wow, talk about a deterrent.
It’s all OK. Enjoy your time together every day, every moment. And if you feel the special desire to get married, then do it because you wish to further show each other your commitment, not out of fear that it’s too easy to let each other go without that paper. Do it out of love for one another.