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I think that the point of “Marry Me or Else” got lost in the provocative title and the word “ultimatum.” The point of the conversation wasn’t to guilt or force a proposal, but to bring the focus back to our relationship.

Katie’s post “Year Seven” on her blog Marriage Confessions says it best; sometimes our relationships are not high up on the priority list. Without going into details of Mr. Perfect’s life, he and I have both had other things on our minds during the past four plus years which have, on occasion, been prioritized higher than “us.” Personally, I’ve graduated college, lost a job, had an apartment sold out from under me, worked as a temp, lost my step-father, been in a car accident that totaled my car when I couldn’t afford a new one, lost an aunt I was close to, been stuck in a job I didn’t love, been over-involved, been given a position that suits me better, moved a couple of times, and dealt with weight issues and pressure to get married. That’s a lot to write, let alone to live. Mr. Perfect had his share of adversities & complications as well. Our relationship was stable, so it was (logically) placed on the shelf while we dealt with more immediate fires.

When you look up and realize time has gone on & you haven’t been moving forward as a couple, yet you’ve been helping and supporting each other at a cost to yourself, it becomes imperative to take stock of what you’re investing in.

Dating is a high-risk investment–you may get a great yield or you may lose a substantial amount. Most financial analyst will tell you that as you get closer to retirement, or as you have more to lose with less time to regain what you’ve lost, the less risky your investments should be. The returns are guaranteed, but without the possibility for a huge payoff. It all depends on if the risk is worth the reward. At some point, a long term investment should be made that can be counted on for positive returns (Note: I am not a financial advisor).

There’s no denying that I spend a lot more money as a single in a committed relationship who isn’t cohabitating than I would as a truly single individual, or even as a married individual. Ergo, there’s a monetary cost as well as an opportunity cost. But above all,  our relationship hasn’t been prioritized high enough for us to decide how to act one way or another.

Through the marriage workshop and the fourth Wednesday marriage and family workshop/Bible studies at church, I began to renew my focus on our relationship and realized I wanted more than I was getting. I wasn’t upset about not getting what I didn’t realize I was missing, but I woke up to the fact I had been comfortable with inertia in this area of my life. Our relationship was good, we helped and supported each other, we laughed a lot and enjoyed each other’s company…all on auto pilot.

I want to use the time between now and “decision time” to be engaged in our relationship, to define our motives and motivations, to express what we want, to grow in our relationship. I want to feel like we are qualified to make a decision on forever independent of any outside forces, including my “un-timatum”.

How do you make your relationship a priority? What made you decide to move forward in your relationship? What caused you to break up?