In Summary
  • It’s not uncommon for a couple to have different degrees of readiness when it comes to commitment or marriage. They may drop hints or perhaps you have started to argue about it and are not sure what to do. If this is something you are going through, it is useful to take a step back and see what you can do to address it.

Brenda, 30, recently made a decision to separate with her boyfriend of five years. Without any care about what her friends would say, she walked out of the relationship saying she was not ready to waste any more time yet she was not growing any younger. “I invested my time, but later realised the relationship was stunted. I decided to move on,” she reveals.

Perhaps Brenda had not taken more serious steps in her relationship like Muhammed Sadat who says his girlfriend Rehma seems reluctant about accepting his marriage proposal. “All actions indicate she is ready to commit but she has not formally accepted my proposal,” he says.
Sadat has already introduced his girlfriend (who is expecting their first child) to his family and bought land in their names, some of the indications of his commitment to the relationship but Rehma keeps telling him to wait.

Open up
Samuel A. Bakutana, a counsellor affiliated to Inspired Leaders International, says when a couple has lived together and one of them thinks it is time to commit whereas the other does not seem ready, they need to search themselves for the reasons they started living together before marriage.

Bakutana further notes that if there is an issue to settle, they should first settle it. “Is there a matter of repentance and putting things right with God first? This is in the context of faith where, “living together before marriage” is actually a euphemistic expression for direct words such as fornication or immorality,” he elucidates.

That aside, the counsellor says, though it is vital, the couple has to genuinely share with the other the “why” of their stand.
The ready one does not need to whine about the situation or feel insecure but calmly show the unready one why that is the right time to put that out of the way and focus together on the future of their life together.

Reassess your needs
To Evelyn Kharono Lufafa, a psychologist working with Suubi Medical Centre, the situation is quite common today. A couple meets fall in love, merge their lives and then one of them does not want to get married.
In this case, she advises the couple to have an honest talk. “Communication can clear up a lot of confusion, ask your partner if he or she opposes marriage or the legal act it comes with then discuss some of the benefits to be able to come up with a nonjudgmental solution or compromise,” she notes.

Kharono also points out figuring out the meaning of marriage to help both parties find out if they do not share same values and decide to either move on or stay in the relationship. Reassess each other’s needs to find out if you are on the same page. “It is also good to analyse your childhood dream of a fairy tale wedding, if you find out that commitment to your partner is more important, then go ahead and if you realise it is your standard of marriage then find someone who will share similar values,” she recommends.

Bakutana also says there is need for the unready party to boldly open up about the real issues behind the situation and also be willing to consider their partner’s position.
“Often, those who are not ready are fearing some scarecrows of life such as wedding bills and clearance of bride price, among others,” he says adding, “that is why more than 90 per cent of the time, we (the men) are the ones who are not ready and sometimes it is just unwillingness to commit which affects a good number of women.”

Seek counselling
Involving a mutually agreeable third party such as a trusted pastor, a faithful married friend or a professional counsellor to offer a non-biased, unemotional opinion and their circumstance is another solution Bakutana suggests.

“The third pair of eyes often throws good light on issues especially depending on who the two are; their values, worldview and moral authority. However, if all the above fails, appeal to God. This should actually happen throughout the stages mentioned because marriage is not a physical partnership. It is a spiritual fusion that only manifests to the world in physical togetherness. God is third-party in marriage and whenever he is not centre stage, the glue that keeps the marriage strong weakens,” he says.

“I would dig deeper for her reasons and with a deeper understanding of this, I can undo the differences hindering our next move. If it is in regards to character, I would be in a better position to shape and better the mentioned character visa-vis the issue at hand.”
Innocent Sserunjogi, teacher

“I would leave him because love is natural and not something you can force. So if the person is not ready to commit, I leave him then pray to God to give me another man with whom we share the same dreams.”
Irene Nakitende, credit officer

“I would first cut communication such as phone calls, just to see his reaction. I would depend on his reaction for a decision on whether to stay or move on. I would not want to waste my time with somebody who is not serious since it cannot be regained.”
Persie N. Katama, cashier