Kids aside, girlfriend doesn't want to wed
DEAR AMY: I've been with my girlfriend for over four years. Everything happened really quickly between us: She got pregnant after only three months of dating, then we moved in together. After our son was born, the "flame" slowly started to go out between us. After three years, as much as I really loved this girl my patience had worn out, and it seemed we were more roommates than a couple raising our child. She told me (after three years together) that she doesn't want to get married. This shattered me. She talked about marriage in the beginning but as soon as things got tough, everything changed. I'm traditional and would love to get married; it's something I have dreamed about. I love this girl so much and I don't know whether I should split up my family over her refusal to marry me, especially now that she is pregnant with my second child. I don't know what to do. I'm so torn. I love her so much; help me sort this out.--Frustrated
DEAR FRUSTRATED: Marriage marks an important declaration about long-term commitment, but your perspective (and your partner's) is skewed. She thinks, "Our relationship is flawed, so I don't want to get married." You think, "Our relationship is flawed, so I want to get married." Marriage will not solve (or even change) your relationship problems. You've already made a family together. Because your partner seemed to want to get married at one time, you can assume she is not necessarily against the institution itself.
Do not push to get married when your relationship is in the ditch and then use her reluctance as a reason to leave. Because you have children together, you are both duty-bound to make every effort to have the best relationship possible.
Read "Relationship Rescue: A Seven-Step Strategy for Reconnecting with Your Partner" by "Dr. Phil" McGraw (Hyperion, 2007). Dr. Phil's challenging program could help both of you take the next step.