Is a wedding necessary for a relationship to thrive?

Thursday May 13 2021
By Evelyn C Kharono Lufafa

My boyfriend and I have dated for 10 years. I am now 30 years old and he is 35. Unfortunately, he says he is not yet ready to get married.  People say I should just move on and find someone who is willing to tie the knot. However, I love him and cannot just walk away. I have now decided to resign myself to just living together without being married. After all, a wedding is not what makes a marriage. Am I lying to myself? Is there a better way to get the ring without pressurising him?  Is a wedding necessary?    


Dear Anonymous,

A wedding may not make a marriage but it is what makes a marriage official and so cannot be trivialised. However, I see two scenarios in this case. First, that your boyfriend has opened up to you that he is not ready to get married but at the same time you say you will go ahead and live with him regardless of the wedding.

It is important to be on the same page when it comes to marriage. Find out what he means by not being ready, this will give you a clear view about the relationship. Men are not taught how to love and neither can they be forced into settling down. A man who wants to marry says it and shows it, meaning you can see it. It is important to note that commitment is key in a relationship and a wedding is top on the list.

My take would be that you find the best time to discuss with your boyfriend what you think about your relationship and that will eventually lead to finding out when he intends to marry you officially. Dating for 10 years may not guarantee that you are the one he wants to settle down with.


The level of commitment will be seen through planning a visit to your parents and also starting to plan for the wedding. Do you still want to take another risk after living together without any sign of commitment?

Having dated for 10 years, take time and remember what has been happening. Has your boyfriend ever proposed to marry you?

These questions will enable you make a reflection on your relationship. Let your desire to make the relationship official be known in clear terms and if after all this discussion he is still adamant, then perhaps it is time to start weighing your decision.

If you resign yourself to the current status quo, over time, you will slowly grow bitter and one day, no amount of love will be able to hold you back from breaking down.

In case you want further support on the same, you can seek the services of a relationship counsellor who will provide a safe avenue for you to explore your relationship.

Reader advice

What are his reasons?

Barbara  N. What are his reasons for not wanting a wedding? Are they justifiable? That is where you should start. If they are justifiable, then wait. If they are not, then walk away. Ten years is not a lifetime.

Keep lying to yourself

Petra Mugabi. No matter what you tell yourself and the world, it is obvious that what you really want is a wedding and to make your relationship official. Yes, a wedding does not make a marriage but its importance cannot be trivialised. I admit that walking away from a 10-year relationship is hard but you might want to weigh your options. Make your desire to make the relationship official known in clear terms and if after a month or two he is still adamant, then perhaps it is time to start looking elsewhere. If you resign yourself to the current status quo, overtime, you will slowly grow bitter and one day, no amount of love will be able to hold you back from breaking down.

Don’t settle for less

Linnet Nantume. This sounds like a story I have heard before. Girl gives up her dreams for a boyfriend and two years down the road, the beloved boyfriend decides to walk away and marry someone else. Do not settle for less. Let him at least meet you half way.

He will never be ready

Esther Maina. If your boyfriend is not ready to get married after 10 years of dating, he will never be ready. Save yourself the heartache and leave. It will not be easy to break the attachment, it will get worse before it gets better. But the important bit of all this is that eventually, it does get better. So, pack your bags and go start a new life. When he realises that it is his loss, he will come get you. If he does not, then good riddance to a bad relationship.

He can’t afford a wedding

Nelson Mulumba. I think he loves you but he keeps saying he is not ready because he does not have the money to spend on a wedding now. Pray about it and be patient with your man, things will happen at the right time. You may need a ring quickly but stay in tears for rest of your entire life.

Marriage is important

Lukia Sheena. Marriage is necessary for purposes of safeguarding your future. Yes weddings are not important but marriage is. Even if you stay with that man for 50 years, without marriage you will never be considered his wife. You will never have any rights as a wife. Think twice about settling for just cohabitation. You deserve better.

Be careful

Patricia Ekau. Have you seen situations where a man leaves a woman they have dated for years and marries someone they have just known for months? Be careful so that this does not happen to you. Going through proper steps of marriage is the only thing that will make you comfortable.

Are you happy?

Peter Okello. Companionship is about two people being able to live together in harmony, peace, love and friendship. Haven’t you had that the last 10 years together?



According to a new Pew Research Centre study, most Americans (69 per cent) say cohabitation is acceptable even if a couple does not plan to get married. Another 16 per cent say it is acceptable, but only if the couple plans to marry, and 14 per cent say it is never acceptable for an unmarried couple to live together.

Evelyn C Kharono Lufafa

Counselling psychologist Sermo Therapy Consult, 0750074412