HIM: “She said, ‘Either we get married or we break up.’ So, I asked her to marry me.”
That this kind of thing still happens could seem to contradict the idea that modern women aren’t on a husband-hunt (treating marriage like a career) the way they used to be, but it doesn’t, and here’s why:
1) Some women still are, admittedly, on a husband hunt. There are some women who believe being “married” (in quotes because I take issue with their definition of “marriage”—call it a difference of opinion) is a social status to achieve, one of life’s mile-markers, a good way to earn a living, or something that will assure the rest of the world they’re wanted by a man, but they by no means represent the majority of modern-day women.
2) When a modern-day woman uses that ultimatum, she’s not really trying to manipulate you into marrying her for marriage’s sake. Instead, she’s trying, in a bumbling kind of way, to ask you ( because she loves you), “Will you marry me?” while still observing the traditional “he asks her” proposal etiquette. She’s simply decided she loves you and wants to marry you, and she’s telling you in her own way, “It’s time for you to ask. Now, please. I’ll say ‘yes,’ I promise.”
The problem is that many men see this as a threat or as a command, and they’re instantly afraid. Women scare men—this is a fact. We may not know why we scare you the way we do, but we know we do, and some of us, the less scrupulous of us, will use it to our advantage. You have to stop letting it work on you. We (the good ones) don’t want it to work as well as it does, because we don’t enjoy spinelessness, even when it operates in our favor. Weakness of character is simply not attractive.
This doesn’t mean you should always say “no” to prove you’re a “strong man”; that’s game playing (and, just a note: a strong man doesn’t have to fake it). All we want is for you to be confidently true to yourself, even if you’re afraid you’ll hurt us or piss us off. If a woman indicates that she wants you to marry her and you aren’t ready to get married, don’t do it. What quality of marriage can you expect to have if you allow yourself to be bullied into it?
The best way to combat the perceived bullying effects of the ultimatum, should you be handed one, is to not view it as a threat; consider it a straightforward question about commitment and possibly children. If you want those things, say yes by asking her. If you don’t, say no by not asking her. Don’t let the tone, the ultimatum, or the possible consequences of your saying “no” influence your decision.
A caveat: She just might be trying to trap you into marriage
But don’t you think you would know if that were the case? You know whether you and the woman you’re with are really in love. You’ll know she’s interested in sharing her life with you—and not just “marrying” you—by the way she treats you. You can tell whether she respects you and considers you a friend, or whether she enjoys toting you along when she goes places and getting you to do things for her. You know.
If she is one of the fringe women who’s truly only interested in the ring and the princess “Me! Me! It’s all about ME!” wedding and the faceless husband, and not in you, it’s obvious that her marriage ultimatum is more about her than it is about the two of you. And if you cave, you’re a coward and a fool. You will make the rest of us sad, because if you’re a beautiful-souled, intelligent, interesting, fun, and engaging man who has succumbed to (at least several years of) marriage with the wrong person, that means you’re denying your companionship to someone who would actually appreciate you for who you are. In effect, you’re ruining not only your own romantic happiness, but the romantic happiness of another person who would truly enjoy you.
Shame on you.
[The above is excerpted from What Every Woman Wishes Modern Men Knew About Women]