For me, a relationship either grows closer (i.e. 'marriage') or it drifts apart. In this case, we are close, we are connected, and we are sharing our lives. I have been baffled by his lack of desire to "get married". I needed to understand if this was an "I don't want to be that close to anyone". Because that is step one to leading towards a drifts apart scenario.
Then there is the question of what do you call someone you love and with whom you share your life. Girlfriend? Significant Other? Domestic Partner? Friend? None of those fit the depth of the feelings I share with S, and they all make me cringe. (Does 'wife'? I don't know, but it is more globally understood as a connection).
He expressed that he doesn't want to have expectations that change because we are 'married'. I expressed the same concern. The reason one would want to formalize a relationship is because it is so wonderful the way it is, not because after some magic arbitrary date the rules change. So, I offered a possible compromise "Why don't we get engaged?"
His response was that to get engaged without the expectation of marriage was not the right thing to do. So, ok, not a good solution. Then he looked at me and said that although he was unprepared for a proposal, would I marry him? ( Of course he used a lot more words, and was much sweeter, but that was the core stuff) Wow.... wow...yes, yes.
So, I was heard and understood, and his response was a proposal!! This feels right, A celebration of 2 people who are as connected as we are. The date? Our 5th anniversary: December 21, 2009. Winter solstice at sunrise, just like at the beginning in 2004. 2 years to continue to create our life, then a day to celebrate the magic of our connection. Then continue the creation of our world.
So, we have been letting people know...and I am amazed at the reaction of people. It isn't an "of course", but a "Yay!" kind of giddiness, and a sense of celebration. Except from Cassy, my granddaughter, who said "I knew you would marry him, because you are so perfect with him".
So, it is official, and we are ring shopping. I am happy. He is happy. Life is excellent.