You can't bully or nag a man into marrying you and expect a good result. But you can try these clear-cut and compassionate options. Here, real brides share about their boyfriends' fears of marriage — and how the fears were overcome.
"My boyfriend and I dated four years and it was a great relationship. We were highly compatible and best friends. But because his parents had a bitter divorce Sam was terrified of getting married. I finally dragged him to premarital counseling to help him realize how well suited we were, and to help me come to better understand his fears. We've been married five years and have a two-year-old son!" —Sandi
"After six years of a happy relationship — five of those living together — he remained determined to commit in every way but on paper. I told him, 'Look I want a child and you want a child. The only way I will do that is if we are legally bound. So you can have me alone and we can keep living together until I decide I want kids, or you can hold your nose, jump in and propose.' He did the latter and we just celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary." —Beth
"I didn't give Dan an ultimatum. I simply said, 'If after three years together you still won't marry me I am breaking up with you and will look for someone who will get married.' He didn't believe me. I broke up with him and started dating. Dan showed up with a ring and that was that!" —Amy
"He comes from a wealthy family and his father always drummed it into his head that women would be after his money. I signed a prenup to assure him that it was him I loved, not what he could provide for me. That eased his fears and he proposed. A year after our marriage he ripped up the prenup." —Cynthia
"We did a wedding ceremony without a minister to officiate just him, me, and our two best friends. That helped me feel bound to him in every way that mattered. Six months later he suggested we make it legal and we did." —Amy
"I asked him to tell me exactly what he was afraid of. Once he could articulate the fears and he saw I wasn't trying to change his mind, but to understand where he was coming from, he felt less threatened by the idea of what marriage was. When he finally proposed he said, 'I'd be scared of marriage with anyone but you, but with you I know my heart is safe.'" —Lana
Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.