Marriage is a beautiful thing — but to some, it can also be a bit nerve-wracking and scary. Committing your lives to each other in front of your closest family and friends can be a lot for some to handle, and some even swear it off for good — or so they think. But then suddenly, like a bolt of lightning, something changes. Here, we share five stories of marriage-resistant women — and what changed their minds.
"When I was growing up, getting married and having a beautiful wedding were definitely not part of my fantasies. Later, even in serious relationships, the thought of marriage would seriously freak me out. Even up until a year ago, when my boyfriend (who I'd been with for three years at the time) suggested we consider marriage, I begged him sincerely to never propose because I was positively against wedding and marriage. My biggest qualm was spending so much money and experiencing so much stress for essentially one big party and some pieces of paper. Then, all of a sudden I felt desperate to have a baby, and the urge for the gown, bridesmaids, videographers experience kicked in!" —Pamela
"Love was always a goal, but not marriage. After a few years with my soul mate, we moved in together and I would have been content to leave it that way for ever and ever. But getting married meant the world to him. I suggested eloping but he wanted the world to witness our love so that's what we did. And I wound up absolutely loving the party. So never say never!" —Cindy
"For years, I had absolutely no interest in finding love, and thought I would never get married. I wasn't interested in 'wasting my time' with dating, when developing my professional life seemed so much more fulfilling. Then I attended a friend's birthday party in New York City, and was casually introduced to a man. As soon as this man delivered his first few sentences, I felt like someone had slapped me in the face. He fully embodied my idea of a 'perfect catch.' I thought: 'Wow! This guy's girlfriend must be AMAZING.' He didn't have a girlfriend, and a few days later I received an online message from him (he had found me on the Internet through our mutual friends), asking if I'd like to meet again for a date. We met on a gorgeous afternoon and spent the next ten hours together wandering around. It felt as if we'd known each other forever. A year and a half later, we became engaged. The entire process made me rethink a previous belief that I thought was set in stone, that 'there's no such thing as love at first sight!'" —Ashley
"I didn't have the greatest view of marriage. My mom was married and divorced twice, my grandpap has been married three times (widowed once, divorced once), my other grandparents had a terrible marriage due to my grandpa being an alcoholic... My favorite marriage-related phrase was, 'Marriage is just a relationship you have to pay to get out of.' And then of course he came along. We'd been together less than a year when I realized I wanted to marry the hell out of this man. My mom even mentioned the other day that she couldn't believe there was a man out there who managed to change my mind!" —Sara
"I never wanted to get married because my independence was so important to me. Then I met Bill and fell in love, and we just had so much fun together — and I cared as much about his success and welfare as I did my own. Getting married seemed the best way to make sure we keep company for the rest of our lives." —Ruth
Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.