How to Deal With Questions About When You're Getting Married

It’s really no one’s business if or when you plan to marry; however, this query is commonly hurled at couples who have been together for a certain number of months or years. Many young people have chosen to delay getting married or don't even want to consider marriage after witnessing the high divorce rate spurred on by their parents' generation. Regardless of the reason for your unmarried but dating or live-together status, being armed with good, but classy comebacks when assaulted with the question is vital to retaining your sense of humor and perspective.


  1. Image titled Deal With Questions About When You're Getting Married Step 1
    Return the question with a question. Avoid trying to come off as being too obnoxious but one way of dealing with this intrusive question is to return their question with your own inquiry.
    • Ask the inquiring person when he or she is getting married (if the question comes from another single person). This may shed some light on how inappropriate the question may be, especially if the other person is in a similar situation. For example, say "Aw, I don't know. How about you? Do you know when you are?"
    • Ask them forthrightly: When do you think we should get married? Put the questioner in the hot seat and ask when he or she thinks your marriage plans should be enacted. If they come back with the answer, “next year”, tell him or her you’ll take it under advisement, chuckle, and move on with the conversation.
    • Ask them when they got married, and make it all about them. For example: "I don't know yet. But when did you get married? What sorts of things made you feel that the time was right? Did you have any regrets?" And so forth. Thank them for their story afterward and tell them that you found it interesting. You might even mention that it has given you ideas, but only if you don't mind them coming back to you at a later date to ask how it's all going.
    • Answer with challenging questions so that they wished they never asked you. For example, say something like: "Oh, we'd love to get married but we have such specific ideas for the perfect marriage, yet neither of us has anywhere near enough money saved. Did you know the average wedding costs at least twenty five thousand dollars and we're far from average and we need to at least double that to accommodate all the guests who'd like to celebrate the event and to make sure it's a day to remember? Mom and Dad have got to keep their retirement savings intact; we can't (or don't want to) eat into that. It's so hard just thinking about it but maybe you can help us work out how to save the fifty thousand dollars needed to have even a halfway decent wedding; I don't know, maybe you even have fifty thousand dollars to spare?" After a spiel like that, they'll be itching to change the subject.
    • "Why should we?" Bring that question up. Most people don't even think about why people get married. There are points for and against, many people prefer to keep renewing their commitment rather than deal with tax and legal entanglements.
    • "Why do you ask?" This one can stop the entire topic, most people who ask are giving a scripted response and you'll get some amusing replies as they try to figure out why the pace of your personal life matters to them. It's especially good with people other than parents, who do have some vested interest in grandchildren.
  2. Image titled Deal With Questions About When You're Getting Married Step 2
    Divert the conversation. There's nothing as evasively polite as somehow managing to miss the question and to return the conversation to something on more neutral ground. To do this, simply quickly turn the conversation to another topic. Be brief and friendly with your delivery, but then quickly ask the other person a question about him or herself, such as how his or her child is doing in school or if they finally finished the big home remodeling project.
    • One way to approach this is to extremely briefly acknowledge their question but then to quickly launch into the alternative topic. For example: "Oh, no answer on that yet! But do tell me about how your sweet little children are. I heard they won prizes for their egg and spoon race last week!" By dismissing the question briefly at the beginning and replacing it with an immediate question of interest to the questioner, then the conversation starts to naturally weave right away from your not-so-impending nuptials.
    • Try the someone's getting married approach. This is a neat distraction if you know of someone who is getting married known mutually to you and the questioner. For example, you could answer: "Not yet, but did you hear? George and Simpson are getting married next August. Isn't that amazing?! I was so stoked to learn of their engagement!" And then take the conversation somewhere else.
    • Ask about sports or something else that's completely off topic. Asking them something completely at odds with the question, such as "Well now, how about that win of the Tigers (or any other sports team)?" Doing this should send the message that you don’t want to talk about it. Diving immediately into a discussion about sports can quickly defuse talk of marriage, letting the other person know you aren’t in the mood.
  3. Image titled Deal With Questions About When You're Getting Married Step 3
    Turn the matter into a joke. If you really want to dodge the question and have some fun with your question-asking victims, try a few quips or funny comebacks that will let them know you aren’t thinking marriage or anything in the neighborhood. Here are some possible answers:
    • "When it's legal for everyone to marry." That turns the conversation political and makes both of you look moral for putting human rights ahead of your personal lives.
    • "When my divorce is final." Whether this is true or not, bringing divorce into the situation may not be an appropriate response. However, depending on who is asking (such as your old college buddy or an annoying coworker), consider using this comeback to shut them down.
    • "Following the apocalypse." Generally this will mean that you probably don't plan on getting married, but will be a humorous way to let people know.
    • "Hopefully before I start to show." Not the ideal comeback for mom or grandma but could be funny if it’s a close friend or even an acquaintance asking the question.
    • "No comment." Delivered right, this can be amusing.
    • "We'll get married when people stop asking us about it." It makes the point.
  4. Image titled Deal With Questions About When You're Getting Married Step 4
    Be dismissive in a polite enough way. When you really want to ask someone to just stop prying so much into your personal life, simply say something like: "Not yet, but be assured that when there's news, you'll be one of the first to know." Use a tone of voice that is polite but says also "End of story, no more conversation on this topic to be entered into." Should the person comment further, trying to elicit something more from you, simply repeat the phrase: "As I've already said, you'll be the first to know of any news."
  5. Image titled Deal With Questions About When You're Getting Married Step 5
    Be honest. If both of you have decided that you won't be getting married and that you're perfectly happy living together, living apart but dating, or whatever, then your best option may be to just say so. Answers suggested to the question include:
    • "We're not." No more said.
    • "We're happy with things as they stand now. Neither of us feels the need to proceed down any other path at this point in time."
    • "Oh, but we are in the eyes of the common law. That's sufficient for us!"
    • "We're trialing a long engagement. We hate surprises."
    • "We handfasted. Renewing it annually is a truer commitment."
  6. Image titled Deal With Questions About When You're Getting Married Step 6
    Discuss the topic with your partner ahead of being asked so that you can provide a united front. The easiest way to be caught off guard is to not have a plan. Even if you are simply not ready or don’t know, act as though you are the press secretary at the White House and prepare a canned statement that will politely stop the questions.
    • Be honest about how you feel. If you want to get married, let your sweetheart know. However, be open to how he or she is feeling, too. Perhaps your partner wants to finish school or save more money before taking this step; regardless of the reason, take his or her stand on the topic into consideration when formulating your response.
    • Be sure to cover the topic before attending a family function such as a wedding. The “go to” question at a wedding will inevitably be about your own impending nuptials! Accept that there will be questions so you will both need to deliver a united response.
    • Talk out how you plan to respond together and arrive at a mutually agreed-upon rebuttal. Whether you plan to be direct or coy, make sure you both are on board with the response and feel comfortable delivering the comments to nearly anyone.
  7. Image titled Deal With Questions About When You're Getting Married Step 7
    Keep your delivery light. Don’t get offended or act defensive, even if it’s the fourth person that evening asking. Be friendly but make sure the questioner understands that you don’t plan on going into the matter beyond your (prepared) statement.


  • Try to avoid getting frustrated with people when they ask; most likely they want to see you happy and married more than anything.
  • A cheeky response is to ask the questioner to ask your partner!
  • Avoid going into detail about your plans unless you want to have an in-depth conversation. The exception to this is the "bore-the-questioner-to-death" approach where you have "all these plans"...
  • Be aware that your getting or not getting married is your choice, not someone else's problem. People can choose to be upset that you've chosen not to marry now, or ever, but that doesn't mean that you have to give in to their preferences. Don't marry just to please someone else or to "make things right"; you will regret a choice based on other people's sense of social shame/worries for your future/unhappiness or whatever else compels them to insist you get married. If you do decide to marry, make sure it's solely based on your reasons. The questioners won't be living with you for the rest of your lives.


  • If you have a grand theory on the evils of the institution of marriage, spare the listener. Most people won't understand it (or want to understand it) and since most people who ask this question tend to be married themselves, they will probably feel insulted if you're standing there telling them that marriage is a bad choice. On the other hand, that rant may be just the thing to deal with persistent, annoying acquaintances.
  • If you and your mate aren’t on the same page and you're not communicating about the prospect of marriage, it’s best to shake your head and not respond to the question. Making a statement without first consulting with your partner can possibly lead to trouble in your relationship. Alternatively, you could sound really surprised and say with a slight air of shock: "Whoa now! It's a bit early on to be considering that!" It's nobody's business how long you consider to be the right time before discussing marriage as a couple, if ever.

Article Info

Featured Article

Categories: Featured Articles | Weddings