The moral questions behind 'settling' in marriage

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Question: How can you tell the difference between settling and making a good, logical decision? I'm thinking of this in terms of a romantic relationship. I'm with a good person whom I love and who loves me, but there's no spark or that feeling of being in love on my end.

I'm feeling pressured because of age to make the logical decision - I want to experience pregnancy before it's too late. But I'm feeling sad that I might never experience the high of being in love again, even if it's short-lived.

If I were 25, I would move on, but in my late 30s, with a shrinking pool of availability, I feel lucky to have met someone I care about, even if it's not butterflies. Which I know go away, but they would be nice to have even for a short time.

I don't want to sacrifice having a family because I'm waiting on a fairy tale. But I don't want to sacrifice being in love out of fear.

Answer: If he knew you'd be marrying him just to have a baby, would he still want to marry you? How would you feel if he were saying this himself right now - that only the possibility of kids is keeping him there, that if he were 25, he'd take a pass on you because you're lovely but meh?

I don't know that we can even get to your question without first answering the moral question presented by your ulterior motive for marrying him. I'm sorry.

That's only the beginning of the questions, too: Once you have this baby, then what?

And when this child learns about committed love from your relationship with Dad, then what?

And when your eventually adult child poses this very same question to you about the "good person" he or she is dating but is not in love with, then what?

Or if you're unable to get pregnant, then what?

Or if your partner becomes ill or disabled and dependent on you, then what?

Or if you marry him and get pregnant and fall butt-over-handlebars in love with the guy who gets transferred into your office, then what?

I don't think it's ever a good idea to marry someone unless you're eager to share the rest of your life with that person. Whatever form that life may take.

Question: For budget purposes, my fiancee and I are having an adult-only wedding. However, because they are close to my fiancee and she can't imagine them not being there, we are inviting two of her nieces, ages 9 and 12, and a 13-year-old cousin. This going to blow up in our faces?

Answer: You have to assume it will, though I hope your guests are mature enough for it not to. Actions have consequences. As long as you're prepared to take responsibility for them, you're free to do as you see fit.

For purposes of appearances, you might want to give the kids ceremonial roles in the wedding. That can "explain" without explaining why exceptions were made for these kids.

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