You’re in love, but are you ready for marriage?
And yeah, I know. You think I want you to answer yes because I have a vested interest in a positive answer. After all, you're reading an article by a guy who performs wedding ceremonies for a living. All I can say is well well, aren't you just a Cynical Cyndi? (or Cynical Cynd...rick?)
Yes, of course, I want you to say "yes, I AM READY!" but, I want you to say it because you know in your heart and mind it is true. I love you and I want to see you again, but I do NOT want your repeat business (unless it's for a baby blessing or vow renewal).
It’s not possible to be 100% sure of anything, but you can improve your predictive accuracy greatly with a few questions and a little introspection.
Consider these ideas: 1. Your partner is supportive and encouraging. Life can be a cold and lonely place if you try to tackle it alone. Not all spouses turn out to be supportive and encouraging, but these are important qualities. If your partner provides these two things, you might have a keeper on your hands. ◦ If you’re having a tough day, whom do you call? ◦ Who is your biggest fan? ◦ Do you support and encourage your partner? 2. Your partner doesn’t need to be saved. Good people have the urge to help others but be careful. You’re asking for trouble if you marry someone who needs to be saved by you. Whether they have emotional, substance abuse, or financial issues, it’s best to be cautious. 3. You understand that a long-term relationship isn’t always fun and requires work. You’re not ready for marriage if you believe it’s going to be easy. Sharing your life with someone day in and day out has its ups and downs. It isn't always going to be roses, love notes and rainbow-colored wood-nymphs flittering through your living room sprinkling stardust every time they speak your name. Expect to face some challenges along the way.
4. Your primary motivation is love. Are you marrying because you’re in love? Not everyone marries primarily for love. Some people marry to have children, for financial security, or because all their friends are married. Why do you want to marry your partner? 5. Your needs for sex and affection are met. How much affection and physical intimacy do you require to be happy? Is your partner happy with that, too? 6. You’re able to solve disagreements effectively. There will be disagreements. Having some certainty that you can resolve any arguments peacefully and effectively is a very positive sign! ◦ Think back to your biggest fight with your partner. How did you both handle it? Were you both satisfied with the eventual outcome?
7. You trust your partner. You can’t have emotional comfort without trust. This doesn’t only mean that you believe your partner won’t cheat on you. It also means that you can take your partner at their word. You can trust that they’ll handle their responsibilities. Do they do what they say they’re going to do? 8. You’re comfortable being alone. Do you want to be married or do you just have a need to not be alone? Being alone might not be your preference, but it should be manageable. Can you be comfortable when you’re alone? 9. You’re compatible. This means you have the same long-term goals. It also means that you can live together. There are three types of couples that commonly struggle: ◦ One partner is introverted and the other extroverted. One person is bored, or the other is stressed and miserable. It’s hard for both to be happy at the same time. ◦ One person likes to spend money and the other likes to save. ◦ One is a slob and the other is extremely neat. A little caution can save you a lot of grief. The decision to marry should be one of deliberation as well as emotion. I know that your partner is better than cheese, chocolate, puppy snuggles and that feeling you get when you finally get to a rest stop on the Interstate after missing the last one two-hours prior. I'm sure they feel that way about you, too. You're in love, after all. But are you ready for life-long love?
Take a deep, hard look at the things that really matter before making this important decision.
Want help making this decision? Ask Mark about his Enlightened Relationship Workshops!
Want to see where your relationship stands? Ask Mark about the SYMBIS Assessment for individual couples!