Marriage is one of the biggest steps you’ll take in life. It’s important that you do it when you’re ready and aware of what lies ahead. There are several factors that require important consideration before walking down the aisle.
You’ve been dating for a while and have talked about marriage a number of times. You have already pictured yourself settling down, building a wonderful married life together and also starting a family. You and your partner both feel ready to take the next step. Maybe you’re getting ready to propose or looking forward to being proposed to. How do you know if you are ready? Will you ever feel ready? Here are a few questions to ponder on.
WHY ARE YOU GETTING MARRIED?
What are your real reasons for getting married? If you can, write a list. If you find yourself in a position where you’re talking yourself or your fiancé into getting married, you’re not ready. It’s also not at all advisable to get married to escape or avoid something, for example, time is running out or pressure from others. Getting married because you’ve always wanted to is also not a good enough reason. Evaluate yourself and see how you really feel about it before buying that engagement ring, or accepting it.
WHAT MAKES YOUR PARTNER ‘THE ONE’?
What makes you want to spend the rest of your life with this particular person out of all other relationships you may have been involved in? Consider writing a pros and cons list of your partner and the relationship. Can you live with their weaknesses? Are you fully aware of, and do you trust your partner’s personal history? How has your partner behaved in past relationships and in your relationship? Past behaviour is in some cases an accurate predictor of future behaviour.
WHAT ARE YOUR NEEDS AND EXPECTATIONS?
It is important that you identify your needs and expectations so you know if your partner is a good marriage partner for you. Can your partner meet most of these needs and can you meet theirs? What are your utter deal breakers and what are your partner’s? Talk about these with your partner.
ARE YOU PREPARED TO PLAY WIFE OR HUSBAND ROLE?
Being a wife or husband is very different from being a boyfriend or girlfriend. Being a spouse comes with new responsibilities, challenges and a shared life. Are you ready to make adjustments to your lifestyle to accommodate your partner? Are you willing to make the necessary compromises to be a ‘we’ instead of a ‘me’? You need to be prepared to embrace this change of status. Also discuss with your partner how you will deal with children, discipline, sex, money, division of labour, religion, careers, retirement, and in laws, among other important issues in marriage.
ARE YOU READY FOR THE FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY BROUGHT ON BY MARRIAGE?
Unlike dating, there are more financial demands in marriage. It’s no longer just covering the dinner bill or paying for your movie ticket and transport home. You also need to think further than the wedding, which is only for a day. Marriage is for a lifetime. Your spending habits and your partner’s will have to change to accommodate your life as a couple, children and other expenses that may arise along the way.
WHAT WILL MARRIAGE COST YOU?
Will you be investing more than you can afford to lose by getting married?
Will you have to give up your friends, career, or even family? If this is the case, the cost of your marriage is too high. If by any chance the marriage falls apart, you may be left both socially and emotionally bankrupt. Your emotional health and wellbeing is of great significance.
CAN YOU STAY COMMITTED AND FAITHFUL?
Do you often think about what it would be like to be with someone different? If you still get the feeling that you can do better and that there is someone out there who is better suited for you than your partner, then you are not ready for marriage. By the time you make the decision to get married to your partner, you need to ensure that you have all these curiosities about other people out of your system. You need to be confident that your partner is indeed the best for you and that you can commit and stay faithful to him or her.
There are many other questions that you may need to ask yourself before getting married in addition to these basic ones. It’s also necessary that you do a lot of talking with your partner and discuss all your hopes, dreams and expectations for marriage in addition to situations that could arise in marriage and how you would handle them. You can find various helpful resources from books or online that can guide these discussions and help you ask each other relevant questions on the topic. It is of utmost importance that you’re both well prepared and informed before deciding to tie the knot.