Are You Ready to Become a Husband or Wife?
A Relationship Therapist’s Best Advice
You’ve been dating for a while. It’s love. It feels like “forever.” Marriage is the next step. Right?
How can you know that you’re ready?
The decision to get married can’t be based only on a feeling. It’s one of the biggest, most permanent decisions you will ever make. It affects every part of your life. It’s even bigger than the decision of choosing a career or buying a house. Those choices can (and often are) easily be changed.
Making a good decision requires wisdom. When it’s about you, it’s hard to see clearly. The best decisions come from also seeking counsel and additional information before making such a monumental decision.
Signs You’re Ready for Marriage
This question actually contains two parts:
- Are you personally ready to get married?
- Is the person you are considering a good match for you?
Are You Ready?
Marriage requires personal maturity to make it work. You need to work as a team in every situation. That includes even—and especially!—when you have different viewpoints and opinions. You could meet the perfect person at the wrong time, which still means that you’re not ready.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Have you done the things you want to do as a single person? Some activities are much harder when you need to consider another person’s needs.
- Are you ready to treat your partner’s needs, concerns, and opinions as equal to your own? Even with a partner who shares most of your opinions and goals, you will work through a lot of problems over a lifetime.
- Are you ready for a lifetime of figuring things out with another person? In a lot of ways, it’s easier to work through problems on your own. You can ask for help if you need it. Or you could solve the problem any way you want. When you are married, you always have to consider someone else’s viewpoint in the equation.
- Are you able to make promises and to keep them? Marriage is built on agreements. You will be able to change them, but you need to renegotiate them rather than breaking them. Otherwise, safety and trust are sacrificed.
If you answered “no” to any of the above, take a good look at where you are. Some personal growth may be wise before saying “I do.”
Is This the Right Person?
If you are personally ready to marry, the next question is about who to marry. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you and your partner bring out the best in one another? It’s important to support one another’s efforts and struggles because you want to help each other grow as people.
- Do you know your partner deeply? Can you predict how they will react in a wide variety of situations? You want to feel confident that you know how they will deal with problems even when they are at their most exhausted, frustrated, and weakest points.
- Do you agree on the most important aspects of life such as goals and values? Are you on the same page about how many kids to have, how to parent, where to live, and how to handle money? Have you worked out how to share the work of managing money, household chores, and child-rearing? How you think might change over the years, but most people don’t make huge changes in these core areas.
- Do you and your partner fight fairly? Conflict is inevitable. There have to be lines that you won’t cross when you disagree. Couples who regularly hurt one another need to work hard in the relationship to make repairs after every argument. It’s easier to avoid hurting one another by having good conflict rules.
- Are you compatible in lifestyle? Are you close enough in cleanliness, noise levels, and sleep patterns? The minutia of everyday living can wear on even those deeply in love if they are very different in the way they live.
- Are you both satisfied with your current level of affection and intimacy? Are you committed to maintaining these? You need to maintain relationship habits that strengthen your relationship over time. It’s tempting to let them slip when you are annoyed with one another or overwhelmed with life.
Couples Counseling Center – CHERI TIMKO
A negative answer on any of these questions doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get married; it may mean that it’s not the right time. If you or your partner will handle things better when you mature, waiting to get married may avoid future problems. Many couples benefit from working on the relationship to improve trouble areas. If you answered “no” to the above questions, you may need to consider the possibility that you are not with the right person.
The decision to get married is highly personal. Marriage requires a lot sacrifices. If you are not wholeheartedly ready, you won’t set aside your own needs for the good of the relationship.
Take the decision of getting married seriously. Choose the right time and the right person. It will save you a lot of heartache in the future. If you are having difficulty making this decision alone, seek the help of a trusted friend, mentor, coach, or therapist. They will offer objective insight that is hard to find alone.
The fact that you are searching for answers means that you will make a more informed decision rather than blindly moving forward. Well done! Good luck, and reach out if I can help.
Issues that couples often work on for through Couples Counseling before getting married are:
- When to get married.
- Communicating better.
- Working through problems as a team.
- Setting boundaries with extended family.
- Negotiating different needs.
In addition to therapy, at the Couples Counseling Center, we also offer a comprehensive pre-marital assessment. A specially trained couples therapist examines your relationship and pinpoints the places that could cause trouble in your relationship in the future. That way, you can improve those areas and avoid future crises.
If you would like to know more about how Couples Counseling can help your relationship, schedule a free phone consultation