Marriage is the adventure of a lifetime, but it could be a dreadful adventure or a glorious one. Doing some premarital soul searching is one of the best ways to make sure you are making a good decision.
So you think you might be ready to take the marriage plunge? Before you jump into the biggest decision of your life, consider this ‘Are your ready?’ checklist.
1. Is your relationship past the “I need to spend every second naked with you” stage? As great as that stage is, it isn’t how life goes. You need to love your partner out of bed as much as you love them in bed. Both are important for a happy marriage so you want to make sure that they are both in good working order.
2. Are you over 25? Brain studies suggest that our brains aren’t fully developed until we are 25 and thus our decision-making may be a bit sluggish.
3. Have you really addressed the red flags in your relationship or the ones that you’ve noticed in your partner? If not, it’s time to do that right this minute. Get your head out of the sand and address the issues that may become bigger later. You’re never going to find a partner that doesn’t have a few red flags, so you have to decide if you can live with the flags they have or not.
4. If you’ve addressed the red flags, are you willing to accept them or are you thinking you can change your partner after you get married? Take it from a marriage veteran: Getting married with the hopes of changing your partner is doomed to fail! Either accept them as is or end the relationship.
5. Have you talked about having children and religion? Will you have children? If so, how many? How much time will you spend with extended family? What role will they play in your lives? Religion? These are the issues that often lead to arguments between couples.
6. Who will manage the bank accounts and other household requirements? Will you share in both parenting duties as well as working outside of the home duties? What if one of your careers requires a move? Talking openly and honestly about them and not assuming you know the answer will be crucial to future marital harmony.
7. Ask yourself this question that a wise divorce attorney I know asks all of her potential clients: “Can you envision yourself walking hand in hand with this person when you are over 60?” Marriage, when done right, is a marathon and you need to pace yourself. To stay together for the long haul you really need to enjoy each other’s company.
8. Have you had a brutally honest conversation about sex and fidelity? Can you see being happy for the rest of your life having sex with just this one person? If not, can you have a conversation about what needs to happen—either in the relationship or within yourself—for that to be true?
9. Finally ask yourself what you value most in life and how you love to spend your time. Will your potential partner support (or even be part of) your dreams and goals? Giving up any major aspect of yourself in order to make someone happy is a really awful idea and will ultimately sever your relationship.