Are you ready for marriage?
How do I know that I’m ready for a life ahead with someone in a knot of commitment?
Most young men and women will be unlikely to have a confident answer to this vital question. High school may have prepared us for the intricacies of daily life, our parents may have prepared us to be independent adults, but no one can be fully prepared for the issues and complexities that come with marriage.
Although our journey to find ‘The One” may be an emotional rollercoaster, fraught with highs and (sometimes plenty of) downward spirals, miraculous things can happen once a person matures and takes stock of personal goals and needs in a potential marriage.
Before you commit to marriage though, take some time to examine your current status in life. By asking yourself the tough questions now, you’ll discover that the rituals and challenges of engagements, ceremonies and in-laws won’t be nearly as daunting. Marriage is a serious commitment for both parties, so consider the following before making this important leap.
- Am I prepared financially for marriage?
Being financially-prepared for marriage may not relate at all to reaching your own personal financial goals. Practically, what you need to take into account is whether you are earning enough to manage your mortgage, supplement your spouse’s needs, pay your credit card bills etc without racking up huge debts. Other areas for consideration include future plans for children, possible relocation, etc. In truth, raw income is no guarantee of successful financial management in any aspect of life; don’t let money issues dissuade you from a loving marriage. You and your partner can, and should, plan together to establish a financially-stable and healthy marriage.
- Am I ready to give up singlehood?
Most people look back yearningly to their young adulthood and almost invariably consider these years the best time of their lives. They could do anything they wanted, when they wanted, and with whomever they wanted to. The idea of giving up this independence is unsurprisingly intimidating.
Men or women who have lived on their own for many years do develop deeply-ingrained habits which are difficult to change. The day after the wedding probably marks the end of an era of pure independence; for some, you may have to report your plans, be expected to maintain a certain level of cleanliness and responsibility; your money for some reason becomes ‘our money’, and go towards hitherto unthought-of necessities such as groceries, clothes and household supplies. Nevertheless, a healthy level of accountability and stability may not be such a bad thing at all.
- Am I entering into this commitment for the right reasons?
Sometimes, a romantic relationship that does not end well may lead to a rebound relationship. The danger is when such relationships become too serious too fast. Although the new relationship may feel real enough, the ‘wounded partner’ may unknowingly be trying to prove something to his ex-girl/boyfriend by marrying the next person he/she meets, when in fact the subconscious goal was to seek temporary comfort and solace. This is absolutely the worst time to consider marriage.
What a Babe! / He is too hot! – Search for beauty that’s skin deep! Most people today are well-groomed; some simply look good. There is probably nothing wrong in desiring an attractive spouse but bear in mind that these feelings that may not be long-lasting; physical attractiveness should not be the sole reason to base your choice of spouse on.
- Can I truly forsake all others?
One fear many individuals have about marriage is the all-too-real prospect of infidelity. In the casual dating world, one could occasionally check out anyone off the street – the babe with the legs or the hunk with the biceps. We’re surrounded by attractive people every day, but there is a real difference between idle fantasizing and an actual extra-marital encounter. Partners must learn to co-exist with attractive ‘possibilities’ while remaining true to their marriage vows. In today’s society and across cultures, most people place great significance on fidelity and trust. Are you ready for this commitment and remain true to your partner in the face of marital challenges and distractions?
- Have we discussed the important issues of our married life?
There are some elements of marriage that should be settled long before the actual wedding day. Are you comfortable with each other’s views on religion, money, and children, for example? Have you discussed potential conflicts arising from such issues, and how you might manage them as a couple? Can you live happily with someone who has very different opinions or beliefs from you?
Other important issues to consider include plans for moving into a new home together or sharing your present housing? Will you live with your parents, or your in-laws? Will your work schedules need to be adjusted to accommodate this new life together? What if your partner gets a lucrative job offer in another city? Are you flexible enough to quit your own job for the needs of your spouse? It’s important to know how your spouse feels about relocation. Would you need to take care of each other’s elderly parents? Etc.
- What personal goals will I have after marriage?
Although marriage means living a life together with another person, we continue to grow as individuals as well. Are you comfortable with where you are now, or do you anticipate pursuing higher education? Do you have side interests which may involve many hours of your spare time? It’s important that spouses understand certain passions you may have, even if they don’t necessarily share them. Spending time in pursuit of a hobby may seem perfectly fine to you, but it also means time not spent with your spouse. This can lead to frustration and anger if you don’t ration out your spare moments fairly. Pursuing higher education is a worthy goal, but can your spouse accept the loss of your attention or a temporary dip in the household income? The idea is to think for two people whenever possible, and consider how your actions and decisions will affect another person.
Still unsure? Consider talking to your work life coach to see if you are ready for marriage. Gain insights and advice on how to have a healthy relationship within a marriage, and grow together as a couple