Most of us can’t wait to get married, but marriage isn’t something to jump into without any thought.
Most women, single or not, will tell you they’ve been dreaming of their wedding day since they were little girls — they know what kind of dress they’d get, what song they’d walk down the aisle to, where they’d honeymoon, and what their ideal husband would be like.
Getting married, finding that person with whom you’ve agreed to spend the rest of your life, can feel like the ultimate goal for women who’ve waited long enough for it. They become so captivated with the idea of being a wife, wearing a ring that tells the world you’re loved, and having someone to come home to that they heavily idealize marriage, and even forget to consider whether or not they’re ready for it.
Because as wonderful, fulfilling, and rewarding as marriage can be, it’s also humbling, challenging, and life-changing. Marriage is worth all of its challenges, but it’s such a significant promise we’re making to someone — to choose and love them for years to come — that we should honestly look at ourselves before taking the leap, asking ourselves if we’re even ready for the commitment and maturity that marriage requires.
So, how can you know if you’re ready for marriage?
First, Ask Yourself Why You Want To Get Married
Haven’t we all known a girl who rushed down the aisle in the biggest hurry to get married, only to be unhappy in her marriage? While getting married and taking your relationship (and life) to the next level is an exciting thought, it’s important to do some soul-searching and ask yourself exactly why you want to get married.
Is it because you genuinely feel ready to commit yourself to a lifelong bond with your boyfriend, or because you think being a wife will solve all your problems? Do you want to build a life with someone, or do you want to be a bride? Are you in love with your boyfriend, or the idea of being married? Do you want to be married, or do you just not want to be single/unmarried anymore? Is there any chance you’ve idealized married life, or are you going into it eyes open?
Now is the time to be really honest with yourself — marriage isn’t going to answer your every wish, be endlessly fulfilling, always feel natural, or make you happy every day of your life. There will be rough patches to weather and challenges to grow past and compromises to be made. It’s important that you want to get married for the right reasons and with a full understanding of the weight of marriage rather than a desire to not be single anymore.
You Care More about the Marriage Than the Wedding
The moment we get engaged (and even before, if we’re honest), we can’t stop imagining our wedding coming together — the dress, the flowers, the food, the music, the photographer, the venue, the memories, the honeymoon we’ll leave for directly after the reception… it’s all so intoxicating to think about. After all, we’ve all heard that our wedding day is supposed to be the most important day of our life.
Make sure your desire to get married is tied to the lifelong part of it, not the single wedding day.
That being said, the wedding day is just that — a single day of your marriage. After the party, you’ll have decades of actual marriage left. When you imagine getting married, it’s important that you ultimately care more about having a stable, rewarding, affectionate marriage than throwing a fancy wedding. Make sure that your desire to get married is tied to the lifelong part of it, not the single wedding day, as exciting as being a bride will be.
Getting married means melding our life with another person’s — bringing two whole, mature, different people, who each bring something unique and significant, into a union. And as attractive as the idea of being someone’s wife is, it’s crucial that we’ve given ourselves enough time to self-actualize before we can take on that role.
It’s not about how old you are, but instead about how much time you’ve allowed yourself to grow up, be on your own, like yourself, and cultivate a life you’re already happy in, with or without a guy in the picture. Solidify your purpose and identity before getting married rather than seeking them by getting married.
You Can Trust Him
Trust is one of the most important ingredients in any lasting relationship. Without it, we run the risk of letting insecurities grow and becoming controlling, or being unable to take him at his word after a betrayal, or feeling unstable and anxious in our relationship — all things that will only serve to create a marriage that’s weighed down with pain and hardship.
It’s essential, as you wonder if you’re ready for marriage, to ask yourself whether you can fully, comfortably, positively trust your boyfriend. Has he shown himself to be honest with you and considerate of your feelings? Has he ever or does he continually make you question his motives? Is there any part of you that believes he’d ever be unfaithful?
The trust issues the relationship has now won’t go away just because you’re married — they’ll actually become all the more substantial because now we’re all the more invested in the relationship.
You Share Ideals and Vision
Our concept of our ideal life is unique to us. Some of us crave a home in the country to lead a quiet life in, and others would rather live life in the big city. Some might feel drawn to a structured lifestyle with a 9-5, and others will thrive with the unpredictability of chasing creative passions.
It’s crucial you have a similar understanding of what a life well-lived looks like.
It’s crucial that you not only have a clear understanding of what a life well-lived looks like to you, but that your and your boyfriend’s ideals and visions match up. While compromise will always be a part of marriage, it’s necessary that you’ll both be satisfied with the rhythms and direction of your lives together.
You Can Talk about Finances Honestly
It’s no secret that most of us are hurting for money right now. With prices rising everywhere, we’re all getting a taste of what it’s like to worry about money. And the second most common reason couples get divorced, right behind infidelity, is because of arguments surrounding finances.
So it’s safe to say that when it comes to money, it’s best to be prudent. Be sure, before you walk down the aisle, that you feel comfortable talking openly about money with your boyfriend and trust him with having access to your finances.
You Know How To Fight Well
One of the most common misconceptions about marriage, besides that it’s “just a piece of paper,” is that if we’re meant to be, we’ll never fight, never get on each other’s nerves, and find our spouse to be an endless source of bliss.
The reality is that married couples should fight — they just know how to fight well. Their arguments and disagreements aren’t focused on one person winning, but coming to understand the other better, as a means to reach common ground, and to reestablish connection.
But this type of “fighting” isn’t something that comes naturally to us — we have to learn it. So as you consider whether or not you’re ready for marriage, ask yourself whether you’d be willing to learn how to disagree well, seeking to restore your relationship rather than win the argument.
Marriage is a big leap that’s important to take seriously. It’s much better to take your time, ask yourself the tough questions beforehand, and go into it eyes open, prepared, and able to take on both the highs and lows of marriage.
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