Is he the one? Should you marry him? Here are five factors to take into consideration before you get married...
With divorce rates so high these days, it seems more likely to successfully navigate Navy Seal training than to make it all the way through marriage without getting divorced.
Unless there are sinister motives involved, no one marries expecting to get divorced. Yet so many couples who lovingly recited their wedding vows at the altar are sneering at one another in divorce courts only a few years later.
Consider how many months, even years, many take planning their wedding day, which only lasts a few hours. A marriage is meant to last a lifetime, why not prepare well for it too?
Here are five things to contemplate before you get married:
Reasons for marriage
Great pains must be taken when examining one’s reasons for making such a commitment. Marrying because of an unplanned pregnancy, for financial gain, a ticking biological clock or as an escape, is not marrying for the right reasons.
Marriage is not a remedy for the problems in your relationship, nor will it bring you happiness. You are and will always be responsible for your own happiness.
In marriage, you are accountable to your spouse for the decisions you take. Are you emotionally prepared for this? Have you experienced everything you wanted to in life while you were single?
Marrying for the wrong reasons will only result in resentment, disappointment and divorce.
Compatibility and communication
It takes time to know someone, to trust them, and to feel comfortable with them.
You should feel easy enough around the person you are marrying to be able to speak to them about anything. You and your partner should love each other as you are with all your shortcomings and quirks - a marriage vow will not magically fix your flaws.
Regardless of how well you two get along, conflict is inevitable in marriage. What really matters though is how you resolve your differences. Ideally, you should have a space where each of you is able to communicate your concerns with mutual respect, rather than with loud rows with name-calling and cursing.
There will be things you don’t know about your partner and will only discover later after you are married, but it is important to know as much as possible before. The courtship period should be long enough to give you an indication of how compatible the two of you are.
Expectations of one another
Much of the stress of living together as a married couple can be resolved if expectations are clearly stated before you get married.
What is expected with regards to chores at home? Many today still believe in the traditional roles of a wife doing the cooking and housework, while the husband is responsible for the gardening and taking out the garbage. How will you divide up the chores?
What will you and won’t you tolerate in the marriage i.e. extra-marital affairs, cheating, dishonesty, any kind of abuse, disrespect?
If you are explicit regarding your expectations of one another, there will be less room for friction once you are married.
You both need to be on the same page with regards to whether or not you want children, how many you would like to have, and how soon you want to start your family. You also need to consider the possibility of one of you being infertile, and what options you would be open to if you still wanted to be parents, such as adoption or surrogacy.
Issues such as how the children will be cared for must be addressed. You have to decide together who will take care of them, whether one partner will stay home to look after them, and how they will be disciplined.
Having children will impact on your relationship. You will need to preserve your bond by making time for each other, such as having weekly date nights, cuddling whenever possible, or taking baths together. It will require both of you to work harder at keeping the spark alive in your relationship.
Finances and marriage
Talking about money is never easy, but it is best that of you openly communicate your financial situations with one another. Honesty is vital, as you will be in partnership with your spouse and whatever decisions you take will affect both of you. Any secrets you hold from one another here will only build suspicion and mistrust.
If either of you has significant debt, such as car payments, will you enter the marriage with this debt, or pay it off before? How will you divide the bills? Will you have separate or joint banking accounts? These are a few important questions that need to be answered.
Marriage requires more than just passionate love
It is not difficult to fall in love, but to maintain a committed relationship for years and live with someone requires much tolerance, understanding, trust and mutual respect.
It’s a lifelong project which demands overcoming obstacles and changes in your relationship together over the years, and persevering despite.
Good preparation and thought before marriage does not guarantee an unbroken marriage, but makes the ride ahead much less bumpier.