Are you considering settling down with your better half and building a life together? Whether you’re at the age where a lot of your friends seem to be tying the knot, or you’re considering your second (or third or fourth) marriage, how do you know it’s the right decision? Here are five signs that you are truly ready to marry your partner and not just giving in to peer pressure.
1. You’re planning a marriage – not a wedding
Of course you’re excited about the wedding itself. It’s a big fun party that all your friends and family come to. Depending on your preferences, there may be music, flowers, food, gifts, perhaps even a theme. You may be furiously planning your rehearsal dinner, venue, decorations, cake, welcome bags for guests, and all the other fun details of planning a wedding. But is this why you’re excited about getting married? Remember that, while your wedding will last a few hours, your marriage will last for the rest of your life. Plan for that part first, and if you’re still all in, then feel free to start planning the party.
2. You know why you want to get married
People get married for a lot of different reasons. Some people are excited about having a big wedding. Some just feel it’s what they “should” do and want to be able to say they’re married. Some feel lonely or otherwise unhappy and feel that marriage is a solution. Some are pressured by their partners; others find themselves unexpectedly expecting. In and of themselves, these are terrible reasons to get married. Ask yourself what benefits you will get from marrying your partner as opposed to continuing your relationship the way it is now. Make sure that you and your partner trust each other, love spending time together, know each other very well, have similar goals, and know how to fight fair before saying yes.
3. You know and trust your partner deeply
As mentioned, it’s essential that you know and trust the person you’re considering marrying on a deep level. It’s not about how long you’ve been together. Just because you’ve been dating someone for five years doesn’t necessarily mean that you know them through and through. Before you get married, you should know your partner’s past as well as their hopes, dreams, and goals; likewise, they should know yours. Make sure that you know their shortcomings and still love them. (Spoiler alert: if you think your partner is perfect, then you don’t know them well enough to marry them.) You should also trust your partner completely. If you don’t, there’s work to do before you get hitched.
4. You have no interest in changing your partner
No one is perfect, and again, if you think your partner is, then something’s wrong. However, you should not only know them very well but also love them exactly as they are now. Marrying someone hoping that they will change is a huge mistake. Don’t think for a second that marriage will change them – it won’t. If anything, marriage is likely to exacerbate any existing issues in your relationship, not fix them. A wedding will not heal a rift, nor will it magically make your partner want to have kids, exercise more, do more housework, or get a better job – no matter what they say. Can you see yourself spending the rest of your life with the person you’re with just as they are now? If so, you may be ready for wedded bliss.
5. Your friends and family like your partner
When you first fall in love with someone, it’s easy to think that nothing else matters in the world. Once you make a lifelong commitment, though, you’ll quickly find that everything matters. This is a tricky one because, after all, you’re the one dating your partner, so why does it matter who likes or dislikes them besides you? However, a small rift can and will affect your life and relationship over the years. If the people you know and love don’t like your partner, where is your support system? Might you end up alienated or not invited to social events? Sure, you know yourself best – but your family and friends know you pretty well, too, so if they’re saying that you’re making a mistake, at least consider their views.