Should I Get Married? What to Consider before You Tie the Knot
Marriage is right if you have...
- Love, trust and intimacy
- Great communication between you and your fiance
- Relative financial stability
- Similar goals
- Blessing from family and friends
- You just know
If you are planning to get married, there are several factors you need to consider first. Marriage might seem like the ultimate dream or a romantic gesture, but it isn't always right. Before you get married, you should think about security, trust, finances and, of course love. Here are the things you need to have down in order for marriage to be a good decision.
Can You See Yourself Here?
All You Need is Love!
That's not necessarily true, but it's a very strong first step. Loving your partner with all your heart is a solid foundation for marriage - but love can fade, and marriage lasts forever (or ends in divorce).
A loving relationship is essentially based on the following components:
- Trust - the most important factor in a relationship. You should be able to trust your partner 100% and feel able to tell them anything, knowing that they can and do tell you everything too.
- Romance - that spark is important. Without it, one or both of you might want to stray. You should have eyes for each other only.
- Friendship - a solid foundation for romance. Your spouse should also be your best friend, and you should have plenty in common.
- Respect - don't underestimate it. You should be able to respect and support each other's choices and opinions and never undermine each other.
- Time to grow - forever is a long time. You should know all of your partner's flaws and virtues before taking them on for life. Make sure you know the real person, not just their good side.
There are plenty of other things a good relationship should have, but these are the basics. If one or more component is missing, there are likely to be some troubled times ahead.
You need to KNOW that you are marrying the person because you want to spend the rest of your life with them, not because you want to get married or you don't want to be alone.
I'm certainly not saying everyone has a soulmate - every single couple has bad months, bad years or even bad decades - but they should be able to love and support each other even through tough times. The more compatible you are, the easier it will be.
Don't Do It If You're Having Doubts
You Both Know It's Right
If you had to browbeat and bully your man into popping the question, it's probably a mistake. Both parties should want the same thing. It's a big decision to make just because you feel obliged to do it.
If marriage came about as an ultimatum, chances are that one or both parties aren't really ready. That means they aren't really committed - which is a bad foundation for marriage. You need to both want this and not have any doubts.
The way my marriage came about was hugely unromantic - the question came up and we discussed the pros and cons in intimate detail. In the end, though, we both knew that it was the route which would bring us the most happiness, and since that point, our relationship has grown a lot.
Don't get married if you have a lot of doubts - about what you want in the future, about whether he'll want kids, about if he's the right person - you should just know! If you don't, it's time for a long, honest talk with your honey to smooth out your worries and make a strong decision - whichever way you choose.
Which is the most important factor in a successful marriage?
You Have Similar Goals
I can't stress how important this is! You might think that loving each other is enough, but if one of you wants to travel and the other wants to have kids right away, or if one of you is very ambitious and the other doesn't care about career or money, this can eventually cause a big rift.
One of the reasons I chose to marry my husband when I did despite still wanting to travel more is because he wants to travel too. We take every chance we can get to explore a new place, and it makes us both happy.
Another reason I chose to marry my husband is because he supports my writing career even though I'd make more money doing, well, pretty much anything else. He wants me to pursue my dreams - and I want him to pursue his too. If he'd been intent on money-making I'd have thought twice - would he really respect my choices?
You don't have to be identical in every respect, but your goals should complement each other rather than causing problems. If you think marriage will hold you back - it's probably not right for you.
Approval from Family and Friends
Now this has two sides to it, and different people might have very different opinions. I don't want to be incendiary - this is merely my opinion.
When it comes to marriage, it is your choice and your choice alone. You can go against your family, the rules of society, and anyone else who dares to disapprove of you. All you need to know is that you are making the right choice for you. This goes particularly for gay or inter-racial marriages. Anyone who disapproves has no right to judge!
However, the other side of the coin is that by not getting approval from family and friends, you may be making the decision to alienate people who are important to you. As anyone who reads my hubs often may know, I moved to America from the UK to marry my husband - effectively choosing not to live near my family or friends. Since I am very close to my family, this was a decision many of my and my husband's relatives questioned - but ultimately accepted.
I think that it is important to register other people's opinions - sometimes friends and onlookers can see more clearly if you are with a person who is not right for you - but in the end it is your decision. Approval is always a bonus, but you should base your choice on whether to get married or not on your own instincts.
I never would have forgiven myself if I'd let someone else choose my life for me.
Financial Security Means...
- Enough money to support yourselves
- No unmanageable debt
- Both parties content with who is the breadwinner (one or both of you, either works)
- Not marrying just for money reasons
Have (Relative) Financial Security
This is another one where it is open to interpretation. What I mean by financial security is that any couple considering marriage should be able to support themselves financially. There is no need to be rich or buy a house right away - only be able to afford a place to live, essentials like bills, food and probably a car, and the occasional treat.
A sound marriage is based on security and comfort. Problems can often arise if one person isn't pulling their weight or if there are severe financial issues such as debts hanging over your heads. If the person you're thinking of marrying is heavily in debt or in unreliable employment, it might be worth waiting for a while. Bear in mind that in marrying someone, you are taking joint financial responsibility.
However, marrying in order to secure financial security is not, in my opinion, a good reason to get married. It is certainly a beneficial factor - everyone likes security - but it should not be the sole or chief reason. In ten or twenty years, if not sooner, this might seem like a very hollow reason.
Try This Method of Improving Communication
It might not seem that important, but marriage is a big step up from being in a relationship or even living together. For a marriage to have the best chance of success, you should be able to communicate effectively. That means:
- If something is worrying you, express the concern - leaving him guessing will put up a barrier. Discussing the issue is the first step to solving it.
- Don't pretend everything is perfect. Let him know if you need him to do more around the house or make more time for you. In return, be accommodating if/when he does the same.
- Don't nag - nagging is not communicating. Neither is arguing. Discuss things maturely and constructively - don't end up resenting each other.
- Learn to be sensitive and compromise. You should be able to strike a balance and to do that, you need to communicate with each other.
The longer I am with my husband, the more I learn that expressing myself will lead to the best results. He is more social than me, so I have to make my boundaries clear - I need a few quiet nights, but he gets to entertain or we go out with friends at least a few times a week. While we were dating, I frequently suffered miserably through an evening while wishing I was at home
Through improving our communication, he now knows without being told when I am ready to leave, and I know automatically if he secretly wants to stay longer. It might seem small, but knowing how to communicate is essential in a marriage. If you feel you can't talk to your fiance, marriage should wait until any issues are resolved.
Communication is something you should have down before you think about marriage - although you can continue to improve it all the time.
Make the Right Choice
In the end, it often comes down to just knowing that marriage is right for you. You are emotionally prepared, mature enough to accept the compromises of sharing your life with another person, and sure that the person you are marrying is the right person for you.
The most important thing to do is think about your motives for marriage and make sure you are marrying for the right reasons. It's not a race and it is a choice, not an imperative. Only get married if and when you are ready and know what it means.
I hope this hub has helped!