- Gender and Relationships
MARRIAGE OR COHABITATION your checklist before committing!
Most people get overtaken by the romantic illusion of marriage that society has projected since the moment we're born. Marriage between two people who have consciously thought about what it means are more likely to have a successful marriage. This obviously also goes for living together too. And living together NEEDS to have more discussion in terms of WHY you both want to live together - whether it's because it's easier, financial reasons, companionship or the stepping stone to that final commitment marriage. Whatever the reason "you BOTH" need to feel the reason is the same, but sadly this does not happen, especially with living together. Firstly marriage, most people become blinded by the the hype of the wedding day, and don't even consider what marriage means long term. Few people can envisage how they will change in five years time let alone ten, twenty, thirty or forty years ahead. Marriage is NOT the romantic journey, the fairy tale where one lives happily ever after without a rainy day. I suspect anyone reading this who's about to walk down the aisle will find it extremely difficult to imagine how differently they will feel about their spouse in twenty or thirty years time, but change is inevitable and healthy.
Marriage is not a fairy tale, it's the beginning of ordinary, everyday life and routine where it will take hard work to keep it growing
Marriage can enrich your life, but IF you marry for the wrong reasons you will soon discover what a lonely place marriage can be
Marriage is about a commitment to one person, regardless of how they alter over the years ( I am not talking about abuse or faithfulness) but just the normal, real life changes that take place, where we are expected to remain constant and committed. Marriage means everyday life will NOT be about romance, or being romantic, although times will come and go where romance hopefully is still experienced.
MArriage and Living together is about ROUTINE, it's exactly the same as being single, but with someone constantly at your side where you will have to cope with their ups and downs, likes and dislikes, what they want to do, when they want to do it, in addition to going to work, paying bills, doing the domestic chores, having differences, not always seeing things from the same perspective. To sharing families, who's family you will visit at Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter when you may not want to. Having to consider and ask if you want to do something that may affect the routine of your domestic arrangements or your spouse. NO career moves without discussion, you will need to discuss new cars, where to eat, what to eat, what should be spent on this or that, what color schemes for the home, where pets will sleep, personal belongings you may have grown to love, but your partner may not and not want them on show. These may seem like trivial things, but they're not once you live together and the differences start to show, and differences will show at some point. Marriage is about putting someone else before your own personal desires ultimately, as whatever you choose to do or explore in life from now on, will definitely affect your partner. Day in day out this can take it's toll on the original vision of what marriage was going to be - as marriage is certainly NOT dating, it's constant hard work to balance your own identity, desires and fulfillment with your spouses. So the following is a guide and check-list of what you need to consider before saying I DO!
Share the same hopes & dreams
Don't ever settle you will regret it later on in life
FIRST: Don't ever settle for someone because you feel you may not get another chance or for any reason that you know inwardly - means you're settling. I have seen this time and time again, people afraid of being single, as though they cannot find life fulfilling without someone else being part of it. Most people that live together drift into it - most people that live together do NOT stay together. Living together you are far more likely to part after 2 years, which s the average time. So NOT settling is key if you really don't want to ride an emotional rollercoaster. When you can honestly say you love your life as it is, and to change that HE or SHE would need to be amazing for you to give that up, is the time you're in the right place to join your life with someone elses.
It's means you are at peace with who YOU are, you've reached the point where you enjoy your own space, you LIKE yourself, you love being alone, you don't fear a weekend where you will spend it alone, you're NOT one of those people who have to fill every void so they don't have to be in their own company. You have friends, close friends, interests that enrich your life, so you're not one of those people who "LOOKS" for companionship in the guise of a relationship just because you don't like doing things on your own from time time. Companionship is fine, provided it's accompanied by attraction, a physical spark and an emotional intimacy that combines everything that a relationship should combine. If it doesn't, and you look upon your partner as company, pleasant to be with, a gentle affection for, but no desire to share physical intimacy, especially in the early months, then you are probably in this relationship not out of falling in love but due to settling to avoid remaining single. This means you're sharing your space because you can't or don't want to live alone. I've seen people settle because they feel less alone, even if it's not in the right way. HABIT is another reason people settle. They've been with the same person for five, ten or twenty years or they're in their 50's or 60's and think they "may as well" stay with that person or marry them as everyone else is married or because it seems like the most logical and practical next step - Next step is NOT a good reason to make major changes to your life or theirs.
You should only ever get married or live with someone because the person with whom you're going to share your life is the person you cannot imagine life without. And certainly not because it's what your they want, or what your family wants, or because you're just too scared to live alone or say no.
Check list - Qualities and Attributes
Consider the qualities you want in a partner, the tangibles and intangibles. Internal and external qualities. All go to make the best fit for you. Although it's not exactly easy even if you do lock eyes with that person across a crowded room and the earth moves. But you can definitely list the qualities you feel would be most appealing in a future husband or wife. Some qualities may be so important that you would have problems considering a person who doesn't demonstrate at least most of them. Here are some KEY things to think about before you consider marrying.
Religion. If you're catholic, muslim or your own particular religion is really important to you and your family, then ensure you marry someone of the same religion, or someone who is willing to convert. If you don't deal with this before marriage you are very likely to travel a very rocky road. This is a major area for some couples so do think about this.
Core values: What are your core values? what is most important to you that IF a partner did not share a similar or the same values would cause serious conflict. Are you very family orientated, where your family will always take a priority in your life, are you really keen to have children, a big family. Do you love animals and need to share your space with a pet(s) where you consider your pet part of the family. OR do you not want any children, don't like pets. Now these are values that are ingrained in people from the way they have been brought up and very unlikely to change. They are part of you. Yes of course you could change your mind on these things, but if you've got to 30 or 40 not wanting children and you end up falling for someone who wants four - already before the routine of marriage sets in and the honeymoon period wears off you are both at the opposite ends of the spectrum.
These areas are NOT to be brushed off and must be considered and discussed fully before you even get engaged. For a marriage to last we need to have the major values in unison as other areas as time goes by will surely test your reserve without major issues causing a divide.
* IF you are currently looking for a serious relationship and passed going from date to date you need to ask these questions as soon as you know you are going to be entering and exclusive relationship.
Ensure you're both on the same path with the same goals
Character, values and attitudes, hobbies are transient!
Character. You can never foresee someone's personality in advance, as we all are on our best behaviour at the start, so not a good time to be judging long term. But some things may be vital for you. Do you have a serious side where you like time alone reflecting, do you have a really witty quick humor and really need someone who doesn't tell football jokes or acts like a stand up comedian. Someone who has similar, NOT a clone, but a fairly similar outlook. Are you naturally shy, nervous, reserved and need someone who is fairly laid-back and knows how to balance with your personality? Keep these things in mind as you look for a future spouse
Relationship values and attitudes: Are you someone who likes to spend every day with a partner, where you do almost everything together someone who likes to have space, time alone, who likes to have weekends away with friends without you - would this appeal or not appeal. You need to look at these opposite attitudes before living together or marrying if not they will cause rifts for sure. This is much more important than you think.
Social attitudes. Do you want someone who is extrovert has loads of friends and likes to be groups, or a person who is more reserved, who likes one to one friendships and has just a handful of close friends? If you're a party person and your partner is more reserved you should consider this - as you may bring out a more extrovert side of their personality but on the other hand you may not, in fact it may force them into a more private place.
Interests and Hobbies. SOME interests are good, but you don't need a clone to be happily married in these areas. Interests are transient and can easily change from decade to decade. Providing you can do one or two things together this is fine. It's also good to introduce new interests to each other as it brings a fresh perspective. The person you love does not need to share all your hobbies, no more than they need to like reading exactly the same magazines, books or like the same toothpaste, these are not major elements. However I would think again if you're a keen fitness healthy lifestyle guru and your potential partner dislikes fitness and has no interest in healthy eating. Such opposites in the initial stages may not cause too much of a problem, but when living with someone 24/7 such issues can build and become a huge hurdle in the quest for a happy marriage.
The more common goals and values you share the better!
Here are a few things to think about
Physical attraction. Physical attraction can grow, but it's usually brought about by liking the personality of someone so even though this can assist in attraction, it's never the same as being completely drawn and attracted to someone almost instantly. This is a common problem with older relationships, men even in their 60's and 70's who may be thinking about a new relationship after being widowed, will 99% of the time want a full and complete relationship with a woman. Very few men, unlike women of this age, seek just companionship where sex is not part of a relationship. Here is a prime example of HUGE differences, and this is where both parties need to have the same idea about a physical relationship, if not, then I'm afraid if you move in hoping she/he will be happy with a non-physical relationship you are seriously fooling yourself. Always ensure you and your partner want or aim for the same type of relationship.
Okay it's a fair assumption that you may not want to rip your partners clothes off some 25 years ahead, but IF you don't have that initial sexual attraction it cannot dip in and out throughout your marriage, and may well prove to be a deal breaker a few years from now. I believe you should always have a baseline of attraction from the start, and if you don't, and haven't wanted to make love within the first six months, then please think about this. I've seen too many people settle only to regret it two years later and end up in separate rooms, or divorced. Someone may FIT many of your must haves in other areas, but sadly you just can't force yourself to be sexually turned on if you're not and to ignore that to settle for "part" of you what you seek to be married or not be single is "settling"
NOT agreeing on something that is important to you: If you're a great animal lover and campaigner who likes to spend weekends being their voice and your partner sees this as a waste of time and wants you to do less, or give it up, then you may have a serious problem. You have to decide IF what you see as important is a part of you like the color of your eyes or something that can be negotiated on. If it's something you've done or been part of since you were growing up this is likely to be a REAL problem as how can you change how you feel, and more importantly do you really want to compromise and change who you are.
Region incompatibility. You may have met someone through internet dating or through work when travelling across the atlantic, but he or she lives in Chicago and you in London, you have to consider this, as even a few hundred miles ( a three car drive) can make all the difference when building a relationship. Although personally speaking I would prefer to see less of someone I'm absolutely passionate about, where the chemistry and sexual attraction is running high, than ever settle for someone because they lived in the same city who I didn't have that much passion for. Only you can decide what is right for you, and if neither of you will eventually move then it wont work.
Sexual attraction and sexual compatibility are not the same
Making sure you're compatible long term
Compatibility is vital, no if's or buts. Your soul mate may pass every test known to man, but when you're together there's an uneasy feeling, you just feel something is missing, perhaps you just don't get each other in some way; perhaps whatever you do or say you end up bickering or you end up arguing over money, who does what, or run out of conversation and silences feel strange, you can't relax. If any of this seem familiar you may not be compatible, and if you're not compatible, and these things are happening before the magic has worn off then this is not likely to change with marriage.
Sexual attraction is not the same as sexual compatibility -- sexual attraction wears off. Sexual compatibility means even when the sexual attraction begins to slow down you're still likely to work well together, sex just clicks for you, you're attuned to each other and have similar desires for making love.
EXPLORE being with someone for at least two years, before you consider moving in or getting married. The first flush of excitement and romance needs to pass before logical decisions are made about real compatibility. Moving in and out of different homes is expensive NOT only financially but EMOTIONALLY, to have start all over again if it doesn't work. And you have no security financially living together, so there are many things to consider before making saying I DO or moving in. It is very risky to marry someone you've known for just a few months, or even a year. Give the relationship time so you know what you feel now is not just down to sexual attraction or NEED for company. You need foundations before you can get through ups and downs of married life and foundations are not built in a few months or a year.
Do you both want marriage and children or only ONE of you?
Over the next decade do you have the same long term vision?
BEING on the same path: You may be absolutely passionate about your man, but HE has to feel the same way. You must make sure before you MOVE IN you have the SAME goal for the relationship, if not you would be crazy to think that by moving in YOU will change his mind. NEVER do this.
Can you be yourself. Marriage changes people as you live 24/7 together, so make sure you can relax with this person opposed to trying to please your partner by being someone you're not. If friends say you've changed and they don't recognize you anymore - think twice.
Long-term aspirations. You've been dating a while, a few months, but are your visions for the future the same. Whether it's living in the country or moving into a city, travelling the world or marriage, home and a family the key thing is YOU BOTH want and can see the same picture. If your your visions of the future are not identical but do follow a very similar path fine, you may be okay, but if the vision is completely different then you will experience a lot of problems, you'll be pulling in two different directions.
Can you see yourself with this person thirty years from now?
If you cannot imagine being with person in 5-10-15 years time, or start to struggle with that, feel a bit stifled by it, then considering marriage which even in modern day terms is supposed to last a lifetime you really are not ready for marriage or the person is NOT right for you.
If you can envisage being with this person for life, and you match in all the key areas of compatibility and visions for the future, then the rest is down to risk, as with everything in life, but at least you've taken the steps to stand back and think about whether this person is who you choose or whether you may be settling..
I wish every happiness in life whatever you choose...