Suddenly it seems that everyone around you is pairing off, getting married and starting a family of their own. You are truly happy for them but can’t help to wonder if you too will someday have the same. Marriage is a significant step to take in a relationship. Also not everyone that takes this step is necessarily ready to get married. There are lots of couples that get married prematurely because they think it’s a natural progression in a relationship which is not always the case.
People hold the common faulty belief that you love someone, you marry and you just live happily ever after. Well, at least that’s what we see in the movies, right? In reality, there’s a lot more to it than that. It’s a big commitment and involves work to make it successful, healthy and long lasting. It doesn’t just work on its own without you being intentional about it. So how do you know if you and your partner are truly ready to getting married?
Be the right partner
Finding the right partner is just as important as being the right partner. Do some self-exploration and identify what strengths you bring to the relationship. What positive attributes do you possess that help to strengthen the partnership? What are some areas that you need to further grow and develop in? We all have flaws so it’s important that you become aware of your individual flaws and start your unending journey toward personal growth. Being the right partner also means that you acknowledge and accept that you are responsible for creating your own experience. You own your thoughts and choose the attitudes that you bring to the relationship thus contributing to your overall experience with your partner.
A Marriage – not just a wedding
Some people are in love with the idea of a wedding and the planning of a wedding. The thought of the beautiful dresses, the flowers, the gathering of family and friends for a big celebration and even the honeymoon that follows is an exciting thought for many people. A wedding lasts for just a few hours but the marriage will last a lifetime (hopefully!). Be honest with yourself about what you’re really after. Is it just the wedding or the lifetime commitment? While planning the big day is a lot of work and can be a lot of fun, the real work starts when the marriage begins.
Honesty is a cornerstone of any healthy and meaningful relationship. You need to be able to be honest with your partner about everything, including the deepest, ugliest truths about yourself that you have never dared to share with anyone else. Unconditional love is at the core of a marriage. Your partner needs to be able to accept all of you, which includes the parts that aren’t so lovely or that you believe aren’t so lovely. You need to be able to do the same for your partner. If you never share those less desirable parts of yourself does your partner really know who they are marrying?
Would you want to marry someone that you truly don’t know? Acceptance is not the same as “tolerating”. It’s simply the result of an honest dialogue that leads to an acknowledgement of something that is not accepted. When you accept something, you let go of the fruitless attempt at “changing” your spouse into the person you want them to be and the person they are not. The paradox of acceptance is that, through acceptance, change can occur on its own.
Value congruence and compatibility
While you and your partner may not find that you are compatible with all things, there are some key areas where compatibility is needed for a successful marriage. Value congruence is when you are living in accordance with your personal values and beliefs. If you find that you often abandon your values and beliefs to suit your partner, then there may be some issues of compatibility in your relationship. While you and your partner’s values and beliefs may not align 100% of the time it should most of the time.
Living in congruence with your values is necessary for your psychological well-being. If this is something that you are not able to do while being with your partner, then it may not be the right relationship and needless to say one that most likely should not be entering a marriage. Discussions about goals and expectations about marriage should be discussed ahead of time. This enables you to have a clear idea of your partner’s expectations and whether or not they align with yours.
Marriage is a wonderful gift and should be taken very seriously. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly or made impulsively. While there are other signs that should be considered in assessing your readiness for marriage, these are just a few areas where significant weight should be placed.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
More by Kerri Anne Brown