7 Questions You Must Ask Before Deciding to Get Married
1) Do you want the same things from life?
Even people who love each other can reach obstacles. While it is painful to realize that certain issues may cause problems in a happy relationship, it is better to find out sooner rather than later. Here a few of the most common deal-breakers:
If one yearns for children and the other is vehemently against the idea, getting married will involve a huge personal sacrifice for one person in the relationship.
Maintaining a work-life balance: How do you prioritize your work and home lives? There is likely to be discord if your partner is a workaholic while you prefer to put your job out of your thoughts once you leave work.
Living arrangements: Can you agree on whether you want to settle down in one place? Do you have the same opinion about when (or if) to buy a house? Do you want to live near family members? Can you be happy in the same surroundings?
2) Are you open and honest with each other?
In the short-term, many people can be satisfied by a fun relationship that revolves around dinner dates and mutual physical attraction. However, in the end, being happy requires that you have a friendship as well as a romance. In particular, you need to have a deep emotional bond if you want to develop the type of mutual support that is found in the best marriages.
- Can you talk to each other about difficult issues such as sexual problems and personal insecurities?
- Is your partner one of the first people you choose to reach out to when you want to discuss troubling problems?
- Can you jointly face up to the real issues underlying disputes, rather than brushing them under the carpet?
- Do you feel able to be yourself around your partner, and do you get the sense that your partner is comfortable when she is around you?
3) How will you run a household?
There are many different factors that influence whether a couple can effectively run a joint household, and major incompatibilities can lead to frequent arguments or to one partner feeling taken for granted. Consider the following:
How will you approach your finances? If you plan to share your money, do you have similar attitudes about how much it is appropriate to spend on a monthly basis, and a broadly similar view of what constitutes an acceptable purchase?
Are you comfortable being transparent about where all your money goes?
How will you divide the necessary chores that come with living together? Is one of you inclined to expect the other to take responsibility for caring for the household?
Can you work out an agreement that is acceptable to both parties, or is it likely that one partner will be doing more than their fair share?
4) What are your views on monogamy?
Firstly, it is essential that you be on the same page when it comes to whether or not you want a monogamous relationship. Some non-monogamous or open marriages work well, but it is vital that both partners have equal interest in pursuing either a monogamous or non-monogamous marriage.
Secondly, if you do want to maintain a monogamous relationship, where will your boundaries be fixed? You may think that it is acceptable to enjoy images of naked women, while your partner may view this is a mild type of infidelity.
Also consider issues such as whether it is acceptable to flirt with other people, how you feel about each other checking out attractive strangers, and what you think about strip clubs. If you cannot find a middle ground and one partner feels pressured into behaving in a certain way (or accepting a certain type of behavior), this is a recipe for a tense marriage.
5) How do you deal with disagreements?
No matter how much you love your girlfriend or how well you get along most of the time, you are bound to face disagreements over the course of your relationship, and some of them will be serious.
A marriage will only work if the participants cultivate healthy communication styles:
- Both of you should feel free to bring up contentious topics; neither of you should pressure the other partner into staying silent about things that are unpleasant to discuss.
- Neither of you should be physically or verbally abusive when you argue.
- You should know how to apologize to each other in a sincere way. Ideally, arguments should lead to a resolution that is a win for the relationship.
If you have problems tackling disagreements, this is something to work on and examine before you decide that it is a good idea to become husband and wife.
6) Do you have any incompatibilities that influence daily life?
No two people will agree on every topic so any marriage can be expected to involve certain incompatibilities. The trick is to make sure that these differences are things that can be tolerated, or appreciated. Here are some questions that highlight common incompatibilities:
- How often is it acceptable to drink alcohol, and to what extent?
- How do you feel about religion or spirituality?
- Is it important to have pets (and, if so, what kind of pets)?
- How much of your free time should be given to your other family members and friends?
- Do you have any life goals that are hampered or entirely undermined by getting married?
- Do you think it is important to have shared hobbies, and (if so) do you have many?
- Do you share an idea of what a vacation should be like?
7) Can we picture being happy together in forty or fifty years?
Ideally, marriage is a life-long commitment, so it is important for you and your partner to think about how you see your relationship dealing with changes that occur over the course of a lifetime.
Is your attraction deep enough to be sustained as you grow older and develop signs of aging?
Could you be content spending long days together after retirement?
Considering all of these questions about preferences, goals and behavior can certainly give you a valuable sense of whether you are in a relationship that could transform into a happy and fulfilling marriage, but there is no litmus test for marital bliss.
In addition, it is worth remembering that couples who truly love each other can often overcome serious setbacks. Even if you have doubts about marriage at this stage, you may find that compromise, effort and growth eventually can lead to the type of relationship that makes you feel confident and excited at the thought of saying “I do.”