By Christina Steinorth
1. You’ve dated for a year, and have been engaged for at least six months.
It’s so easy to get caught up in all the wedding planning, the dress, the flowers…but once all of this is done and you’ve said I do, day-to-day living is very different. There are bills to pay, errands to run, job stress, household chores…maybe down the line, you’ll be raising children…all of these things are hardly romantic and can often unintentionally lead you to neglect your relationship. If you’ve dated your partner for a year and have been engaged for six months and you two are still on the same page with everything, then you’re ready for marriage. Eighteen months is usually enough time to see people at their best and their worst, so if you’ve made it this far, your marriage will stand a good chance of surviving the test of time.
2. You trust each other.
Trust is a huge thing in marriage. If you’re checking your partner’s phone, e-mail, facebook messages and any other things to see what he/she or has been up to, you and your relationship are definitely NOT ready for marriage.
3. You’ve discussed your future in detail.
As boring as this one seems, it’s absolutely imperative you discuss your future as a couple in as much detail as possible. If you’re able to do this effectively, you’re ready for marriage because it shows that you and your spouse-to-be are capable of talking intelligently and sensitively about important life issues. It also shows you are mature enough to face life’s responsibilities rather than hide from them and think that they will somehow magically be taken care of.
If you’re able to have a disagreement with your partner that doesn’t end in a temper tantrum or a character assassination, then you’re ready for marriage. If you’re able to “agree to disagree” when you can’t meet your partner in the middle, then you’re ready for marriage. Staying mutually respectful during disagreements is a sign of maturity and will help your marriage go the distance.
5. You’ve met each other’s families.
Regardless of how in love a couple is, I can’t stress enough how important it is to meet one another’s families before you get married. A lot of people (regardless of age) seem to think “we love each other, who cares what my family thinks?” This is a great attitude in theory, but it isn’t a practical way of thinking.
In-laws can cause an enormous amount of stress and tension in a marriage if the relationship is strained. Even if there is minor tension between either one of you and your in-laws prior to marriage, I urge you to come to terms with how you will handle the difficulty as a couple prior to getting married. If you have a very close-knit family who isn’t happy with your choice in marriage partner, remember your loyalty should be to your spouse. So, if you’re family is causing a problem in your relationship, or looks like they’re going to cause a problem in your relationship, have a sit-down talk with them to set the record straight. Remind them that if they disrespect your spouse, they are in essence, disrespecting you. You and your spouse-to-be will be a team in life–have each other’s backs.
– Christina Steinorth, MA, MFT is a private practice Psychotherapist and the Author of the critically acclaimed book Cue Cards for Life: Thoughtful Tips for Better Relationships. You can order her book here.