How to Know You’re Ready for Marriage
Are you feeling ready for the next step in your relationship? Getting married is a huge life decision, and deciding to move forward can feel scary and uncertain. But we’re here to help. With insights from marriage therapist, Liz Colizza, we’ve drafted seven questions to ask yourself before you decide to pursue marriage.
Here we go!
1. Are you mutually dependent on one another?
“Healthy relationships are interdependent relationships, where both people are mutually dependent,” says Colizza. Keyword: mutual. She says this is something that’s often unbalanced in relationships, especially unhealthy ones. If one of you is more dependent on the other, this is something to address before you tie the knot.
2. Do you like who you are and who you are becoming with your partner?
Do you feel accepted as you are today but also hopeful about the future version of yourself in this relationship? You should love the person you are and the person you are becoming, being both accepted and challenged by your partner. If this is out of balance, things can get unhealthy. If you feel your partner is just marrying you for who they hope you’ll be one day, that is a red flag. Marry each other for you who are right now, and then work together to become the best versions of yourselves.
3. Are there any red flags in your relationship?
Is there anything that makes you feel unsafe, unsure, or uncomfortable? Make time to talk about it openly with your partner. Use Lasting’s communication template: “I feel X when Y happens. I need Z.” If speaking to your partner about it doesn’t resolve the issue, consider seeking outside counsel for better ways to approach this. But remember, a healthy relationship means being able to have hard conversations without damaging the partnership. As Colizza says, “Couples do not have to agree on all the major issues, but they need to be able to talk through them and figure out a compromise together. If that feels impossible, they might want to reconsider.” For more tools on how to tackle those tough talks, download the app today and check out our Communication series.
4. Do the people who know you well think that your partner is a good fit for you?
Poll your people. Friends, family, coworkers, anyone who’s seen you and your partner together. They’ll see how you’ve changed, for better or worse, since you’ve been in the relationship, and if asked, will hopefully give you honest feedback. If more than one friend or family member has a concern, it’s worth addressing before you make that next step.
5. Do you feel that you can increasingly rely on your partner?
Is trust growing in your relationship? What about commitment? “Healthy relationships grow when sacrifice, trust, dependence, and commitment are growing too,” says Colizza. So think about it: can you rely on your person on good days and bad? Trust must grow in order to have a lasting marriage, so take an honest look at your partner’s reliability before you head for the altar.
6. Do you feel that you and your partner can grow and change together?
Think back just five years and remember how much you’ve changed. This will happen again and again over time, and no matter the person you’re with, you will both change individually and together. Can your partnership handle this? Do you feel that your partner could change with you over time?
7. Does your partner sacrifice his or her choices for the sake of the relationship?
When two individuals enter into a relationship, that relationship forms a third entity with its own unique needs. At Lasting, we call this the “we,” as opposed to the “me” view on relationships. If your partner is able to make decisions based on the “we” rather than “me,” prioritizing what’s best for the relationship over his or her own preferences, this is a good sign. Think of the last time your partner had this choice to make. What did they choose?
For more ways to make sure you’re ready, take our marriage health assessment, which will help you identify potential problem areas as well, even before you’re married.
If your answers for these check out, but you’re unsure whether your partner is on the same page about that next step, know that it’s normal. It’s common for one person to be ready for marriage before the other. When it comes to broaching the topic of marriage with your partner, Colizza has some advice, “Someone has to exercise courage in this area. The best way to bring up any sensitive topic is in a gentle, soft way addressing your own perspective. One person needs to put themselves out there and allow the other person time and space to respond.”