Are You Ready To Get Married?

Marriage is supposed to last a lifetime. Are you ready for that big step? Here are some indicators that can help you find out.

With the high divorce rate, it may seem risky to get married these days. Of course, marriage has always been a risk since we don't know how we'll get along with someone under the same roof, no matter how long we've known each other.

If you are flirting with the idea of getting hitched, assuming you have found someone with whom you share a serious relationship, you may want to consider indicators like those that follow. While there is no fool proof way to guarantee that someone is or is not ready to wed, issues like the following may help you reflect on potential problems to deal with before saying "I do."

1. Will your financial condition contribute to a successful marriage? Although you and your intended may have agreed that you will not work for a while, or might work for fewer hours or less of a salary, money problems are at the top of the list of issues that married couples fight about. Unexpected expenses like medical bills, home and auto repairs, and recreational costs can soon have the most loving couple at each other's throat as bulldogs more than lovers. Make a budget with your beloved and determine if both of you can live within a joint framework of shared income and expenditures. If conflicts arise, make an appointment to see a marriage counselor.

2. Can you put up with your fiancé's idiosyncrasies? Remember, whatever annoys or irritates you now about this person will only become magnified after you marry. Living together, day after day, offers no escape from whatever it is about your mate that bothers you. Either decide you can live with her constant chattering or his occasional emotional withdrawals before moving ahead with wedding plans. If you believe this may be a problem that can be addressed so you can go ahead and get married, discuss it first to develop a plan that will head off major arguments later. For example, they may agree that the wife will chatter for 30 minutes when her hubby comes home from work, during which he will listen attentively. After that, she backs off to give him time to relax or putter at the workbench. She may agree to give him emotional space when he doesn't feel like talking, especially if they agree his pulling away will last a short time before getting together again.

3. Are you ready to serve a spouse? Being married means that ideally, you are willing to put your spouse's needs ahead of your own, at least sometimes. For example, if both of you have college plans, but one income is needed to support the household until the person graduates, who gets to go first? Will that person agree to cover household expenses so the other person can attend college afterward? Can you give up recreational spending of several hundred dollars each month in order to help make a larger mortgage payment? Will you do your share in getting up with sick kids in the middle of the night to give your spouse a break, even when you have to work the next day? Marriage is mainly about setting aside selfishness and making sacrifices for the good of all.

4. Can you handle more household chores? Chances are when two of you are under the same roof, you may disagree about how the house should be cleaned and maintained. There's also a good chance you will have to do more work than before to keep things neat and tidy. Will you be able to balance a job, family, and home without blowing your top? Can you deal with a spouse whose expectations may be lower or higher than yours?

5. How will you manage major differing viewpoints? Issues like religion, politics, and moral values have divided many couples and families. Whatever your views, can you temper them to co-exist with someone who may hold very different opinions?

These and other distinctions among individuals need to be confronted as you plan a life with another person. Look inside yourself first to see if you have what it takes to sustain a life-long relationship commitment. Then evaluate your betrothed for similar criteria. It's better to find out now that you're incompatible than to realize it a year or two after the wedding, especially if children have come along. Give some thought to these criteria before making a choice that will impact the lives of many.

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