Many of us grow up watching fairy tales that turn out perfectly. Consciously or unconsciously, we pick up the idea that we would love to live happily ever after with that special someone in marriage. One reason we date is because we want to discover if this person is the one we could spend the rest of our life with.
After all, marriage can be an amazing experience. Sure, it takes work and patience. It takes loads of unconditional love. There are ups and downs, but it’s all worth it when you can navigate life as a strong team.
But what if you’re not sure if you’re ready to get married? What if the signs aren’t there or you’re fearful of making such a commitment?
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. And, you don’t have to figure out the answers yourself. The following are some tips on how you can tell if you and your partner are ready (or almost ready) for marriage.
Do you love your partner without conditions? Do they love you this way? Tying the knot is a serious, long-term commitment. If you feel that the love that you have for one another is deep, authentic, and safe, then it’s a good sign that marriage will serve your relationship well.
We deserve to be loved by our partner even if we don’t meet all their expectations, and vice versa. The reality is that we all come into relationships with quirks, flaws, possible emotional baggage, and so on. Can you both love each other unconditionally despite all of it? You don’t have to love the “stuff”, but you can ultimately love them regardless. When this type of love is on the table, it’s a green light all the way.
If you and/or your partner are wondering if it’s time to think about marriage, it’s time to have an open, honest conversation about it. Granted, not everyone is keen on wearing their heart on their sleeve. Sharing emotions isn’t easy for everyone, so keep this in mind. However, it is important to have this kind of conversation if you’re wondering where your relationship is headed.
Sit down and have a real heart-to-heart about the topic. Share how you feel and any concerns you have. Let your partner share their heart. Be curious too. If you’ve got a list of questions, don’t be afraid to ask them. Truly listen to one another with respect.
Do you and your partner feel secure in the relationship? While a bit of jealousy can be normal in a relationship, a lot of it is not. Building a firm foundation of trust in a relationship can help you build a secure, loving, long-lasting marriage. If you and your partner are ready to get married, you’ll both feel a fair amount of security in and of yourselves and with each other.
While many love songs assert that your partner is the one that completes you in all ways, the reality is that authentic love does not seek happiness solely from a partner. In other words, you are responsible for your level of happiness and your partner is responsible for theirs. Getting married isn’t likely to magically cause you both to be happy.
Why? Because happiness is an inside thing. Sure, you can both add value to each other and the relationship. However, if you’re both looking at each other solely for fulfillment and happiness, you may find yourself struggling down the road.
This is known as an interdependent relationship, as opposed to a codependent or unhealthy relationship. If you and your partner understand that you’re both individuals simply joining together to navigate life as a team, it’s likely you’re ready to tie the knot.
You’re bound to have conflict every now and then with your partner. How you handle that conflict can determine the longevity of your relationship. How do you handle arguments or disagreements with your partner? Do you resolved them in a timely manner, or do they turn into full-blown fights? Can you talk through things? Do you break up and then get back together often? Do you apologize if things were said or done that hurt each other?
Lacking conflict resolution skills gives you opportunities to learn better ways of resolving conflict. When you do this, you’re building a solid foundation for marriage. If you find you can’t do it on your own, seek a couple’s therapist who can help you learn better skills.
If you’re ready for marriage, then you’re on board with spending your life with your special person. This means you won’t be able to get back in the dating game or be single again. You won’t have another first kiss or first date. Are you alright with this? Is your partner?
If you’re like most people, you may have a little bit of emotional baggage from your past. This could stem all the way back from your childhood, teenage years, or perhaps an adult who's experienced some trauma. Relationship experts will tell you that relationships are a fertile ground for old wounds or unresolved trauma to spring up. While it may seem that it springs up to wreak havoc in your life, really what it's doing is arising because it wants to be seen, heard, healed, and integrated back into your psyche.
Going into a marriage, it's helpful to know that each of you will be a prop or a mirror reflecting these old wounds that are seeking to be healed. If you've ever been emotionally triggered, then you can understand how this works. If it's your buttons that are getting pressed, and there are some explosives going off within you, those explosives tend to be old wounds that want to be healed. Your partner will likely press those buttons, sometimes repeatedly, to give you the opportunity to work on healing those triggers.
Are you both willing to resolve old trauma within yourselves by doing some inner healing work? If you can’t do it on your own, are you willing to reach out for help from a professional? If you both can understand that this is a normal part of a relationship and agree to be patient with each other as you both do your inner healing work, your marriage is much more likely to succeed.
Marriage can be a wonderful journey where you can experience amazing things as you travel this journey called life. It's fairly normal to wonder if you're ready to get married. After all, it's a big commitment. If you're questioning your readiness, give yourself a pat on the back. This means that you're not taking it lightly and you want to be sure that you and your partner are indeed ready to get married.
Hopefully, you've seen yourself in some of these points made today, indicating that you’re on the right track for marriage. And if you haven't, it’s alright too. Now you know what you need to work toward or what kind of conversation to have with your partner.
Best wishes for happiness regardless of if and when you do get married.
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