Should I Get Married? Signs You're Ready to Commit
After a certain point in a relationship, you and your partner will find yourselves asking what the next steps are, which can lead to discussions of marriage and life partnership. There are a lot of reasons that people feel the need or pressure to get married. Maybe you have been dating for five years and feel like it’s time. Maybe your friends are getting married and you feel like you want to keep pace with your peers. Or maybe your parents are telling you that the clock is ticking.... Regardless of what prompts these discussions of marriage, it’s important to think long and hard about whether you and your partner are ready to take the next step. It can be very difficult to know whether you are ready to spend the rest of your life with someone, and this decision will ultimately boil down to a gut feeling, but there are a few questions you can ask yourself to help reason out if you are ready for marriage.
Here are a few things to consider before deciding to commit:
1. Financial stability
Okay, no, this isn’t the most romantic thing to consider when thinking about marriage, but that doesn’t make it unimportant! Financial stress is a leading cause of marital unhappiness and even divorce. While it’s fairly impossible to avoid financial stress altogether, you can set yourself up to be more successful in your marriage if you establish financial stability from the beginning. Financial stability doesn’t mean that you need to be completely debt free or have a huge savings account, but you should be in a relatively stable place before deciding to get hitched. It’s also important to talk to your partner about their financial stability or at least their financial standing, so that you know what you’re getting yourself into.
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With age comes maturity, and with maturity comes knowing what you want and being more prepared to commit to a lifelong relationship. This age is different for everyone and there is no magic number for determining when you are ready for marriage. Afterall some people mature way earlier than others, and some people much later... When you are considering getting married, you should think not only about your own maturity level, but also the maturity level of your partner. Are you both at a point in your life where you are ready to settle down? Or do you feel some degree of restlessness? Marriage doesn’t necessarily require settling down, especially if both you and your partner have the same adventurous spirit. But, it does require the maturity to talk about what your future looks like, together.
Sometimes taking your relationship to the next step boils down to timing. Are you and your partner on the same page about the next steps in your relationship? Do you live in the same place? If not, are you okay with long distance? Are you ready to commit to one person? Do you have soul searching left to do? Making sure that you are on the same page about these types of things, and that you are both at a time in your life when you are open to the possibility of marriage is important before moving on to the next step. And if you or your partner are not ready, you should consider whether you are willing to wait until you are both on the same page about moving forward together, or not. These conversations can be very difficult, but are crucial to making sure that you are both on the same page about the future. As painful as it can be to discover that the timing is off, you will save yourself a lot of heartache if you have these discussions early on.
Above all else, it’s important that you and your partner are friends. Studies show that physical and romantic attraction often fades with time, or atleast ebbs and flows throughout a relationship, so it’s important to have an underlying friendship to help you through these periods. Knowing that you and your partner are friends (if at times, nothing else) can help you support each other and nurture a relationship back to health.
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5. Loving your partner for the right reasons
Before you decide to spend the rest of your life with someone, it’s important to think about why you love your partner and reflect on the longevity of these reasons. Loving your partner for superficial reasons or reasons related to status are not enough to decide to marry them. Instead, you should focus on the qualities like their personality, integrity, reliability, honesty and compassion - things that won’t change over time.
6. Recognize each others flaws
No one is perfect, and while most people recognize this on a philosophical/intellectual level, it can be a whole different thing to accept it in real life. Part of loving someone is being able to embrace them as their whole self, flaws and all, which requires practicing empathy, forgiveness and acceptance. When we notice flaws in another person it can be easy to look the other way or choose not to acknowledge them, on the other hand, it can also be tempting to try and fix things that we can see as flaws. But neither of these strategies set your relationship up for success. You and your partner will know you are ready to get married when you not only recognize each other’s flaws, but accept them and even learn to embrace them.
7. Self Love
Self-love and self-care are both super important things to maintain in any relationship. While it’s important to have a partner that supports you and your mental health, it’s also important to maintain your mental health on your own. A lot of times, people rely on relationships to boost their self esteem and love for themselves. But, relying on external validation, and leaning on your partner to lift you up will put a huge burden on their shoulders that can end up damaging a relationship. Focusing on self love and learning ways to promote self acceptance and improve your self-esteem will show that you are ready for a long-term commitment. It’s important to note that self love is a journey, and not something that can be achieved. Starting this journey before you get married, will help you carry this mindset through your marriage, which will make things smoother.
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8. Shared goals and values
This is HUGE. A lot of relationships can be super happy and successful in the short run because of things like mutual attraction, chemistry, shared interests and hobbies, but if you want to make your relationship more long term (aka ‘til death do us part), you need to make sure that you and your partner are on the same page about your goals in life. Before you get married, you should know things like, if they are even interested in marriage, if they want children, what their career goals are, etc. It’s also important to know that you share each other’s beliefs and values. Are you/they religious? Do you have the same general outlook on life? Having shared goals and values doesn’t mean you will agree on every little thing, but it does mean that you share a general vision for the future. Knowing that there is a baseline of shared goals and values will help you navigate the relationship when things get hard.
9. You can be yourself
Relationships are about mutual support and loving the other person as they are, and this becomes even more crucial when you decide to get married and spend your lives together. While self improvement in the name of personal and relationship growth is always encouraged, it’s important that you are able to stay true to yourself in a relationship. You should not try to change your partner and they should not try to change you. Sure, maybe you encourage them to improve their diet or help them work towards using more effective communication skills (or maybe they do that for you), but you should not try to do the essential things that make them who they are. The sign of a healthy relationship, one that is ready for marriage, is one in which both people feel completely comfortable being themselves around the other person and feel supported by their partner.
10. You are better together
Do you and your partner make each other better? Successful relationships, relationships that are ready to graduate to the next level and consider marriage, are relationships in which partners make each other better. Relationships are ever evolving, and if you want your relationship to stand the test of time, you need a partner that will challenge you to improve and grow. Someone who believes in you and expects the best from you even when you are feeling down or struggling. This can’t just be a one sided thing, it’s also important that you are this same force to your partner.
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11. You’ve successfully worked through conflicts
Every relationship has conflict, whether it’s a platonic or romantic relationship. A huge indicator of the longevity of your relationship (aka whether or not marriage is right for you) is how you and your partner manage conflict. It’s important to make the distinction here between conflict management, conflict aversion and conflict avoidance. When conflict inevitably arises, it’s important that you and your partner are able to address the disagreement head on, effectively communicate, and reach a resolution together. Even better if you are able to avoid big conflicts altogether through frequent, good communication, but that’s a harder bill to fit. Managing conflicts will test your relationship and make it stronger, so it’s important to master this kind of thing before you get married.
Trust is one of the most important parts of every relationship, especially a marriage. You and your partner should not consider tying the knot unless you completely trust one another. Trusting one another means that you don’t lie or hide things from the other person, you feel comfortable turning to them for advice and you believe that they have good judgement and want the best for you. Trust is developed through communication, intimacy (emotional and physical), forgiveness and compassion for one another. If trust is broken in a relationship, it can be very difficult (but not impossible) to repair. Consider if your trust has ever been tested, and how much you trust your partner before taking the next step.
13. You are both committed
Relationships are hard, and so is marriage. Before deciding to get married, it’s important that you and your partner are both committed to the relationship in an honest way, acknowledging that it will be hard, and you will struggle, but committing to work through the problems as a team. You want to trust that your partner isn’t going to jump ship as soon as things get hard. It can be difficult to gauge your partner’s commitment, and even your own at times, so trusting yourself, the relationship, your shared history and your vision for the future will help you recognize if you are both committed enough to do the dang thing!
14. You both use Relish
Like we have said many times before, relationships are hard! And marriage is hard! Things don’t all of the sudden get easier because you got married. In fact, things can actually get harder at times as you navigate life as a team, through the ups and downs that are inherent to everyone’s journey. And even if you are committed to one another, your relationship can go through some tough times. Sometimes it can be helpful to turn to outside resources to help maintain a healthy relationship. Using resources like Relish, a relationship coaching app, can help you and your partner create relationship goals and work towards achieving these goals with the support of a professional relationship coach.
Whether you are married to one another, or are hoping to be married someday, using Relish can improve your relationship and give you the skills to have a successful relationship with one another. What do you have to lose? Get started for free.