Should I get married? 9 questions to ask yourself.

Should I get married? Yes! I love him so much! I can’t imagine life without her…

Marriage is a big commitment–in fact, it’s one of the biggest commitments we can make in our lives. Is he/she “the one”? Are you ready?

Ultimately, no one can answer that but yourself. Not your parents, not friends, not marriage experts or writers like me. Here are 9 important questions to ask yourself that can help you answer the question “Should I get married?” Many of these are based on statistics that predict successful marriage or divorce.

1. Am I hoping marriage will save my relationship?

Marriage–the legal/religious ceremony and status–will not “fix” anything. It will not make you and your partner stop arguing. It won’t make you happy. You have to do this yourself. Writer Tracy Moore puts this well:

Marriage is just a framework. Everything about the way it goes comes down to the two people in it and how they face the challenges that befall them.

There are things, to be sure, about making it harder to leave a relationship that will influence the way you work on the relationship. Committing for life provides a framework for doing the heavy lifting over the long-term in a way that a casual relationship wouldn’t. But in either situation, people can be for the notion of working it out no matter what or not. It’s not marriage that creates (or more importantly, keeps) this promise. It’s people.

Any problems you have in your relationship or elsewhere should be addressed separately from and perhaps before thinking about “Should I get married?” should I get married

2. Have we discussed the “big stuff”?

Even if you and your partner have incredibly compatible personalities, you also need to share a common vision for the future. Before getting married you should discus:

  • Kids: How many? When? Will you adopt? What religion or traditions will you raise them with?
  • Where you want to live?
  • Finances: Do you want to pool money or have a separate bank account? How do you approach finances?
  • Perceptions of marriage: Do you believe in traditional gender roles or certain religious precepts about marriage?
  • Family: Will you live near or with in-laws? Which ones? Are there problems with your potential in-laws?
  • Individual plans: What are your individual hopes and dreams? Travel? Going back to school?

Marriage means forever blending your lives together. It is not a good idea if you have quiet different ideas or goals for the future or married life. This is one of the saddest reasons for ending a relationship. You may love this person very much; but the answer to “should I get married to this person?” is, unfortunately, no. should I get married

should I get married?
Should I get married? Only you can decide.

3. Have I seriously addressed my doubts?

Every bride and groom gets nervous before the wedding, and some are still asking themselves “Should I get married?” before their vows. Pre-marital jitters don’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t get married. Rather, they are important clues to underlying issues in your relationship. Pay attention to them! Your intuition is a powerful tool. Examine each one and use them as a guide to addressing any problems that should be fixed before marrying. You’ll save yourself a lot of hassle later on by nipping potential problems in the bud.

4. How do you disagree?

Interestingly, the frequency of disagreements in your marriage is not a predictor of divorce. However, how you disagree is. Couples who escalate arguments and use personal attacks, ridicule, sarcasm or avoidance are highly likely to divorce, as well as have a toxic marriage full of contempt and resentment.

Successful couples know how to defuse and de-escalate tense situations. During disagreements they keep their words gentle and quickly give a compliment, make a joke, or make a physical connection when tension starts to build. If you or your partner call each other names, accuse each other or insult each other, try couples counseling such as Power of Two to get the skills for productive and positive problem solving. These skills can be learned! And it’s a good idea to do so before you get married.

6. Is he/she conscientious?

Conscientiousness in a spouse is a predictor of good health later in life, even more strongly than your own personality traits. Someone who is conscientious is also likely empathetic, meaning they are able to see things from your point of view. Pick a mate who truly does care about you and how you feel, and you’ll have found a good life partner. should I get married

7. Has he/she ever shown any signs of violence or controlling behavior?

Has your boyfriend or girlfriend even done any of the following?

  • Told you where you where, when or what you could do
  • Tried to limit your contact with friends and family
  • Told you and made you think you are a crazy, worthless, or a terrible person
  • Mocked or insulted you in front of others
  • Been cruel/violent towards animals or children
  • Taken money from you or tried to control your finances
  • Threatened you with violence, withholding of love/intimacy, or leaving
  • Harmed you physically in any way
  • Made you feel guilty or scared at the idea of leaving him/her
  • Put you in an uncomfortable or dangerous situation despite your pleas to stop (i.e. driving at unsafe speeds)

All these behaviors are signs of emotional, psychological or physical abuse. If you have every experienced any of these, or discovered your partner’s past abusive behavior, seek professional help and leave the relationship as soon as possible. Abusers’ first step is to wear down the self-esteem and independence of their victims — he or she may make marriage seem like your only option or that it will fix everything. Do not marry this person. Abusive behavior only worsens and becomes more dangerous to escape from with time. See our article on abusive relationships for more info.

8. Is he/she open to change and willing to work on marriage issues?

All marriages have problems. Some you just have to live with (nobody is perfect!) and others will require real work. Luckily, even the most intense problems can be overcome if you and your spouse are both willing and committed to change. If your partner shows no willingness or interest in admitting to and working on his or her part, you probably shouldn’t marry this person.

9. Do you want to get married?

A better question than “Should I get married?” is, do you–and just you–actually want to get married? Or do you feel you should get married because:

  • All your friends are getting married
  • Your partner really wants to
  • Your parent/family wants or expects you to
  • It seems like the right thing to do at your age
  • You’re not sure what else to do right now
  • You want to be considered an adult

These are not necessarily bad reasons. In fact, they are part of many people’s considerations in deciding “should I get married?” At the same time, none of them should be the primary reason why you are getting married. You should get married only because you truly want to and believe it is the right thing for your life at this time.

10. Should I get married? Go for it!

Should I get married? Marriage is a big decision and it’s easy to get caught up in making sure all your reasons are perfect and that he or she is truly “the one.” In the end, listen to your gut. Logically, he could be the perfect person to marry. At the same time, if you don’t feel a spark of connection now, or if you are already bored or disillusioned with your partner, marrying him, however logical, is not the right thing to do.

Know that no matter who you marry, you’ll have good times and bad. Pick a spouse who will be a good partner in facing all of life’s challenges and adventures. Someone who you can image growing and changing and problem-solving with. Someone who will challenge you and also support you. Someone who gives you lots of compliments and her undivided attention when you need it.

We’re all just figuring this out as we go along. Millions of couples have come before you and have wondered, feared, and dreamed about the same things–and nobody has ever been 100% sure of how it will all turn out.  Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith. Go for it!