Are You Ready For Marriage?

Deciding to take the plunge into marriage is exciting but it’s also a big decision and not something you should rush into. If you’re itching to get hitched but still don’t know whether you and your partner are ready to walk down the aisle, we put together a list of important things to think about before you say "I do."

Couple talking about feelings

To learn more, we turned to Tina B. Tessina, Ph. D. (aka "Dr. Romance"), psychotherapist and author of The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again. She shares six of the most important things to discuss with your partner before deciding to get married.

Your definition of commitment

One of the most important things to discuss before getting married is whether you and your partner have the same definition of commitment. “Whether you know it or not, you and your partner will define your relationship,” Tessina says. “If you don't know what your relationship means to both of you, you risk repeating past mistakes, getting stuck in uncomfortable roles or fighting about what a healthy relationship is,” she explains. Talk with your partner about what words such as relationship, commitment, love and faithfulness mean to you. You'll be amazed by what you learn.

Financial details

Next to sex, money is the biggest generator of problems, arguments and resentment in long-term relationships. Couples often assume that money should be pooled, but it usually isn't always that easy. “A disparity in income can mean struggling about who pays for what or whose income determines your lifestyle,” Tessina explains. Different financial habits (one of you likes to save, the other spends more, or doesn't keep track) can become a source of argument. “For many couples, separating your money makes things run smoother; you don't wind up struggling for control. You can split expenses evenly, or work out a percentage share if your incomes are different,” she says.

Household responsibilities

If you already live together, you probably already have a handle on dividing up chores. If you're not yet living together, Tessina suggests taking a tour of each other's homes. “Drastically different decorating styles, neatness and organization levels can become sources of argument, and so can housekeeping and chores,” she says. “If you have different tastes, it may require a lot of creativity and negotiation to decorate a joint home in a way that makes both of you comfortable.”

Closeness to family and friends

Differing views of family and how important those ties are can have a big impact on whether you and your man are ready for marriage. “If one of you has a lot of family or friends, and the other doesn’t, find out what those relationships mean,” Tessina advises. Discuss where you’ll spend holidays and how often you’ll see each other’s parents. “If there are family members who have problems, such as addiction or mental illness, how much will that impact your relationship?”

How you handle anger and other emotions

Everyone handles stress differently and we all get upset from time to time. But how do you deal with your partner’s stress and anger? “If you are usually good at diffusing each other's anger and being supportive through times of grief or pain, your emotional bond will deepen as time goes on,” Tessina says. “If your tendency is to react to each other and make the situation more volatile and destructive, you need to correct that problem before you live together.”

How you show love to each other

Love and how to show it mean different things to different people so making this part of your pre-marriage discussion is important. “Sharing what actions and words mean love to you may be surprising. Even if it's a struggle, discussing how you give and receive love will improve your relationship,” Tessina explains. “You will understand what makes each of you feel loved, and how to express your love effectively.”

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Comments

Comments on "6 Things to think about before tying the knot"

Lauren October 30, 2012 | 10:32 AM

I like the last part about knowing how to show love to your partner. My husband and I are reading "The 5 Languages of Love" and it's helped immensely. We now know how to lovingly communicate with one another and show each other that we love each other. So important!

Leslie August 14, 2012 | 10:35 AM

I think it's really important to discuss heated issues before tying the knot. Finances, for instance...make sure you're on the same page and decide beforehand how you're going to divide everything up (or combine). is another hot issue - so discuss expectations before entering into marriage. The more you've discussed, the better your marriage will be.

Dan June 19, 2012 | 9:25 AM

Hi, Commitment in any relationship is how much you are active to maintain a health relation with your partner. You have to maintain love, affection, care and mutual understanding. This all make relationship more healthy and committed. Thanks for sharing. Jennie Anne

Emma May 02, 2012 | 10:54 AM

We live in a culture focused on instant gratification without looking towards the future. I really appreciate the point of defining certain words that a relationship is based on. When I do get married, my commitment will be forever and my spouse needs to be on the same page.

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