So, you’ve finally met the woman or man of your dreams. Now, it seems the next logical step is to get married. After all, you’re in love, and that’s all you need to handle whatever curves life may throw your way. You will handle it together because it seems fun and exciting. However, with so many people divorcing these days (60% of all marriages end in divorce), it’s more important than ever to take the time to consider whether you are truly ready to devote yourself to a life-long commitment. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be married for better or for worse— no way. And what does that mean anyway? And if you are a gold digger, do you stay married for richer or for poorer? LOL and SMH! Gold diggers will put up with a lot of crap but being broke is not one of them! Gold diggers will stay no matter what. They will put up with your cheating, alcoholism, excessive spending and other bad habits. As long as your money is long, they will stay.
People spend so much time and money planning for that special day — the day of their wedding. But what about planning for the actual marriage, which is meant to last the rest of your life? As you would with any long-term commitment, marriage is something that you should plan for. So before you take the plunge, take the time to consider some things that could have an effect on your level of happiness. Marriage wreckers will always be present…temptation, greed, etc. check out http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/personal/06/25/h.keep.marriage.healthy/ to find out how to deal with the inevitable. BUT FIRST CHECK OUT THIS LIST WHICH WILL CERTAINLY ENLIGHTEN!
- Are you ready to get married? During their teens and 20’s, people change considerably. Until a person has matured as an individual, it is difficult to know if a relationship that worked for them in their younger years will still be working for them years later. Have you experienced everything you wanted to as a single person?
- Finances — Do you have enough money to get married? Getting married can be expensive. Once you are married, how will you spend your money? Discussing money issues ahead of time, (spending habits and where you each feel your money should go), can prevent disagreements later. Discuss how you and your partner feel about buying, saving, and sharing bank accounts. How will the bills be split up? Will a prenuptial agreement be necessary?
- How alike are you? Where do you stand on important issues such as religion and having children? Do you both agree on what a “good relationship” looks like? Do your personalities clash or are you in-sync? While some people prefer that their mate to be very similar to them, others feel that differences “spice up” the relationship. What are your expectations from marriage? What are your partner’s? Do you think you are able to give your partner what he/she needs?
Personal needs and beliefs — What do you need to make a relationship work? What are your views on important issues such as loyalty, honesty, and dealing with anger? How do your views fit with your partner’s? What behaviors are considered to be “off-limits”? Communicate these with your partner.
- Communication skills — How do you plan to communicate with your partner? Do you know how to fight fairly? There will be things you disagree on — how will you handle this? Set ground rules for communication, making sure to discuss specific issues such as arguing, yelling, and name-calling. Are you able to resolve issues to reach a compromise?
- Life outside of marriage — Having a life outside of your partner is vital, and it is important to maintain your identity rather than to lose yourself in your mate. Discuss how much time you will set aside to spend time with friends, or on hobbies. Are there certain activities that are expected to be discontinued or changed once you begin your married life? I know one thing—If you were fit –Stay fit! http://www.cnn.com/2011/09/20/living/healthy-marriage/index.html will let you know how to sustain a healthy marriage.
- Do you want to have children? If so, how many? How do you plan to discipline them, raise them, and care for them? How would you handle issues such as infertility and adoption should they come up? Having children brings changes into your relationship and you will have less time to focus on the two of you. It’s important not to lose yourself in your new roles as parents, and to find a way to maintain the partnership you have created.
- Employment — What are your long-term career goals? Will you have to travel or relocate for your job? Do you spend long hours at the office? Do your work schedules allow enough time for you to spend together? What kind of effect will your job have on your family life? If you have children, will someone quit their job to take care of them?
- Sex — Being unsatisfied with your sex life can cause problems in your relationship. Discuss your expectations with your partner, and find out what he/she expects from you in return. How often will you make love? Are there fetishes you should know about?
- Daily life — Who will be responsible for daily activities such as household chores and paying the bills? How will these responsibilities be handled if life’s circumstances change — for example, when children are born or work hours are changed?
- How committed are you to the relationship? When your relationship goes through changes (which it will), are you willing to take the necessary steps to deal with the changes? Are you open to counseling if you find your relationship is in trouble, or are you more likely to give up?
- Personal space — Are there times when you need to be left alone? Talked to? Listened to? Comforted? Communicate these needs clearly to your partner.
- How to keep your marriage exciting — How will you find ways to keep your relationship satisfying? When do you plan to dedicate time to your relationship and how do you plan to do so? What is your idea of time together — spending time with a group of friends, watching sports on TV, a private candlelit dinner, a walk in the park? Can you make a regular “date night” a priority?
- Family/friends — Do you get along with the people who are important in your partner’s life? If not, will it cause problems in your relationship?
- Remarrying/Blending families — If you or your partner has been married before, you may have additional issues to discuss. If there are children involved, what will your role with them be? What do you expect your partner’s role to be? Discuss what the relationships are with your ex-partners, and what you expect your spouse’s relationship to be with those people.
Why get married, anyway?
Take some time to consider why you want to get married in the first place. Many people get married thinking that they can change the other person. Although people can change, certain behaviors may be difficult to change. Looking at how you have acted in past relationships and with family members can be a telltale sign as to which behaviors you may carry with you into new relationships. The need to recognize what you contributed to the failure of your previous relationships is essential in order to prevent committing the same mistakes again.
Getting married will not fix problems within a relationship. Do you want to get married to get away from your family? Are you doing it for money? Stability? An unplanned pregnancy? Before you “tie the knot”, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. Remember —some marry because they are in love; others marry because they need help —if this is the case RUN!!!
Love changes everything…
Marriage is not a fairy tale. The love you share with your mate will change over time. What you need out of your relationship will change over time. The excitement will eventually wear off. Your patience and devotion will be tested. Marriage requires you to give of yourself, to make sacrifices, and to admit when you are wrong. It requires you to forgive when you really don’t want to, and to keep on trying no matter how hard you want to give up. It takes dedication, commitment, honesty, and effort to make a marriage last.
Unfortunately, sometimes it is time to just let a situation go. While I believe that all efforts to sustain a marriage must be made, I certainly do not believe that you should stay no matter what. If you find yourself trying all the time to make things better, it may be time to rethink whether the union has… simply… become unhealthy. After all, you deserve to be happy. We all do.
My book, Divorce Without Drama, A Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Divorce was written as I anticipated my own life circumstances. In the event you are contemplating leaving your marriage, I seriously urge to check out my book because it will ease your anxieties and show you a path to your greatest happiness!
Please comment if you think I missed something or if you just want to share your experience. I respond to all comments!
As always, live your best life!