It’s been more than two years since I got married. I was 25 years old, and there couldn’t have been a more perfect timing. Although it wasn’t always easy, I am thankful for all the lessons I have learned along the way.
. . .
A Bit of Back Story
Recently, I received a message from a close friend of mine in the middle of the night. Completely out of the blue, she asked me, “Did you ever feel like you needed alone time before getting married?”
Perhaps it was a question lingering in her mind since she planned on getting married to her long-term boyfriend after the pandemic is over. Her question struck me. It got me thinking.
Just to keep things clear, alone time may refer to more space in the relationship, a small break in the relationship, or spending more time by yourself in the relationship.
I quickly replied telling her I didn’t need any alone time. I felt like it was important for me to always remain true to myself before and after marriage, and not let any label change that.
Also, I thought alone time might only be required in a relationship that is somehow suffocating. Correct me if I’m wrong, but just because you are in a relationship, it doesn’t mean you’ve lost your independence.
. . .
10 Signs you are Ready for Marriage
For some, the term “married” can be just a security blanket, an endearing way to officialize the usually long-term relationship. While for others, it is a rather formal requirement that is necessary to accomplish due to cultural or religious reasons.
Whichever category you may fall in, pondering over the decision to get married is not something to worry about. You’re not alone, and hopefully, the following list can enlighten the matter further for you.
Here are 10 signs that prove you are ready for marriage:
#1. You love yourself.
You probably heard of this before. You can truly give selfless love, free of insecurities, once you truly love yourself. Find it cliché? Maybe.
Emphasizing on self-love before getting into a marriage is so crucial. When you love yourself, you have set standards that no one can undermine. You respect yourself enough to not tolerate being disrespected by others, or worse, even abused in a relationship.
Marriage comes with its own set of stressors. It tests your resilience and patience. If you don’t love yourself enough, it is easy to feel lost in times of struggle. There is great comfort in knowing you love yourself enough to remain brave throughout and conquer the best in your marriage.
. . .
#2. You are financially stable.
There are great perks that come with moving in or getting married to your partner. More income enters the household and cheaper rent.
It is important to be financially stable before getting married so that you don’t see your marriage as a loophole to getting rich. Or vice versa.
In a realistic setting, one partner probably makes more than the other. That shouldn’t change a thing.
Besides the wedding, the beginning of any marriage usually comes with a high cost — a place, furniture, kitchen equipment, and the list goes on.
There is no need to go above and beyond your expenses. Feel free to discuss these costs with your partner beforehand and set budgets to avoid disappointment. It is better to have shared responsibility than to face debts so early on.
While it’s sweet to gift each other thoughtful presents when married. It is a whole other thing to expect lavish presents from your partner just because you know their income. If you are dreaming of a car, earn it yourself. Don’t rely on someone else to get it for you. In brutal honesty, it’s utterly childish.
Being financially stable before marriage sets you off to a great start and lowers the probability of financial disagreements between you and your partner.
. . .
#3. You are your own person.
When you are your own person, you have your own interests, hobbies, friends, and family.
You don’t rely on your partner for your own happiness. Doesn’t it sound like too much pressure to put on someone to keep you happy 24/7?
You need to be comfortable in your own skin and have connected with yourself on a more spiritual level. You know how to handle stress, fear, big decisions, and are resilient to whatever life throws at you.
Of course, you can be happy together, but being your own person means that you don’t depend on the love of your life for your emotional stability.
When you get into long term relationships, start dating from a young age, or simply have your relationship as your number one priority — in some cases, one finds themselves fully engrossed in their partner, and have lost sense of their own being.
Just the same as you would give all your effort and love to get to know your partner, get to know yourself too. That way, your spirits are always lifted, and no one can tell you otherwise.
. . .
#4. You truly love your partner.
You love your partner for all that they are. For not only the partner that they are to you, but for the brother/sister, the son/daughter, the friend, the colleague or boss — for the human being that they are.
You didn’t build up their personality, or think when you get married, he/she will “change”.
You can have an idea of a person’s character by observing the way he/she treats everyone around. Are they kind? Or are you just ignoring red flags because he/she treats you in a “special way”?
Don’t fall for an illusion or set false expectations. Face the reality and ask yourself whether you love your partner wholeheartedly and is willing to spend the rest of your life with your partner — for everything that they are.
. . .
#5. Your values are aligned with your partner.
Having aligned values will only make both your lives easier in the near future.
You must be comfortable to discuss seemingly taboo topics such as sex, religion, and finance. If your values on crucial topics clash, it’s certainly going to bring up greater stress to a marriage.
Sharing the same values protects your relationship from an unsightly clash, disappointment, or any resentment. Values define us as people. It isn’t something that changes overnight. Values show what we place significance to.
. . .
#6. You feel like your truest self around your partner.
Have you ever had a friend who was the life of the party, but all of a sudden, is extremely boring when their partner is around?
It’s a shame to hide what makes you really you to your partner.
Now you may be thinking, “what if I just wanted to please the love of my life?”. Of course, you can do that all you want! However, what I am trying to say is, there’s a clear distinction between being a hypocrite and being a charmer.
If you are already on the road to marriage, you should have already addressed tricky topics that can test your values and shake the stability of your relationships.
It’s pathetic to witness someone hide their truest selves in fear that their partner wouldn’t accept/love them for who they really are. If he/she doesn’t, there’s always someone who will. Marriage is a long-term commitment; nobody deserves to secretly suffer in silence and suppress certain aspects of themselves to make their better half happy. It’s not genuine in any way.
. . .
#7. You’ve experienced conflicts together.
…And know how to deal with them.
Anyone married for more than 2 years can tell you it’s not always going to be lovey-dovey, and that’s ok — it’s part of the growth process in any relationship.
According to a study from the Journal of Family Psychology, three main dimensions stand out from examining forgiveness in married couple’s association with better conflict resolution. Retaliation, benevolence, and avoidance. Couples who engaged in benevolence resulted in better conflict resolution. This suggests that marital conflict can best achieve forgiveness through kindness and compassion.
For inexperienced couples who may still be enjoying the honeymoon phase, facing and handling conflict is essential in greater marital satisfaction.
Just because a couple gets into a disagreement, it doesn’t mean they’ve fallen out of love or any other drastic conclusion. Conflicts can help deepen your understanding of each other, while also improving your character in the process as you learn to become more patient and kinder towards your partner.
Remembering to still remain loving towards your partner during heated moments can go a long way in terms of dealing with marital conflict.
. . .
#8. You are inspired to reach greater lengths.
It’s easy to feel like once you’ve nailed a partner, you can now relax. You’ve done it — you’ve scored. What an achievement!
But is it really? Isn’t falling in love and getting married a natural process? Many people have successfully done it. What makes you any different?
When you’ve reached a certain level of maturity, or better yet, let your ego down — you realize life goes on. Everything that you do while you’re single still applies when you are in a long-term relationship or married. Dishes still need to be cleaned, and eating a healthy diet is still recommended by any medical practitioner.
Feeling inspired to reach greater lengths derives from an inner calling. You understand that just because you have found true love, it doesn’t justify the need to neglect other things in your life — your purpose, your job, your mental and physical health, your dreams. These things stay with you whether in single or not. Don’t let any relationship make you forget your ability to aim higher and continue to become a better versions of yourself.
. . .
#9. You recognize effort, effort, and effort.
In any relationship — it takes two to tango. It is pitiful to read posts about falling out of love. Or couples complaining that he or she isn’t the same person they fell in love with. As if one day, the “spark” suddenly vanishes. But how does that even happen?
If two people make a conscious and prioritized effort to devote time to each other every day, commit to quality time, and portray acts of love — then the chances of falling out of love can be significantly decreased.
In marriages, two people have committed to everlasting love. To take care of each other for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and health. It may sound cheesy to many — but this isn’t something that should be reminded on a wedding anniversary or a birthday. Every day should be celebrated with acts of love between a couple. While watching television after work can seem like a relaxing time, it doesn’t always qualify as quality time. If it’s all too easy — then it’s just not enough effort.
. . .
#10. You don’t believe in happily-ever-afters.
This may come to some of you as a surprise. Marriage isn’t a magical solution to a relationship, and it’s certainly not a legal contract to sign as a matter of convenience! If anything, many happy couples are together even without ever getting married.
However, if you are one of the many who choose to get married, learn to lower your expectations. Many married couples can say nothing drastic changes after marriage, especially if a couple have known each other for a while. Except maybe, for shared living conditions, but that topic comes a whole set of issues that’s up for another day of discussion. Yes, I prefer the toilet seat down, please.
More importantly, just like the dating life, marriage requires constant commitment and compromise. Not to be a pessimist here but grounding yourself to match the realities of marriage can save you from a false actuality of a fairytale ever after.
Just to be clear, a marriage can be a happy marriage, especially if you have already set up a strong and transparent foundation in your relationship before sealing the deal.
“So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s going to be really hard; we’re gonna have to work at this everyday, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, everyday. You and me… everyday.” — Nicholas Sparks, author of The Notebook
. . .
With all things considered, the decision to get married can be an easy one to make but should not be taken lightly.
Genuine responsibilities will be required of you, and compromises will need to be made sometime along the way. Just keep in mind that while it may not always be straightforward — a life full of love, especially if shared with your significant other is always worthwhile.
This post was previously published on Hello, Love.
If you believe in the work we are doing here at The Good Men Project and want a deeper connection with our community, please join us as a Premium Member today.
Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS. Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.
Photo credit: Unsplash