Being prepared for your wedding does not mean you’re prepared for marriage. Though getting engaged and planning a wedding is an exciting time for many couples, questions of true marital preparation are often overlooked.
It can be difficult to ask yourself hard questions about your relationship during such a happy time. However, knowing whether you’re truly prepared for marriage can save you years of heartache down the road.
Let’s look at a few indications that you’re both ready to get married and start your happily-ever-after.
1. You have a long-standing healthy relationship with yourself
If you’re well-rounded and secure in who you are, you’re more likely to forge a healthy and happy relationship with another secure individual. But if you’re letting loneliness, desperation, or fear of missing out fuel your desire to get married, it’s time to hit the brakes.
Loneliness isn’t a good motivator for marriage. While it’s human nature to long for the intimacy of a romantic relationship, you shouldn’t allow yourself to be driven by the feeling of deprivation. It’s far better to wait for the right person–while nurturing yourself–than to marry the wrong person just so you won’t be alone.
2. You have plenty of distance from past relationships
Do you and your fiance each have adequate distance from past relationships? If either of you is “on the rebound”, then you might want to pause and evaluate your reasons for getting married.
If rebounding is fueling your desire to get married, it’s possible you’re taking this step in response to what happened with your ex. Even if you don’t think this is the case, it’s worth giving it some thought.
3. You’re not trying to escape family circumstances
Many young people get married to escape difficult family circumstances. Others get married as an act of rebellion against their families, for a myriad of reasons. However, marriage isn’t a good solution for escaping a problematic home life.
Many marriages that are established on the basis of escape turn out to be unhappy. Essentially, the individuals in the marriage haven’t learned how to build and maintain healthy relationships–likely because they survived in an environment that was unhealthy before.
Oftentimes, we find that individuals who escape one unhealthy relationship for another continue the pattern, even moving from one marriage to another. If you find yourself wishing for marriage to escape your family, you need to take some time to consider how strongly that urge factors into your engagement.
4. You are not acting out of obligation
Some couples go through with getting married because they’ve been together for so long and one or both individuals feel too guilty to break up. Alternatively, other couples might feel that because they’ve been sexually active outside of marriage, they are now obligated to go through with the wedding.
Your decision to get married should be free of obligation and guilt. If you evaluate your motivations and find that these feelings factor in, it’s time to think carefully about your next steps.
5. You’re not acting on outside pressure or expectations
It’s not unusual for dating or engaged couples to feel highly sensitive to the expectations of their loved ones. If you and your fiance have been together for years, your families or church communities might expect you to go through with your marriage.
The problem comes in when one or both of you start doubting your engagement. You might feel as though you can’t put your plans on hold–after all, you might disappoint the people who are so looking forward to your wedding. But if you feel doubtful, you need to put everyone else’s opinions on the back burner while the two of you sort out what’s really best for you.
The one factor that’s most important to a happy marriage
For a marriage to stand the test of time, it must be based on shared companionship. When you marry, you make a covenant to be there for one another, through good times and bad. While companionship isn’t the only important component of a good marriage, we believe it’s the most critical.
It’s important to remember that it’s okay to change your mind, and it’s okay to reevaluate the reasons behind your relationship and your desire to get married. If you dig deep and realize that you’re motivated by factors such as loneliness, rebounding, escape, obligation, or outside pressure, it’s okay to postpone your plans and give yourselves some time.
If you want to take a deeper dive into your marital readiness, take a look at our book, Getting Ready for the Wedding: All You Need to Know Before You Say I Do. Chapter one features a Marital Readiness Questionnaire that can help you both discern whether you’re truly ready to make this all-important, lifelong commitment.
Are you ready to get married? Why or why not? Married persons: share how you knew you were ready! We’d love to hear from you in the comments section.