Expect the unexpected when getting to "I do."
Marriage isn't for everyone. However, if you're thinking that it might be for you, it's good to understand the risks involved.
Marriage is a business (and if you don't think it's a business, try getting a divorce.)
Everything worth doing has some risk involved. Here are three marriage risks you might not have thought of if you're thinking about getting married.
1. You're going to grow.
Everyone talks about wanting to grow but here's the thing: We can't grow alone; we have to be reflected.
We like entertaining the idea of getting married to someone. It will bring out the best and the worst in you.
The best in you will cause you to stretch and take on the cares and feelings of another person. The worst in you will resent these same cares and feelings and find it to be an invasion of your self-interest.
Growth is painful, but you don't get there by standing on the sidelines. The mere act of entertaining the idea of marrying someone is an instant catalyst for change.
2. You'll find yourself.
You'd think marriage is about finally finding the right person. While some of that's obviously true, it's really about finding yourself.
The good news is that you find yourself, and the bad news is that you find yourself. You find out all the areas where you're magnanimous and kind. Then, you find out all the areas where you're selfish and self-centered.
You get to do this with an ever-ready mirror: your partner. We're never quite who we think we are until we get to know someone. If you want to find yourself, look into someone else's eyes.
3. You'll serve others.
When you first meet someone, it's exciting to know you're finally going to be loved.
However, you probably haven't thought that you're about to serve others. This, of course, is especially true if you're contemplating having children.
The good news is serving others is the key to success and happiness. Once you develop this mindset, life takes on purpose and meaning. They say that service is its own reward and you're about to find out exactly what that means.
With all the upside you may be tempted to overlook the risks: Always remember that marriage is a business. Don't sign any legal documents until you've known someone for at least a year. While there are no guarantees, choose someone whose character you believe in.
With that in mind be prepared to grow, to find yourself, and to serve others. It's well worth the risk and without risk, there is no reward.
James Allen Hanrahan is a highly sought after dating and relationship coach for SMART women based in Los Angeles. Get his FREE Chemistry to Commitment formula for lasting love. If you're a smart woman struggling to achieve relationship success, check out the treasure trove of information in A Life of Love.
This article was originally published at jamesallenhanrahan.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.