Forget about love being in the air, weddings are in the air! Which for me, means a LOT of talk among my beautiful clients about wanting to get married. And I get it. As a newlywed myself, being married is dreamy… but only if you marry the right guy for the right reasons. After all, we all know at least one unhappy married couple filled with regret, right? And although it seems sort of textbook 101, it happens every weekend—women (and men) say "I do" when they are thinking gutturally, "I'm not sure."
Whatever you do, don't believe the hype in starter marriages. Playing house doesn't provide a good dress rehearsal. And, despite how celebs make it how to be, you don't typically get a big payout from a first marriage. In fact, starter marriages take a huge toll on you emotionally, and an irreversible physical toll too (email me if you want to know more about that—its too clinical and depressing for this post—lol). Bottom line: if you are getting married for the sake of getting married, are bored in Vegas, need a green card to stay state side, or are thinking of saying "I do" for any of the other reasons below, don't.
1) Tick-tock, biological clock!
The baby machine in you could be overheating, I get it, but there are lots of wonderful ways to fulfill the dream of having a baby, without a husband. Sure, having one would make things easier and perhaps in your mind more ideal… but trust me, having the wrong father for your child not only disservices you, it disservices your future child. And you are not that selfish.
2) You hit your magic number.
Whether your number is 25 or 35, you hit it or are years passed it, you need to erase the concept of it altogether from your mind. Commitment isn't about a timeline, it is about an experience line. Marry when you are ready and have found the right person who is also ready for the big responsibility of marriage, regardless of how old you are, or think you are supposed to be.
3) You found your dream dress.
Even if on a whim one day at a bridal sample sale you bought your fairytale dress and stored it away in the attic, that is no reason to rush marriage. If you properly store it, that dress isn't going anywhere and when you do finally slip it on, it will look even better than the day you bought it since you will be wearing the most important thing of all along with it, true love, inside and out.
4) Your current BF is the best guy you've dated so far.
The as good as it gets syndrome usually perks up at the time when you are nearing your magic number... this is settling in its truest form. Don't do it. A better fit for you exists, so drench yourself in self-love and go find that better puzzle piece.
5) Financial security... or health insurance.
If you marry a man for money, his health insurance plan, etc, consider the fact that these things could evaporate at a moment's notice. There are no guarantees that bank accounts will stay filled, that jobs will stay secure. A marriage built on financial dependency, materialism, lust or any other non-solid foundation is like building a house on sand. When the wind blows, which it will, your marriage will crumble.
6) Marriage will fix what is broken in your relationship.
There is a misconception that being married solidifies a broken relationship. It doesn't. It can actually emphasize what is wrong and dredge up more problems in the partnership. Before you go into a life-long commitment, it is essential to iron out your issues.
7) You want to check marriage off your list.
You've nailed the fab career, got the great apartment, no one can mess with your killer style, you adore your friends, etc. So what's left other than adding a new last name? Unless you want to add divorce to your life list, be weary of marrying just to be done with it.
8) Your parents are pressuring you.
If you've got one of those parents who is a constant bug in your ear nagging you to hurry up and get married, you need to find a way to silence the noise. After all, you can be certain the voice will be even louder if you are miserably married or find yourself unraveling your marriage into divorce soon after you've spent their retirement stash on a big wedding.
9) Because he asked.
It is hard to reject a big, sparkly rock, but just because a man asks for your hand in marriage, doesn’t mean you should give it to him. Remember, with your hand, comes your heart and all of the rest of you. He won’t be the only one to ask, trust me.
10) To have a fairytale wedding.
If you've dreamed of your wedding day since you were three years old watching princess movies, keep dreaming until the guy at the end of the aisle is all that you imagined the prince to be. Just think, the more time that lapses, the more imaginative you can be, and the more cash you can put towards it! (If you are on the fence with this one, just ask yourself: would you marry your man at a courthouse with no wedding hoopla?)
11) You are having his baby.
A bump in your belly doesn't require a marriage. Sure if you love your baby daddy and foresaw yourself marrying him prior to the knock up, by all means, but don't let your hormone increase get the best of you and make you feel as if you need to marry him because it is the "right thing to do". A child needs a loving, stable home and if you and your child's father can't provide that, there are better, more creative arrangements that can be made. That is the right thing to do.
12) You can't bear being single one more day.
Another sign of settling is the idea that it would be better to get married to a willing party than fighting the good fight of dating. If this is you, you definitely need some reprogramming about love and dating. It is certainly better to be single and searching than settling and miserable—trust me, in a relationship like that, you will still be alone... alone and trapped.
13) You are crazy in love and have never been in one fight!
Butterflies, hearts, fairies unicorns and every other picture of love surrounds you when you think of this Mr. Wonderful! In fact, he's perfect! Not to sound cynical, but my guess is, you either have known each other for 90 days or less, or someone is hiding something. Before getting married, it is critical that the marriage undergo tests to challenge its strength.
14) Everyone else is doing it.
Just like your parents used to ask, "If everyone else was jumping off a cliff, would you?" Of course not. Although your destination, marriage, is the same as your friend's, accept that your path there is unique. Just because yours winds a little longer doesn't make it any less beautiful. Better to be the last one standing, than the first one to fall, right?
You owe it to yourself to get married for healthy reasons... so that when you do your marriage will thrive and offer you all the greatness that it can give. Take your sweet time, dance in exploration, soak up the learnings of like and love, commit to not settling and when you arrive at the aisle the right way with the right partner by your side, you won’t want to walk down the aisle, you’ll want to run... towards all the dreamy goodness you’ve waited and prepared for.
Here's to making wonderful choices... for wonderful you!
Live and love largely,