Are You Ready For Marriage, Or Are You Rushing Into It?

bride walks down aisle
Contributor
Love, Self

When I was a little girl I remember watching all the Disney Princess movies (You know the ones: Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Snow White, Aladdin… there seemed to be an endless supply), and I loved everything about those fairy tale stories—the handsome prince, the white dress, the cake, the pumpkin stagecoach, and the big castle to live happily ever after in—I always pictured my future playing out just like my favorite princesses. Doesn't every girl?

We all know the saying "first comes love, then comes marriage," and when you feel you've found your perfect match, you start to picture yourself eventually settling down. You see the future, you see building a strong and wonderful married life together, and even creating a family. You start imagining fairy tales and castles and Cinderella dresses... How Disney Messed Up Your Romance

But you know what? It's not that simple. I wish it were. There's a lot more to marriage than just the love you feel for one another. The Beatles' might have said, "All you need is love," but real life doesn't work that way. Ever. Marriage requires effort. 

Before you start calling up wedding coordinators and venues, before you start looking for a dress and picking out a cake, put away your emotions long enough to ask yourself a few questions.
 
What makes this person The One? 

Out of all the relationships you've been in, what makes this person the one for you?  Answering this question is crucial to prevent yourself from entering a marriage for all the wrong reasons. Never pressure yourself with the idea that you may never have another opportunity to get married.  There's always time. Your wedding is just one day while your marriage is for a lifetime. Why The Concept Of 'The One' Is Idealistic, Rom-Com BS

When I met my husband's family for the first time I saw first hand how he treated his sisters. His sisters are 13 and 20 years younger than he is, and when I saw them together, I knew he'd be a great father. Among his other great qualities, that's what sealed the deal for me.  

Do you share the same values?

Issues about careers, finances, raising children, discipline, sex, spending, religion, and values are the most important subjects that need to be addressed before you even think about engagement rings. If you can't plan for and effectively discuss these topics with your partner, you won't be able to merge your two lives together with any amount of success. If you don't feel comfortable bringing them up, then you're not ready to say, "I do." Chemistry, Values and Other Things… How Do I Know He Is the One?

When my husband and I started dating we talked about our personal values and beliefs. We found we shared more in common than either one of us thought. Coming from similar family backgrounds, we found it easy to envision a future together, and another way that made merging our lives together almost effortless.  

Are you ready to take on the role of husband/wife? 

Being a spouse is different than being a boyfriend, girlfriend or even fiancé. Because this husband or wife label is for real. It's for life. It requires more responsibilities and a lot more attention. Marriage may not be a job, but it is hard work. Like I said earlier, marriage requires effort. When you get married, you share everything.  This is essential if you want to have a trusting and open marriage. The "what's mine is yours, and what's yours is mine" rule goes into effect when you get married, and that includes everything:  Money, bills, rent or mortgage, credit card debt, and even school loans. You're adopting your spouse's… everything. You have to be prepared for that. 3 Unfair Things About My Husband
  
Do you have a financial plan? 

Take it from me, never lie about a purchase to your spouse. Hello, online and mobile banking and joint checking accounts! They can be your best friend, or your worst enemy. Well, maybe just money in general can, since it is one of the subjects married couples fight about most. 

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Get to know what kind of person your spouse is in terms of how he handles money. Of course, you want to make sure he is financially responsible, but you also want to share how you both spend, save and plan for the future. Set some ground rules before getting hitched. My husband and I were upfront with each other from the beginning about our finances, spending habits, and personal debt. Every couple is different, but my husband and I decided that joint checking accounts were best for us. Only you and your partner will know what works for the two of you. But you should talk about before marriage. 10 Habits Of Financially Healthy Couples  

If you are confused on any of these questions, cannot find an answer, or don't feel like you can ask your S.O.—then, friend, don't get married until you can get the answers you need to make an informed decision about your future and future spouse. If you have to talk yourself into marriage, you're definitely not ready. You should never involve yourself in a marriage until you decide you are truly ready for it.  

Infatuation can look a lot like love. But the difference is this: Love has patience, while infatuation has a sense of urgency. And when that urgency fades away, you realize you were wrong. That's why you need to be sure you're dealing with the real thing before you tie the knot. Marriage is 'til death. The divorce rate is high, but if you go into the wedding prepared, with the mutual thinking that splitting up is not an option, your chances of a great, forever bond will go way up. How I Fell Madly, Head-Over-Heels In Lust With ... My Husband

If you want a marriage that will be happy, healthy and lating, be sure that you and your partner are without-a-shadow-of-a-doubt ready for the full-time commitment. Weddings can wait. But once your married, there's no slowing down or stopping. You'd better be prepared.