Love

The #1 Sign You’re Ready For Marriage (It's Not What You Think)

Photo: Luan Nunes, Bmywuk | Canva 
Woman Happy thinking of marriage

If you’ve been with your partner for a year or more, I am sure at some point you’ve considered the "m-word." So how do you know when you’re ready?   In my experience working with couples, the #1 sign that you’re ready for marriage is pretty simple: You each have the desire to grow — as individuals and as a couple. Put another way, you actively seek out ways that you can continuously be more epic for each other.

If this is you, then you have the right mindset for marriage. But let me clarify here. This mindset prepares you for a certain kind of marriage — a partnership marriage. This means that you’re ready to form a union as two free and equal individuals, based on a commitment to support one another’s growth on all levels. This type of marriage is different from what I call "romantic marriages."

RELATED: 8 Ways To Tell If You Are Ready For Marriage

In romantic marriages, couples marry because they are looking for personal happiness. They fall in love with each other because their needs for connection, fulfillment, and romance are so easily met by this other person — especially in the early stage of the relationship. On the surface, everything seems great. Unfortunately, most of these couples stall out once they realize that it's not so easy to meet each other's needs all the time

   

   

Most never learned how to identify their own needs and ask for what they want, let alone learn how to ask and fulfill the needs of their partner. In a romantic marriage, each individual assumes that his/her partner "automatically" knows what the other needs. When those needs are not met, they fight. When fights escalate and become more frequent, couples break up. It’s a pretty standard formula. This view of marriage, albeit simplified, is the #1 reason for today’s divorce rate. It climbed rapidly to 50 percent in the 1970s and has remained relatively stable until the present day.

RELATED: 5 Healthy Expectations Within Marriage, According To A Relationship Therapist

In a partnership marriage, on the other hand, individuals do not assume that their partner is a mind reader. They ask about each other’s needs regularly. They seek feedback from each other in genuinely curious and compassionate ways. So... which type of marriage do you want? A romantic marriage or a partnership marriage?

I'm going to assume that since you're reading this article, you want a partnership marriage. To that end, I want to share with you an extremely useful skill to get you going in the right direction. Who knows? It may even save you a trip to Divorce Town. Based on insights from the science of relationships, we know that there are certain universal needs in partnership. They include:

The #1 Sign You’re Ready For Marriage (It's Not What You Think)Photo: Jonathan Borba/Pexels

RELATED: If Your Love Passes These 9 Tests, You’re Ready For Marriage

  • being appreciated
  • feeling emotionally connected
  • being intimately fulfilled
  • finding support for career/life dreams
  • establishing financial security
  • seeking fun and pleasure
  • being intellectually stimulated
  • creating domestic comfort
  • finding deeper spiritual meaning in life

Sounds pretty great, right? Who wouldn’t want these things in a partnership? Now I know that asking about needs is not something that comes naturally to most people. That’s why I created the "Couple’s Report Card." It’s a fun and easy way to take the pulse of your relationship to see how well you are meeting each other’s needs. This is a fascinating date night activity and a fun way to build a core skill for lifelong love in a partnership marriage. Even if you've been married for years and years, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the conversations this activity will generate for you and your partner.

RELATED: 5 Uncomfortable Truths About Marriage That Are Often Misunderstood As 'Problems'

Dr. Shannon Hall is a sociologist and positive psychology coach, and her mission is to help her clients create the best possible life together.