Whether you’re engaged to be married or you’re thinking of taking your relationship to the next step, you might find yourself wondering “How do I know if this person is the one and how can I know the marriage will last?” Marriage is a big commitment, and even couples who have known each other for many years can still end up getting divorced. So before you rush about organising wedding invitations and looking at venues, here are some questions to ask yourself before you say “I do”.
It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people say they had doubts before getting married. It’s normal to have some nerves about tying the knot but if you have major doubts about that person, then it’s probably best to back out now before it’s too late. It doesn’t matter how many people have RSVP’d to the wedding or bought plane tickets – if you’re having a panic attack about marrying the wrong person then call it off. If there are problems before the marriage, it’s not going to change afterwards.
It’s easy to caught up in the excitement of planning a wedding. Many women dream of wearing a big white dress and walking down the aisle. However, it’s easy to lose sight of the actual reason why you’re having a wedding, which is the union of two people who love each other. The question to ask yourself is, “Would I still marry this man if we had no money and it was just a quiet ceremony with just the two of us?” If the answer is yes, then go ahead. However, if you’re just doing it because you’ve always wanted a lavish wedding day and a designer dress then perhaps it’s time to give things a rethink.
Physical attraction and love may be there, but you have to ask yourself: are we compatible in the long term? It’s important to think about whether you’re compatible in all aspects of your relationship. For example, are you compatible sexually? Do you have similar values or interests? For instance, my mother always told me that she had very little in common with my father. She loves the beach and is a complete sun worshipper, but he hated the sun and wouldn’t go near a beach. He was focused on money and material possessions, she wasn’t. He was messy, she was extremely tidy. All the red flags were there, but she went ahead with marriage because he proposed and all her friends were getting married. Not surprisingly, they ended up divorced. You don’t have to have exactly the same hobbies, but you do need to have the same values and provide a balance for each other.
All couples have disagreements sometimes and it’s completely normal to argue, but it’s more about how you communicate that matters. If you’re a well-suited match then you should be able to communicate with each other and resolve disagreements by listening to each other and talking things through. If you constantly fear talking to your partner about a particular topic because you fear their reaction, then you’re not communicating at all. And if you find yourselves criticising each other without listening and trying to understand, this is a warning sign that perhaps you are not meant to make it all the way to the altar.
The best married couples are ones who see each other as teammates. Marriage is more than just loving each other, it’s about knowing you’ll be able to get through anything – both good times and bad. There are going to be times in your life where things are difficult, so you’ll need to know that you can both work together. Often you’ll hear people say that they married their best friend, and that’s really what you should be. You shouldn’t be in opposition to each other – instead you should work in harmony alongside each other.
Victoria Brewood is author of Dating and Other Stories – a dating blog offering real-world relationship advice for both men and women. The site shows you how to improve yourself so you can attract the partner you want.