“Happy is the man who finds a true friend, and far happier is he who finds that true friend in his wife.” ~Franz Schubert
I don’t care what anyone says, marriage isn’t always a freaking cakewalk. The fact is that when you live with someone day in and day out, and you have children and a home and a bank account together – sometimes, the fire can grow a little dim, if you know what I mean.
So you’ve to find someone with whom you can be friends as well as lovers.
Getting married is serious business in general.
How many times have I heard people say, “It’s so easy to get married – they should make it harder. I would’ve thought about it more,” while they’re going through a divorce? Too many, my friend.
While most poor decisions are easy to recover from, a bad marriage is a much more serious matter. The potential emotional and financial impact of divorce can give the bravest of souls reason to pause – and that might be the understatement of the century. Give this major decision the consideration it deserves before you take the plunge.
So if you want to increase your odds having of a successful marriage by being honest with yourself and answering the following questions.
1. What makes this person different from everyone else? You’ve probably dated several people in your life before this person. How does this person stand out from everyone that came along before?
2. How will your long-term goals be affected? Do you dream of wandering around Europe and focusing on your art? If so, marrying someone that dreams of staying at home in the Midwest and having six children probably isn’t a good match. Compromise is a part of any relationship, but you’ll be resentful if forced to completely give up your dreams.
- Make a list of the most important things you want to experience and accomplish in your lifetime. Is your partner a benefit or a hindrance to achieving these things?
- What’s most important to your future spouse? Will you be a help or an obstacle?
3. How emotionally healthy is my potential spouse? The less emotionally healthy someone is, the more challenging they are to be around. Life is difficult for the sanest of us. Those with emotional issues find life even more so. Dating a “fixer-upper” is one thing. Marrying one is something else entirely.
4. How well do we resolve conflict? It’s no secret that constructive communication is key. Yelling, avoiding and pouting don’t normally result in effective conflict resolution. There will be conflict. It’s important that you can find resolution calmly and kindly.
- The good news is that effective communication is a skill that you both can learn if you have the desire.
5. How similar are our attitudes regarding religion, money, and childrearing? These items are often the sticking points for many couples. Disagreements over financial issues are one of the most common causes of divorces. Can you deal with the way your potential spouse handles money? Can they be accepting of your financial habits?
- How many children do you want to have? How about your partner? How do each of you feel about spanking?
6. Would I be satisfied if my partner didn’t change at all? You already know your partner isn’t perfect. Expect that situation to remain in effect for their lifetime. Avoid going into a marriage believing that you can change them for the better.
- He won’t suddenly become more patient or ambitious. She won’t become less moody or spend less money on shoes.
- Expect that what you have is as good as it’s going to get. Avoid expecting miracles.
7. Are you getting married for the right reasons? Are you just lonely, or do you really want to spend the rest of your life with this person? Do you feel that you’re settling because you can’t find someone “better”? Are you afraid of being alone? Ensure you want to get married because you love your partner.
8. Do you bring out the best in each other? Does your partner bring out the best in you or the worst? Is your partner better for spending time with you? Ideally, you’ll both be the best possible versions of yourselves. Some people bring our worst qualities to the surface. Reflect on your life together to answer this question.
Many couples get engaged because of the intense emotions they’re experiencing. That intensity won’t last, and you’re left with a serious dose of reality. Do all that you can to ensure that you’re making a wise decision. Your future depends on it.
Are you married, or have you been before? What other questions should prospective newlyweds ask before they take the plunge? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.