Should you get married? While the thought of getting married can be exciting, it’s also a huge, life-altering decision. If you’re engaged and wondering if you’re with the right guy (or maybe you’re just preparing for the future when it does happen!), ask yourself these questions:
1. Do our values align?
Here are a couple examples of conflicting values that you might be dealing with:
- One of you values minimalism and the other values excessive material wealth
- You have opposing religious views
- One of you puts career first and the other puts family first
- You have different beliefs about major issues, like pro-life/pro-choice, legalization of gay marriage, etc.
These value differences can cause major problems in a marriage, especially if you are both extremely opinionated and unwilling to compromise. I’ve been in several relationships where the value differences between me and my guy were significantly different, and it was so frustrating. Now, the guy I’m with shares almost all of the same values as me, and our relationship is a lot easier because of it!
Now, I’m not saying you have to agree on absolutely everything (you don’t – otherwise no one would ever get married!), but keep in mind that if you do make a major compromise, you’ll probably feel like you’ve violated your conscience.
2. Does he share my views/timeline expectations on having children?
Some people want kids. Lots of them – right away. And that’s completely fine.
Other people don’t ever want to have kids. They’d rather focus on building a career and maintaining personal freedom. This is also completely fine.
What’s NOT fine is when you enter a relationship with someone who has completely different expectations about having children. When I was engaged, my significant other wanted to have kids and I didn’t. In fact, he was already looking to have kids within a few years. Of course, I discovered this after we got engaged… I know – bad timing. But now you can learn from my mistake!
Chances are, the relationship isn’t going to work out if one of you wants kids and the other doesn’t. And if it does work out, someone is going to feel unhappy and resentful in the future, which can cause major long-term damage to the relationship. You don’t want that, do you? Didn’t think so.
The solution is simple: Have a serious conversation with your guy and make sure you know where he stands on having children before you get married. That way, there are no surprises as far as your expectations once you tie the knot.
3. Can I see myself living with him forever?
If you’re considering marrying a guy, you can probably already name a few of his super annoying habits.
Maybe he interrupts you a lot. Maybe he’s a total slob and you’re a neat freak who can’t stand it. Maybe he – GASP – leaves the toilet seat up!
Will you be able to accept him for who he is and deal with these habits for the rest of your life?
If not, it’s time to either break off the relationship or seriously work on it.
That being said, make sure you don’t break off the relationship for a silly reason. My current boyfriend is great, but he does do things that annoy me sometimes, like leave dirty dishes in the sink. However, these types of things aren’t deal breakers because, let’s face it, everyone has flaws and annoying habits. I do stuff that gets on his nerves too.
If your guy keeps doing something you just can’t stand, try to talk to him (talk, not nag!) about it. If it’s truly worth getting upset over, then it’s worth addressing head-on. He might not know that what he’s doing upsets you, so the problem could be easier to fix than you think.
4. Is he willing to move, or does he want to stay in the same place?
When I was engaged, I had my mind set on moving to a bigger city, launching my career, and traveling the world, but then I found out that my fiancée was more focused on settling down in a small town near his family permanently. Neither aspiration is necessarily bad, but it IS bad to disagree in this area. If you don’t agree, do you really think you’ll both end up being happy? No, you won’t. I personally would have been miserable spending my life in a small town.
So, obviously, where you’re going to live isn’t a conversation you want to have for the first time AFTER you’re already married. Talk about it openly beforehand and find out where he envisions himself living in the future so you can get an idea of where he sees the relationship heading.
5. Can I communicate with him easily?
Many people (myself included) have been in at least one chaotic relationship – the kind where every single minor argument turns into an intense screaming match that includes name calling, insults, and other not-so-healthy stuff. When I look back and remember being in that situation, it seems so stupid to have stayed with that person for as long as I did. It would have been much worse for both of us if we had continued our relationship and gotten married!
If your guy is unwilling to calmly resolve conflicts and work on communicating with you to better your relationship, it’s pretty likely that your marriage won’t last long. Keep in mind that communication goes both ways, so you both have to be willing to set your pride aside, be vulnerable, and admit that you’re wrong too.
6. How does he handle his finances?
Regardless of how much he makes, is your guy careless with his spending? I’m not talking about an occasional splurge here and there – I’m talking about careless spending to the point where he can’t pay his part of the bills anymore.
For example, once I dated a guy who spent a ton of money on gambling. He’d go to the nearest casino almost every single weekend, and he would blow hundreds of dollars just about every time. A couple of times, his gambling addiction put him in quite a predicament, and he was unable to pay his bills.
If this sounds all too familiar, it’s definitely something you’ll need to work on before you get married. You’ll also want to work out how you both will handle your finances. For example, will you share a joint bank account or keep the money separate? Figure this out ahead of time.
When it comes to money, consider your best interests and don’t be afraid to leave him if he isn’t ready for a mature, stable relationship. Otherwise, you could be put in a seriously rough situation when he gambles the rent money away.
7. Is the sex good?
To be fair, first sexual encounters can sometimes be awkward. But, if you’re already well into your relationship and the sex still sucks… well, that’s bad. Really bad.
I mean, WTF – you should have each other figured out sexually by now. You should know what works. You should be excited to head to the bedroom with him – not dreading it.
Sex is a basic human need, and if you’re not getting the amount you want, you’re not going to be happy. On top of that, sex builds intimacy, helps you keep stress to a minimum, and helps you feel connected to your guy.
And, of course, it’s (hopefully) FUN! If sex with your guy makes you yawn, you should know that that’s going to be a tough one to change down the road.
But don’t worry – like most other issues, this is another one that you can work on with your future husband. Just make sure that you prioritize fixing problems in the bedroom before you tie the knot. Otherwise, you may be doomed to a life of terrible sex.
8. How do you feel about his family?
Luckily, I’ve never personally had problems with a significant other’s family. However, I’ve definitely seen a friend go through it, and it really put a strain on her relationship.
Think about it. Does your spouse side with you when conflicts arise, or is he quick to throw you under the bus to appease his family members? Loyalty is critical for a healthy relationship. If your guy doesn’t understand that you are his family now, he may not be ready to get married.
Of course, make sure that you’re not in the wrong before you criticize him for siding with his family. You can’t expect him to unfairly blame his family members if you’re the one causing problems, but you should be able to expect him to stand up for you when he needs to.
Another thing to consider: Does he have healthy boundaries, or is his family coming over to visit unexpectedly almost every day?
Being in a relationship with someone whose family is visits often can be draining, particularly for introverts. After all, socializing with your partner’s family can be stressful – you may feel like you need to come across as perfect and have a hard time deciding on the right things to say. Make sure that your man has set healthy boundaries with his family that balance your personal needs with his.
9. Are we both ready to put in the work required to make this marriage successful?
When you think about what marriage REALLY is, it sounds pretty daunting.
It certainly did for me, at least. I got engaged pretty young, and I’ll admit that I wasn’t ready to work on sustaining a long-term relationship at that point. I was more concerned with my own life and where it was going.
Consider whether or not you are both willing to compromise, communicate, and work hard to make sure the relationship will last. Marriage can be so fulfilling and wonderful – I’ve seen it happen with several of my happily married friends and family members. It just takes a bit of perseverance!
10. Is he someone I can trust with the rest of my life?
Try to take a look at your relationship objectively, and make sure that you and your guy trust each other completely. If you have any doubts or insecurities, take the time to talk to him about them. You never know – he might be dealing with some of the same issues!
Remember, a successful marriage requires patience, teamwork, vulnerability, and more. Work with your future husband to cultivate a happy relationship now, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful marriage in the future.