How will you know when you are ready? What questions or topics should be discussed before marriage?
Relationship Status: Committed Relationship
From Ericka: I’ve been with my boyfriend for more than 4 years and we get asked a lot by friends and family when we are getting married. I’m not sure that we are both ready yet, but is it true that you should “just know” when you are ready for marriage? I understand that every relationship is different and everyone moves at a different pace, but are there certain things that you should do or discuss before even being ready for marriage?
Also, how can we answer our friends and family when they ask us, without it getting awkward?
(Side note, we did email Ericka for some more info: they are both 25 and are not living together)
She Said: Read this article on the “7 Conversations To Have Before You Get Married” (or move in together). I would ask yourself those questions first, then go into a discussion with your boyfriend. Don’t bend on your non-negotiables either, you will just grow to resent him later. Will you have kids, how will you raise them, money management, career, where you will live, vacation.. blah blah.. You would be surprised at how many people jump into relationships (and even marriages) and NEVER talk about this stuff until, well, it’s too late.
He Said: Will you “just know” when you are ready for marriage? People who rush into marriage are running off their feelings. People who hold off on getting married are being too logical. You need to have a balance between your emotional side and logical side.
Think of it logically first: You have to know you can live with this person just as they are for the rest of your life. Getting married isn’t going to fix anything in the relationship nor will it make anyone nicer, more responsible, more affectionate, give them higher sex drive or make them a better listener.
She Said: Now look at the emotional side: Can you see yourself living without this person 5, 10, 15 years from now? What would your life look like if you weren’t in a relationship with them? Ensure you have a deep emotional connection and understanding of each other.
He Said: Before studies showed that your marriage was more likely to end in divorce if you lived together first but now the studies are showing this only applies if you are not engaged and then move in together, then your marriage has a greater chance of not hitting the 10-15 year mark.
She Said: Yes because it is about commitment. If you are going to move in together because you simply miss each other or it is cheaper or just easier, the odds are not in your favor. However if you make a commitment, discuss marriage and get engaged then move in together, your marriage has a greater chance of surviving. However your best chance is still not to live together before marriage, go figure.
He Said: If after 4 years you don’t have both of the logical and emotional connections, it’s not going to change.
She Said: If you want marriage and you have looked at it logically and emotionally (plus discussed all the crucial questions) and it doesn’t match up, it’s time to move on.
He Said: If you are happy just being together, having fun and knowing it won’t be long term than continue on!
She Said: After 1, max 2 years, you should know if you want to spend the rest of your life with a person. When you are younger, that is a harder rule to follow but dating is all about exploring who is the best fit for you.
Oh and how do you avoid those awkward questions from family members who ask: “When are you going to get married?”
He Said: I have bad news, those questions never go away! When you get married they then begin asking: “When are you going to have kids?”
She Said: Then they ask: “Are you going to have more kids?”
He Said: Basically it never stops because people love to ask those questions! BUT you can just throw a question right back at them. Ask them when they are going to get married or when they will have kids…
She Said: Or how their job is going.. etc.
He Said: Or just shrug and say “I don’t know” and change the subject.
She Said: The moment you are ok with whatever you decide or the fact that you aren’t decided… people will move on.
I know we talked a lot about being logical and emotional when making a balanced decision about marriage… but leave a little room for magic too.
He Said: Yes, because in the end, the most successful marriages have an ingredient that no one can quite explain… it’s a mystery.
She Said: It really just does feel right…
He Said: with a side of excitement and not knowing.