Let “Coach Amy,” the dating & relationships guru of heartmindconnection.com, help you gauge your readiness to take the plunge. This essential barometer of your “marriage preparedness” can reveal your true feelings about the ultimate romantic commitment. The results may surprise you!
When you think of the word marriage, what thoughts come to mind? What feelings come over you? If you find someone who shares your values and your life goals, you just click.
If you feel ready to get married, do you have a realistic picture of what it’s all about? Do you envision wedded bliss where you wake up together, have a romantic day at the beach, share laughs and a sunset dinner before a midnight walk along the water? That’s certainly possible, but do you also see yourself arguing about who does the dishes piled in the sink, or expenses unaccounted for, or about the need for alone time after a stressful day at the office? These scenes can be part of marriage, too! Are you prepared for the ups and downs that a lifelong partnership entails?
Answering these questions will help you determine if you’re ready for marriage:
1. What are your reasons for wanting to get married?
People have many reasons to seek a spouse. My research suggests that the desire for companionship or having a family with children are the top two reasons. One of my girlfriends was divorced at forty with a young son. All her friends were married, so she was the only single parent in her social group. This was a difficult situation for her and she truly felt deprived by not having a husband—a partner—to share in the joys and frustrations of raising her son.
Fortunately, she met her second husband on JDate!
2. What would marriage give you that you don’t already have? What would you be giving up?
List your own pros and cons about marriage. The major issues that come up for many people involve the loss of freedom that marriage seems to represent. You must account for another person in all your decisions. There seem to be more family obligations when you’re married, and they can take up a lot of your time.
On the other hand, being single can be time-consuming, too! One of my clients says that a major reason for him to find a wife is so he can focus more of his energies on his business. He estimates that he spends at least sixteen hours a week searching for “the one” and would love to have that aspect of life squared away.
Wanting a spouse to support you through life’s many ups and downs is another big motivation for marriage. Having a steady companion for meals and leisure time is high on many people’s lists “for” marriage. Ultimately, it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons and decide whether your personal scales tip toward or away from marriage.
3. How do you view marriage? What’s your opinion of marriage?
Do you have positive thoughts about marriage in general? Or do you have a mostly negative view of this societal institution? My friend Jessie—early forties, single and never married—has divorced parents. She claims that she knows very few happy marriages. The belief that ”most marriages end in divorce” surely impacts her readiness for marriage. Similarly, an ex-boyfriend once referred to me as his “ball and chain” to one of his friends. He never married and is now in his late 40’s. It’s safe to say his perspective on marriage may have prevented him from taking it seriously!
4. How much of your time would you be willing to devote to a partner? What are your top priorities in life?
List what’s most important to you, in order of priority. If finding a marriage partner or making the most of your current relationship is in the top two or three, you’re probably ready for marriage.
Another of my clients had a good job that was relatively stable and a rewarding social life with his friends. The only missing piece was a marriage partner. He really wanted to settle down and have a family, and this became his top priority. Happily, he met his future wife at a dinner at the local synagogue.
5. Are you willing to make the compromises to be a “we” instead of a “me”?
Assuming you find someone you believe to be “the one,” what sacrifices are you willing to make in order to build a committed relationship? I have friends who met at a singles weekend but he was from Washington, DC and she was from Boston. She moved to DC and found a new job so they could be together. On the other hand, a friend in New York was engaged to a woman in Boston. Neither was willing to move. Needless to say, that marriage never happened.
6. Are you emotionally available for a relationship? What are the circumstances that make it difficult for you to commit to marriage right now?
Have you moved on from your past divorce or a difficult break-up? Do you have commitments such as children, an aging parent or the financial strain of changing careers? One of my clients did not feel comfortable dating until her last child left for college. Her roadblock to marriage was the desire not to upset her daughter’s life. Once her daughter graduated from high school, she began dating.
7. How can you be certain you are ready for marriage?
Trust in yourself that you will know when the time is right. “When you find that someone special, you just know,” says a friend in his early forties who just got married. “There’s a synergy, a flow!”
If you find someone who shares your values and your life goals, you just click. I’ve witnessed this time and time again with both my clients and my friends. A man who married in his mid-thirties told me, “I never thought about marriage until I met my wife. I just knew she was the right marriage partner for me.”
One thing I’ve noticed is that singles ready for marriage are tired of the dating merry-go-round. They desire a degree of stability in their life. They want to spend their energies on building a relationship and leave behind the “it’s good for now” mindset.
8. Are you willing to go public with your desire to find a marriage partner or to be married?
Marriage is not a dirty word! Recently, I went to a JDate singles event with my Motivated to Marry™ questionnaire and asked several people, “Do you want to take a quiz to see if you are Motivated to Marry™?” Quite a few stared at me like deer frozen in the headlights. They were afraid to let others at a singles event know they were really looking to settle down. If someone is scared by the very idea of marriage, then let them go! The right person for you will stick around.
I tell my clients to be very upfront about their intentions to find a marriage partner. “Won’t I scare them away?” is a question I’m frequently asked. My answer is, “if someone is scared by the very idea of marriage, then let them go! The right person for you will stick around because they’re interested in the same things you are.”
One of my male clients living in DC met a New Yorker online. She told my client that she just wanted to be friends. His response? He has plenty of friends and he’s looking for a marriage partner. This man is clearly ready for marriage! He’s willing to stick to his goal and I commend him for his focus and determination.
In the end, you’re the only person who knows whether you’re truly ready to tie the knot someday soon. And knowing for sure requires a very honest self-assessment. Answering the questions above will reveal the truth!
© 2006, Amy Schoen, Heartmind Connection, LLC.