Before you walk down the aisle, be sure you have all of these bases covered.
You're More Concerned With the Wedding than the Marriage
Often, more time is spent preparing and agonizing over the wedding details than actually considering the marriage. If you know more about the flowers at your upcoming wedding than you do about your partner’s debt situation, marriage ain’t for you.
Trust is critical. However, I find that some people don’t believe it’s possible to “fully” trust anyone, let alone a future spouse. If this is your challenge, you’re setting yourself up for a tumultuous relationship. Trust is belief in one’s integrity. No relationship can survive without trust.
You Can't See Yourself Parenting Their Child
When you enter a relationship with a single parent, you enter a relationship with their children, as well. I’ve heard countless stories of people saying “I love the person but just don’t love his/her kids.” This unfortunately is an unworkable situation. Children are not accessories to be included or not, they are a permanent part of the equation.
You Haven't Been Dating for Long
This is one category where statistics speak volumes. Most studies show a clear distinction in the divorce rate based on the number of years a couple dates. If you date and get married in less than two years, divorce rates are measurably higher than dating and marrying with more time under our belt. An interesting twist to these studies is dating too long before getting married has negative consequences, as well (anything over five years has high divorce rates).
Your Vitals Aren't Strong
If you’re headed to the altar without your relationship vitals in place, I call this settling. Relationship vitals are your values, personality type, and non-negotiables. These are all categories you should know and never amend for anyone. Your vitals are so important because the key pillars to a successful relationship are communication and conflict resolution. Met relationship vitals give you the optimal chance to exchange ideas and work through problems, when they arise.
You're Not Ready for Compromise
The pastor that counseled my wife and me before we got married told us something we’ll never forget – “You can’t have a successful relationship (romantic or platonic) unless you have a willingness to compromise.” When times get tough, there is one of two ways we react. Either we become selfish and focus on self or we become selfless and focus on our loved ones. If you (or they) are the former, marriage is not the right move.
You're Being Pressured
Are you getting married because of threats or ultimatums? If this is the case, you shouldn’t be getting married. Marriage should be entered by the free will of two people who love and respect one another. If you’re being pressured to get married, it’s time to reevaluate the basis of the relationship.
You Don't Speak Their Love Language
I’ve often said Dr. Gary Chapman’s book “The 5 Love Languages” is the bible of relationships. In it, he paints a very compelling argument that an inability to speak or receive the love language of your partner is a recipe for disaster. Not giving love in a language they understand or receiving love in your language means you and your partner may never truly feel love.
You're Not Sexually Attracted to Each Other
Plain and simple, he can be the most wonderful guy in the world, have the potential to set the record for best husband and father on the planet, but if you’re not sexually attracted to him, your relationship will go south quickly.
You're Battling Addiction or Mental Health Issues
Pathology is something that does not get enough attention when we talk about relationships. Nearly 20 million people in the U.S. suffer from negative pathology. This means one in 25 people will have the disorders associated with ‘no conscience’ which include antisocial personality disorder, sociopath, and psychopath. Bottom line is that a healthy mind is a prerequisite to a healthy relationship.
You're Investing More than You Can Afford to Lose
The joining together of two people is also the joining together of two families and circles of friends. Social tension is often cited as a top reason for divorce. You must ask yourself “at what cost am I in this relationship?” If you have to give up your friends, or family, the cost is too high. Reason being, if it all falls apart, you’ll be both emotionally and socially bankrupt. Like Dr. Phil said, “it is better to be healthy alone, than sick with someone else.”
Your Mind Still Wanders
If you’re apprehensive about marriage because you feel that someone better (looks or general attributes) could be around the corner, marriage ain’t for you. When you get married, you should feel confident that the person you’re meeting at the altar is the best for you and life without them is imaginable.
What Would You Add?
Would you like to add a red flag to this list? You can chat with me on Twitter or Facebook any time.