Most of the time, couples think hard about the future before making any big moves. Other times, one partner feels as if things are good and goes to buy a ring. If a proposal happens that you’re unprepared for, there’s often a lot of pressure to say yes, especially if it happens in public. However, here are the things you really need to consider first if you’re really planning on going ahead with it.
- Are you in love? You might assume you are, but think about it. Can you live without this guy? Does he stress you out a lot? Are you still in the relationship just because you’re comfortable? There’s nobody out there who’s perfect, but if you’ve had the same problems throughout the course of your relationship that have never been fixed, don’t expect marriage to suddenly solve them. Take a look at his faults and ask yourself, “Is this something I can live with?” Even if people promise they’ll change, it’s rare that they do.
- How is he with money? Many couples choose to pool their financial accounts together, and that’s a great way to signify that you’re now a team. However, you may be in doubt if he happens to be really bad with money. Debt happens and nobody is perfect, but if he keeps adding to the problem instead of thinking of solutions, you need to look out for yourself. You don’t want to get married and have this guy ruin your credit. You need to think about your own relationship with money, as well. Are you willing to work harder to keep the two of you afloat if need be? Do you need to get your spending in check before making a commitment? It’s a lot to think about.
- What is his family like? It’s true — when you marry someone, you marry their family. You need to have a good enough relationship with them that you’re not resentful of their involvement in your life. If his mother is someone you can’t stand, things will just be harder once you’re married. You can’t expect your husband-to-be to cut out his family (unless they’re abusive and it’s something he recognizes and wants) so it’s a conversation you need to have before tying the knot. Is he ready to put you before his mom? How often is he expecting them to visit?
- Do you want kids? This is the number one relationship-breaker out there since there’s no clear answer. You should never hold someone back from having the kids they want, but they also shouldn’t force you into having kids if you want to stay child-free. If you disagree, it’s a situation that’ll leave one of you unhappy for the rest of your lives. Opinions may change, but you at least need to enter marriage on the same page.
- What are your thoughts on relocation? Throughout your life, either you or your partner may accept a job offer elsewhere. And, the decision to take that job will rely on both of you. A quick chat about whether or not you’d be willing to relocate is very important. And for a decision like this, it’s okay to be very specific. Maybe you’re only willing to move somewhere along your coast, or perhaps you need to at least be a few hours away from your family. If you want to stay put, that’s okay too, but your partner needs to know before you make it official.
- Can I see myself growing old with this person? When you get older, looks fade. If you happened to fall under a spell of depression and gain 20 pounds, would your partner support you or ridicule you? Also, can you imagine him taking care of you if you get sick? These are questions you might not think about in the moment but they’re very important. You need to be with someone who’s in this for the long haul.
- Do I just want a wedding? It sounds vapid, but it happens. There’s so much of an emphasis on big weddings and special moments that you may just want the party, forgetting that you’re also expected to commit for the rest of your life. While things happen, and divorce isn’t uncommon, your goal here shouldn’t be to look for an out. Divorce in itself is time-consuming and very expensive, so if you feel safe with having that as an option, you may want to rethink this marriage altogether.
- Do we have enough in common to keep us going? Couples don’t need to have everything in common, but some things are nice. And they don’t have to be time-consuming activities, either. If you both like the cook, that’s great. Or, if you both like horror films, that’ll be a good way to fill a Saturday. Having a similar personality is also a good thing for long-term success. Laughing at the same things, or enjoying the same memes is a small thing, but still a good sign that you’ve got legitimate chemistry.