They don’t teach you how to truly be ready for marriage….because it isn’t easy and it isn’t really what you think it is.
Marriage is a commitment, a compromise, an understanding of different minds, thoughts, feelings, desires and futures.
What it is not is a party, a white dress, a band, a photographer and gifts. It is not a fantasy life with constant joy and togetherness.
It is work! Lots and lots of work.
You must be compatible, starting with the foundation, the basics, what you want from life. Do you both want kids, a home, to travel, save money, spend money, invest…the questions should be endless. Ask the hard questions and don’t assume that marrying someone will “fix them” or “change their minds”. Once the lust ends, once the magic fades (because it does), once you see the person for who they are after you take off the rose colored glasses…these things matter.
Know your partner, make sure they want the same things, make sure they mean what they say and that they aren’t just saying it to please you. Trust them when they tell you they don’t want kids…don’t go into this marriage as if they will change their minds. If he doesn’t like to travel now, he definitely won’t as he ages. Is he an introvert who enjoys downtime and quiet nights and you love to entertain and get your energy from people…that is a clash, something to consider. Are you great with money and he is horrible at saving and spending? that will matter later, I promise you.
“Little challenges” that you overlooked before will be crystal clear as time goes on. Trust me. The things you thought were cute little annoyances become incredibly irritating later…can you live with them?
Are you a neat freak and he is a dirty slob? this is huge because little things become gigantic over time.
Do you share the same moral compass? what are his views on cheating? lying? stealing? general betrayal?
Can you trust him?
We could totally lower our divorce rate if we discovered these things before we say “I do”. Before we bring children into this situation. Before we merge our lives and our entire being. Do you know what you are even agreeing to. Have you discovered what marriage means to you and what you are hoping to get from it? are you getting married because its the right thing to do? is it so you can wear a pretty dress and have a cool 3 day party? or are you doing it for your mom because she has lived for this day?
Define marriage and what it means to you, then, have your partner do the same!
To avoid so much pain later – know yourself, know what you want inside and out, do not waiver, do not put something on a shelf, do not bury it and most of all….do not settle.
Then, know your partner, know what he wants, desires, craves and needs.
Do they match? be honest, do they? can you meet his needs and can he meet yours? really?
They have to or else there will be an end. The foundation of who you are should be the same foundation as your partner. You can build upon that over time and celebrate your differences and add to each others lives. However, if the foundation is cracked, that which you build upon will crumble.
Its simple really.
Take the time to know yourself and your partner and ask yourselves and each other the tough questions. This will increase the odds that your marriage will sustain!