Deciding that you want to marry somebody is surely one of the biggest decisions of a person’s life. Marriage is commitment for life; it’s an actual contract with another person involving vows to your partner.
How can you possibly know that you love him enough to want to spend the rest of your life with that man?
Women get a lot of pressure from society and the media, as well as their own friends and family to marry by a certain age. It’s like a given!
But, Marriage isn’t something you choose to do, it’s something you feel – and once married, it’s something you work hard at every single day. Marriage isn’t trendy, or something to do out of boredom, or the Instagram pictures of the wedding.
Marriage is about being realistic about who you are and who they are, walking into it with eyes wide open, and willing to do your best to build a long-lasting union.
This article will help you determine how to know you love him enough to marry him.
1. Are you ready for marriage yourself?
Long before he starts hinting about marriage or you start browsing for an engagement ring, you better know whether this is the man you want to spend the rest of your life with. The last thing you want to do is have him go down on one knee, just so you can reject him.
You need to have your answer ready! In your heart, you probably already know if he’s marriage material or not – or, if he might be perfect for a husband, but you just aren’t ready for that step.
It’s perfectly normal to want to wait before you settle down for life – especially if you feel like there’s no rush.
Marriage is a big step, and the wedding is just the first part of it – which comes with a lot of stress, planning, and a huge investment. If you feel that you aren’t ready for marriage, it doesn’t matter whether you’re with the right guy or not. Just don’t lead him on.
2. Think about the foundations of marriage.
You may be madly in love with him, but a happy marriage – one that’s healthy and makes both partners thrive – is based on so much more than love. Love simply isn’t enough to carry a partnership for life, as much as romance books may tell you otherwise.
They lived happily ever after – until the first big argument, or until they had to get a mortgage, or they couldn’t agree on the colors of their new couch. Forget about what you’ve heard about marriage and love, and being in love.
It’s hard work, and commitment. You need effort, respect, trust, loyalty, compromise and a lot of time for one another to make a marriage work.
A lot of couples feel that with marriage they lose that initial passion, and as they go past the honeymoon period, it’s never the same.
It’s unrealistic for marriage to be all fireworks and romance. Marriage is choosing to be with that one person, day after day. It’s choosing to build a future together and to support one another – as a couple, but also individually.
Marriage is about being able to forgive, and giving each other another chance. Making mistakes in a marriage comes loaded with decisions, because it isn’t as easy as just breaking up.
So, think about it: do you love him enough to be ready to do all that? If you have a doubt, then he might not be the one.
3. Do you want to change him?
One of the biggest mistakes you could make is to marry someone you think you love, while secretly hoping that you’ll have your whole life to change him into the man you wish he was. Marry for love, but make sure you use your brains too.
Is he exhibiting the qualities you want in a husband?
Does he act like the partner you want for life?
Men can change, but they shouldn’t have to. You can’t walk into a marriage with an agenda, or with a plan for him. Accept him for who he is, and encourage improvements, but don’t expect that just because you exchanged wedding vows he needs to be someone he isn’t.
If that’s your plan, then maybe you don’t love him enough to marry him. At the core of marriage is acceptance – and the day you learn that is the day you know whether you’re ready for that big step.
4. Why do you want to get married?
Marriage can be many things, but never use it as an escape. If you’re getting married just because you don’t like your current life, or you want to do something new and exciting, this isn’t it.
Marriage isn’t an answer to your problems – it’s another problem in itself (read: lot’s of hard work!).
If you’re trying to escape an unhappy life, don’t tie it to another human being. It’s not fair to them, and the marriage won’t last on those foundations.
5. Will marriage change your lifestyle?
A lot of women and men don’t feel like getting married because they fear they’ll be missing out on something better. Whether that’s their freedom, where they life, or simply the opportunity to meet someone better, marriage feels like a sacrifice they aren’t quite ready to make.
If you have the nagging feeling that you’ll need to make a lot of changes to your lifestyle by agreeing to marry someone, then it doesn’t sound like you’re ready, or love him enough.
Marriage should be the most exciting thing to happen to you – not something you can’t even imagine for yourself. The fear of what you missed out would come crawling into your married life, and you’ll feel like you need to get out. This is how a lot of affairs start, and how many marriages break.
6. Does he make you a better person?
Choosing a partner for life is a tricky business. Married couples often say, “when you know you know”, which can be confusing to others, because what happens when you just don’t know?
He’s perfectly lovely, and you’re happy dating him or living with him, but marriage feels like a strange concept.
One of the big tests for whether you love him enough to marry him is the value he brings to you as a person.
Does he make you a better person?
Would you do anything to be better because he’s there and you want him to be proud of you?
If you answered yes, then perhaps you’ve found your future husband!
Your spouse should be the one that always makes things better, the person you feel strongest around, and the one you tell all good news to first. He encourages you to be who you are and to go after your dreams, and he inspires you with his entire personality.
He isn’t an add-on to your life, rather he is your whole life – and he makes life worthwhile.
7. You’ve been through a lot as a couple.
One of the ultimate tests is to simply to look back at your history together and how much you’ve been through as a couple. If you’ve already been through a lot and have grown into the couple you are today because of it, you know you’ve got a solid base for a marriage.
- You should be certain that whatever happens next, you can face it together and it won’t break you.
- Your values align and you ultimately want the same things in life.
- You’re able to talk about money, children and your shared future together without worrying that you’ll push each other away.
- You align on the important things in life, and the prospect of a future together excites you.
8. You know how to face conflict in a healthy manner.
The biggest test to any marriage is how you face conflict and handle disagreements when they inevitably arise. Being able to have a healthy debate or argument is at the core of a successful marriage.
Being able to listen to the other party, truly hear their side of a story, and give and receive feedback with an open heart is how you build a strong relationship.
If you have that already and you love your partner enough to “fight” in a healthy way, then marriage isn’t going to be a huge challenge for you.
At the core of handling any disagreement is respect, after all.
9. Marriage shouldn’t harm your independence.
Being married to someone isn’t about co-dependency. On the contrary, you need to make a conscious effort to give each other enough space for the marriage to really flourish and withstand the test of time.
You’re still two individuals who need time apart and time with your respective groups of friends and families. It can only strengthen your relationship, not harm it.
You shouldn’t feel the need to cling on to your partner, to share every waking moment with him, or to demand all of his attention. You should be confident when he’s out without you, and not feel the need to snoop on him.
10. You are equals in the relationship.
Of course, in a marriage you should take care of each other’s needs. But, sole reliance on each other isn’t the key to a successful or healthy marriage. You want to be in a relationship with a self-assured partner, where you feel like equals and the balance is just right.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to marriage, you need to follow your heart and your mind, when deciding if you love him enough to marry him. It’s likely to be the biggest decision of your life.
While you may wish to talk to your friends and family about it, only you can make that call. If you need some extra help, check out 13 Things That Prove Your Relationship is Ready for Marriage.
There’s no way that anyone can know what’s in your heart and mind, so make sure you spend some time thinking about what’s best for you and your partner – especially if you’ve realized he isn’t really the one for you.