If you’ve been in a relationship with one person for a long time, you may be thinking of marriage. Or maybe you haven’t found the right person, but family and friends are pushing you to take the plunge. The pressure to settle down tends to get stronger as you get older. However, age is a poor indicator of readiness for marriage. So is the length of your relationship. Your feelings about marriage, yourself, the other person and the relationship itself are much better predictors of whether or not you should be getting married.
See how well the following signs describe you.
You are Ready for Marriage if…
You hate singles bars: Once upon a time, you lived for the nights you would get dressed up, hit the clubs and check out all the other hot singles. Now that feels like too much work. You’d rather have one person to go out with … or even just stay in with.
You enjoy taking care of your partner: You do things for your partner because you want to and it makes you happy, without any thoughts of what you may get in return.
You want children: Not everybody wants children, of course, but if you find yourself watching other people’s kids and wondering what yours would be like, you’re probably ready to start a family.Your plans for the future include your partner: When your thoughts and conversations revolve largely around “we” and “our,” then you are planning a life with this person, even if you don’t realize it.
You’re over your ex(es): All of them. You should be able to remember them without pangs of regret, loneliness or thoughts of “what if.” Thoughts about them should be infrequent, as should be the need to talk about them.
You know your partner’s views and values on money, children and relationships: You don’t necessarily have to completely agree with them all, but you must both be willing and able to reach compromises that will satisfy you both.
You fully understand the extent of the commitment you'll be making legally, financially, and emotionally.
You are not ready for marriage if…
You feel trapped if your relationship lasts more than a few months: If you can’t handle months, then a lifetime is out of the question.
You are afraid to be alone: Getting married just to have someone around actually makes it more likely you will push your partner away by being too needy.
You enjoy the thrill of having several romantic partners: This is a clear indication you are not ready to settle down.
You refuse to compromise: Marriage is a lifelong series of compromises. If you can’t do it, don’t get married.
Your partner’s physical flaws bother you: They, or your perception of them, will only become more pronounced over time. If it bothers you now, it could become a deal-breaker down the road.
Making sure you (and your partner) are ready for marriage is important. Divorce, alimony, child support and visitation schedules are not things you want to deal with. Although readiness is not a guarantee of a long and happy marriage, it definitely stacks the odds in your favor.