Millions of divorces take place all around the world every year.
Many of them happen because one of the partners has changed significantly.
Some of them happen because of the chronic cheating habits of either partner.
But most of them happen because they were not in the right marriage to begin with.
Those marriages took place because the partners didn’t (or couldn’t) give as much thought to their decision (of getting married) as they should have.
They didn’t ask the right questions.
If not, here are the six crucial questions that you must ask yourselves before you pop the question.
While there are many more factors specific to your relationship which you can (and should) take into account, make sure you don’t miss out on these questions .
1. Ask yourself why.
Why this person, why right now? Don’t get married because there’s a child on the way or because it makes sense financially or because all of your friends are wifed up and you’re the last man standing — it sounds stupid and obvious, but people hastily marry for the wrong reasons ALL. THE. TIME. And even though divorce appears to be really commonplace, it’s not a walk in the park and it’s definitely not free.
2. Love your body.
While it’s true that the media would often convince us that we’ll only feel beautiful in the arms of someone who loves and approves of us physically, when we’re alone in front of an unforgiving mirror, the only thoughts we’re left with are our own. Going into any relationship feeling ugly, unlovable, and as though you should be ashamed of the way you look is a recipe for disaster. If you think you’re not worthy or capable of being touched and admired, even if someone disagrees with you, it’s going to be difficult to feel their love through all the layers of self-loathing. Though no one wakes up one day and goes, “Oh hell yeah I don’t know what I was thinking, I’m f-cking gorgeous,” it wouldn’t hurt to work on becoming happy with your body and finding some balance every day.
3. Accomplish something just for you.
It could be graduating from school, starting a challenging job, or just facing a fear you need to prove you can overcome. Frankly, the obstacles and goal posts we have scattered throughout our lives come in all shapes and sizes, and only you should be concerned with the parameters you set for success and accomplishment. But if we don’t do things to make ourselves happy and feel as though we accomplished something, we can easily become complacent, or feel that we shouldn’t even try, because we’ll never reach our goals. The longer we go without achieving something because we want to, the harder it will become to start up that hill.
4. Tell everyone you will never get married.
There’s nothing like meeting the right person who will transform you from a commitment-phobe into someone who is willing to tether themselves to someone else for an eternity. (Or until you get divorced, whichever comes first.)
5. Talk about the boring details.
Debt. Health. Whether or not the two of you have the same ideas about where to live or if kids are on the table. You don’t want to enter into a legal contract with someone without knowing all of the facts.
6. Live with someone you’re in a relationship with.
If it’s the one you eventually marry, fine. The point is that living together changes things.
7. Learn from the time you dated someone and treated them like crap.
Everyone has that one relationship where they’re not particularly proud of the way they behaved. They took someone for granted, they picked fights, and acted generally like a jerk. While such behavior is certainly not commendable, you learn a lot about yourself through treating someone badly. Mainly, you realize who you don’t want to be and what kind of relationship you don’t want to have, which makes you more prepared for something like marriage. You can’t ever go back to the way you acted because it made you hate yourself. Your future husband/wife will feel relieved that you got this relationship out of your system.
8. Have a one night stand.
Sleep with a stranger just to see if you can do it, just to see if you can feel okay afterwards. After you’re married, you won’t get to do anything, besides the one penis/vagina you’ve committed yourself to, so you might as well sow some wild oats beforehand.
9. Meet the people who raised your potential future husband/ wife.
Whether you like their family or not, you’ll be able to pick up on red flags that wouldn’t have come to light otherwise. The issues someone has with their family may not make or break a relationship, but you don’t really know someone until you watch them lose it and go apeshit on their parents at Thanksgiving dinner.
10. Live with a member of your preferred gender identity who you’re not dating.
This is the best way to adjust your expectations of who is responsible for what in a household.
11. Get your heart broken.
Whether from losing a good friend, having a fight you know you were wrong in, or seeing a love you were sure was forever end prematurely — we all need to know what it feels like to be broken. Perhaps the most essential thing about heartbreak is coming out on the other side and realizing that, no matter how badly you are hurting in the moment, it’s going to pass and you are going to be happy again. Few things manage to put future fights, anger, and sadness into perspective than getting over a real heartbreak at least once.
12. Finish college.
Because you’re way too young to be married that early.
13. Learn how to cook, regardless of gender.
One of the best parts of stability is the fact that you DON’T have to go out as much anymore. One of the best things you can do to prepare for a simpler lifestyle is to figure out how live more simply.
14. Have an adventure with your friends.
One thing that’s noticeable about wonderful romantic relationships is that they can often obscure — and even make us forget — the wonderful relationships we have with our friends. Though these friendships should by no means diminish when we’re married, it’s important to take time to appreciate the love you have with your friends, while it’s front-and-center in your life. Life can take us in many directions — and so can marriage and children — so all the more reason to have the adventures with friends you’ll remember all your life. Go on a road trip, take a vacation, get into way too much trouble in your hometown. Do stuff that reminds you that you’re young, and free, and can afford to make a few mistakes.
15. Live alone/ be alone.
People can go their entire lives skipping from relationship to relationship because they’re afraid of being alone. Being alone isn’t always a walk on the beach, but it’s important to develop the capacity to rely on yourself for happiness before you pass off so much of that weight to another human being.
16. Fall in love with a friend.
What is this strange idea that only the people you have 6 with/ marry are the people you are supposed to fall head-over-heels in love with? What a sad life we would all be living if we were incapable of loving someone just for long car rides, laughing at stupid TV shows, and staying up late eating junk food and drinking straight from the bottle. Take the time to experience love in all the forms that you routinely mistake for being “boring old friendship.”
17. Be good to your parents.
Few things in life will be more exciting for your parents than seeing you find someone and get married, likely starting a family of your own, and certainly bringing a new family into theirs. Why would we ever want to taint that with a relationship that’s strained, disrespectful, and full of alternating miscommunication and silence? Our parents deserve to be loved, to be enjoyed for the people they are (not just some abstract idea of being punished for things), and most of all, included in our lives. The beauty of bringing two families together is very much in the love for your own being grown and shared into the love of the whole new family unit. Shouldn’t we be sharing as much of that as possible?
18. Move out of your parents’ house.
Learn how to pay bills, manage your money, and live responsibly. The least you can do before moving in with someone FOR ETERNITY is get some exposure about what it’s actually like to take care of yourself.
19. Figure yourself out.
Too often people rush into committed monogamy for all the wrong reasons. “Figuring yourself out” is cliche, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work on yourself and prune your crutches, delusions, and self-destructive tendencies. It’s a life-long process, but at least, before you marry, try and have a firm grip on who you are and what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, rather than rushing headlong and blind into an unknown situation.
20. Are our life and career goals similar?
Marriage is a decision to inextricably join your life with someone else’s. Aligning your life, career and other important goals is crucial.
Do you want to settle down in a quaint suburb and have lots of kids? Then don’t marry someone who wants to live and work in five continents.
Are you planning to pool all your resources, throw them (and yourself) head-on into your new start-up – the dream of your life? Then don’t marry someone who wants a stable, cushy life and lots of “quality time” together.
You get the point.
21. Do we fulfill each other’s needs?
We all have emotional, intellectual, physical, practical, social and various other needs from a relationship. If you’re in a relationship and are planning to get married, ask yourself – have you made a rational, clear-headed evaluation of whether and how much of your needs your significant other fulfills?
Or are you glossing over your unfulfilled needs thinking “every relationship requires compromise”?
This is important because when we’re in the throes of that addictive drug called love, we tend to see only positives in the person we’re in love with.
Now nothing can be truer than the fact that every relationship takes some ceding of grounds, and kudos to you if you’re willingly doing your bit.
But if you ignore your basic needs, they will find a way to come back to you in the long run – in the form of fights, emotional abuse, cheating and even divorce.
22. Do we know really know each other?
I was once with a guy who lied about his age on Facebook, and I never asked him about it. We were six months into the relationship when I discovered he was five years older than I thought.
Yes, you guessed it – that was not the only lie on which the relationship was based. No wonder we didn’t stay together much more than a year.
Knowing your partner and allowing them to know you are vital aspects of a stable relationship. Trust takes an immense amount of work (and time) to build, but only seconds to lose.
Be honest and tell your partner everything you think they should know about you. This will make it easier for them to do the same.
Needless to say, if you can’t trust your partner enough to do that, it is probably not the time to think about marriage.
23. Do we know how to deal with each other’s “negative” sides?
You can’t live without your dogs. But your girlfriend would rather die than live with them.
You’re a devil incarnate when you’re angry.
You’re struggling with a bad spending habit.
We all have our negative aspects. If you’re thinking about making a lifelong commitment to someone it’s crucial to understand and develop strategies to deal with each other’s less-than-desirable traits.
Make a conscious decision to go (or not to go) pet-less for the rest of your life for a partner who’s allergic to your pets. Make your peace with the problematic spending habits of your significant other before you decide to take the plunge.
It takes time to understand and deal with things we don’t like about our partners. And until and unless you’ve spent that time, you’re not ready to make a decision on marriage.
24. Do we admire and respect each other?
Intelligence? Simplicity? A caring heart? A strong common interest? Is there something in him/her which genuinely complements you in ways more than one?
Falling in love with someone “for no particular reason” is great for the heady period of infatuation but not nearly enough for the everyday reality of marriage.
Ask yourselves whether you admire each other for the special individuals that you are and the unique qualities that you both possess.
Marriage is a long – sometimes boring, but stable – commitment. It cannot be based on whether someone is exciting to you. It has to be about finding long-term fulfilment and happiness in the individuals that you are.
25. Am I ready to think of him/her as a parent of my children?
You love your partner like mad? Great. But do you also respect them? Are you proud of them?
Remember, your legacy to this world will be as much a part of you as of him/her.
Unless it fills your heart with joy to think of them as a parent of your children, you should probably think about that marriage thing again. In this regard it’s important to take not only your significant other, but also their family into account. Your child will carry as much of your genes as theirs. Is that something that makes you happy?
Marriage is a decision that will change your life, one way or the other.
Keeping a few basic principles in mind and asking the right questions will make sure you steer clear of pitfalls that often contribute to divorce.