On the list of questions that have plagued mankind for as long as we can remember, one of the most universal is, “How do I know if I should marry the person I’m dating?”
If you’re thinking about taking the plunge into marriage, it takes more than just liking your girlfriend better than anyone else you’ve dated. To truly sharing your life with someone and stay happy in your marriage, you both need to be compatible in a variety of ways.
While every relationship is different, here are some guidelines on how to know she is the one.
How to Know if Your Girlfriend is the Person You Should Marry
You may be in love with your girlfriend, but despite what romantic comedies think, that isn’t all it takes to make a lastingly joyful marriage. If you’re trying to decide if you’re ready, here’s a checklist to help.
1. You’ve Talked About Marriage
Lawyers have a saying for courtroom testimonies: never ask a question you don’t already know the answer to. That’s true when it comes to proposing marriage, too.
Yes, sometimes proposals are more romantic when she doesn’t see it coming. But the proposal should be a surprise in the moment; she shouldn’t be shocked that you want to marry her.
When your relationship starts to get serious, start talking about your future. Make sure you’re both on the same page about marriage and whether you want a life together.
PS: Don’t emulate Chandler and Monica in Friends and try to throw her off the scent by pretending you might break up with her.
2. She’s the First Person You Turn To…Always
Let’s say you just learned you’re getting a promotion at work. Who’s the first person you want to tell? On the opposite end of the spectrum, when you find out about the loss of a loved one, who’s the first person to look to for comfort?
Your partner in marriage is your partner in life, so she should be the first person you think of “in good times and in bad.” That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a close relationship with other friends too, but she should always be your #1.
3. You Genuinely Enjoy Spending Time With Her (Beyond Sex)
It’s become a bit of a cliche to say you should marry your best friend, but it’s true. Your girlfriend should make everything more fun, from a night out to a day of household chores.
Too many couples think of spending time together as an obligation, and they have more fun with their friends than with their spouse. If you think you need to go outside your marriage to have fun, your relationship may not be “marriage material.”
For many couples, it helps you have common interests with your spouse, like hobbies and past-times you can do together. But couples with different interests can still have great fun together, and you can introduce each other to your passions as well.
3. You Talk About Everything
It sounds like something every marriage therapist says on repeat, but communication truly is the key to knowing if you’re with the right person.
There are a few important reasons communication will tell you if she’s the one. First of all, it gives you a chance to find out if you’re compatible on many levels. For instance, if you’re someone who values financial security, you don’t want to wait until your honeymoon to find out your new wife has spent herself into five or six digits of debt and has no intention to scale back.
Second, you need to find out if you’re both comfortable enough to be honest with each other. If she’s going to be your partner in life, you need to be able to tell her when work isn’t going well or when you’re concerned about your health.
4. You’re on the Same Page about a Future Family
Some couples shy away from talking about whether or not they want kids. They might think the issue is too far in the future to worry about, or they may just assume their partner has the same expectations they do.
Unfortunately, the argument over whether or not to have kids has broken apart many couples. In decades passed, having children was an assumption in marriage. But today, more and more couples don’t feel a desire to be parents.
Whether or not you want kids, you both need to be on the same page, and never assume anyone will change his/her mind. This doesn’t mean you have to know for sure whether you want kids. It just means that if you’re undecided, she should be too.
5. You Have Healthy Arguments
Some people are under the mistaken impression that the less you fight, the stronger your relationship is. Sure, it’s not a good sign if you’re in a full-fledged fight every day. But strong couples get into arguments too – they just do it in a healthy way.
A healthy fight in a relationship stays on topic. Don’t start insulting your partner; stick to the actual problem and explain why you’re upset. Remember never to avoid an important discussion just because you don’t want to argue. We promise you that it will come back to bite you later.
6. You Don’t Look at Other People as Potential Mates
According to the American Psychological Association, 42% of divorced people admit to at least one affair. But even being tempted to cheat or looking at attractive people as potential mates could be a sign that you aren’t ready for marriage.
Clearly, you don’t become blind when you’re in a relationship. But if you’re truly committed to someone and satisfied in your relationship, you can simply notice that someone is attractive without getting that little feeling in your stomach that makes you want to pursue them.
Is Your Relationship Ready for Marriage?
Everyone tells you that it takes work to make a marriage work, but if you marry the right person, that “work” will come naturally. The tips above can guide you about how to know if she is the one and if you’re ready for marriage.
For more great tips for a healthy, joy-filled marriage, check out our relationship advice blog.