Sad to say, marriages, these days, are no longer the happily-ever-after deal as they were, say, a hundred years ago.Thanks to the ease of divorce, people are now saying their vows fully aware that they always have the choice to opt-out later if things go awry.
It is no wonder then, that an astonishing 41% of first-time marriages end in divorce in the United States alone. This could be attributed to a greater moral decline, or perhaps, a population more inclined to act on impulse with people gung-ho enough to make commitments without fully knowing what exactly they are committing to.
With these worrisome facts in mind, it is, therefore, necessary to know what it is exactly you are getting yourself into when you get married. After all, there’s more to marriage than romance and babies and mortgages and bank accounts. Consider these factors to find out if your partner is, in fact, somebody you would really like to ride off into the sunset with:
“WHEN WE’RE HUNGRY, LOVE WILL KEEP US ALIVE.”
Actually, no, it won’t. Probably the leading cause of divorce these days is the financial instability of the conjugal partnership. It’s hard to concentrate on love when you have Cup Noodles for dinner for the nth night in a row, and your house is being foreclosed on. Take a look at your finances and see if you are stable enough to support an entirely new life with someone who may even be dependent on you for support. On top of that, marriage is a legal contract; it binds you and your individual assets and liabilities together. As unromantic as it may sound, this is a potentially loaded gun, so figuring out a financial arrangement that you are both comfortable with well in advance is strongly advised.
WILL YOU BE HER “KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR”, OR WILL SHE BE WEARING THE PANTS?
Some women need and want to be saved over and over from every little thing—or, at least, to have someone to blame for all her woes. If a woman can’t seem to accept the notion of responsibility, run the other way. Otherwise, she’ll start seeing you, her husband, as the source of all her problems. You don’t want to become her emotional punching bag, do you?
On the reverse side of this equation are women who do not want to be dependent on their men and may even outperform them in various aspects. Will your manly pride be able to take THAT kind of assault?
DO YOU REALLY KNOW HER?
Infidelity, the second most common reason for divorce, is when a married partner chooses to pursue a relationship with someone other than his/her spouse, usually claiming that they have a “better connection” with this person. You’ll be surprised by the sheer number of people who get married—only to find out later that they’ve married a complete stranger. Do you know her, inside and out? Do you know her hopes, dreams, and goals? Can you anticipate her moods, reactions, and quirks more than half the time? Do you accept her, warts and all? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, it might not be a good idea to get married.
HOW INTIMATE CAN YOU GET?
Let’s not mince words: of course, the bedroom matters! The absence of intimacy has led to many a marital deaths. It may take a while before you smoothen out the rough edges in your lovemaking, but the question is: do you see the possibility of this happening? When the first flush of passion has come and gone, will you be able to sustain a healthy desire for each other?
On the other side of the spectrum, do know that good bedroom chemistry doesn’t translate to compatibility? You don’t really spend every minute doing the horizontal mambo, so do consider the rest of your time together. If you’ve got nothing to say to each other more than half the time, you might as well kiss the possibility of marriage goodbye.
SHOULD RELIGION BE A FACTOR?
Religion is more than just belief in God; it comes with a lot of behavioral and cultural norms. Studies show that deeply religious people tend to stay in marriages largely out of secular obligation. Do remember that marriage is also more than just saying romantic vows in front of an altar. It is, therefore, a good idea to get married because you both believe in marriage—and not only because The Bible says so.
DOES SHE THINK BEYOND HER OWN NEEDS?
And how needy is she? If the most-used words in her vocabulary are ‘me’, ‘I’, and all the first personals, take the time to think how this will affect YOU. A little self-love is a good thing, especially self-esteem wise. Too much of it, however, is never a good thing. After all, nobody wants to marry a drama queen.
With that said, you also have to consider: can she be left alone? Spending every waking moment with someone looks good in a Nicholas Sparks novel, but you know you’re not living in one. You need time to be a “man’s man”—that’s a given. The question is: will she let you? With no strings attached? With no phone call every 15 minutes to find out when you’re coming home? If she sees your free time as time stolen from her, hightail it out of there, pronto!
WHAT DOES EVERYONE ELSE THINK OF HER?
Unless you are going to live in a remote cabin or a secluded little cave where there is nobody else around, you may want to find out if she is willing and able to get along with the people already in your life. It may not end your relationship, but it can be stressful for everyone if she won’t even try. Remember that you are likely looking at her through rose-colored lenses, for the most part, so it’s always a good idea to get second—or even third—opinions.
Does she respect you? If she’s constantly putting you down, you might be better off keeping your distance. And conversely, do you respect her? If you’re constantly putting her down, don’t be surprised if she keeps her distance.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU AGREE?
Conflict can make or break relationships. Suffice it to say, it is important that you are both on the same page for most of the big decisions, as well as some of the smaller ones.
Like every major life decision, you need to be properly informed to make an educated choice. Marriage is no different. And like every major life decision, the choice lies with you and you alone. That is why there are so many unlikely couples in the world.
Billy Joel said it all: “You may be right, I may be crazy. But it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for.”