This is a question that plagues most people at some point in a long-term (or even short-term) relationship. Are you ready to take it to the next level and pledge the rest of your life to another person? Even if you’re in love, it can be a difficult concept to wrap your mind around. And whether you and your significant other start discussing the possibility after six months or six years, you may not have a ready answer. So if you’re hesitant to tie the knot, here are a few things to consider before you buy the ring (or alternately, accept it).
1. Age. Everyone says this shouldn’t matter, but it does. With one in three marriages ending in divorce these days, you really need to think about how long the rest of your life actually is. If you’re under 30 (or even if you’re older), just remember that there’s no rush. And keep in mind that mental age doesn’t always match physical age. Until you really know yourself, you can’t possibly hope to know what you want from a partner.
2. Personal goals. If you’ve been planning to study abroad since you were in high school, think about how you might feel if you let your dream fall by the wayside in favor of getting hitched. Somewhere down the road, you may end up regretting your rash decision to choose love over your long-term plans (especially once the honeymoon phase ends).
3. Relationship goals. You need to sit down and have a long talk with your honey to determine if your lives are headed in the same direction. If one of you wants kids and the other doesn’t, that could be a deal-breaker. Perhaps you have very different career goals (you want to travel while your partner would rather stay put). Or you might be planning for a six-figure salary, a home, and a heavy investment portfolio while the love of your life is content to work at a convenience store. These types of disparities can ruin a relationship over time, so try to spot them before you say “I Do”.
4. Lust versus love. Falling in love is a fantastic feeling that most of us would like to preserve forever. Unfortunately, the feeling will fade and then you’re actually going to have to live with this person. So unless you have a deeper love that includes mutual respect and genuine
companionship (rather than simple lust), you’re going to wind up with a problem down the road.
5. Hesitation. If you’re hesitating at all (whether the reasons are obvious or not), you probably aren’t ready. Take a step back and try to evaluate why you’re reluctant to walk down the aisle. You might find that you just need more time, or it may be that the one you’re with simply isn’t THE ONE.