So, you’ve found the person you believe you want to spend all your time, maybe even the rest of your life, with. You think about that idea often and begin to wonder if you’ll ever get married and when you would get married. Although others feel differently about this, and I don’t have the exact data to provide in this post, I will give my opinion based on logic, experience, and the limited amount I have learned about lasting relationships.

1) Talk About It
If you have been thinking about marriage, you need to talk about it with your partner. They aren’t mind readers. I mean, probably not. You need to tell them how you feel about marriage, ask them their opinion, and if both of you see marriage in your future. If you conclude at some point that marriage is a good option, you would also need to discuss when you both would be ready for that step. This would include waiting until you are financially stable, living together, educated, in a steady career, etc. Another discussion may be regarding last names. Some people want to take their partner’s last name, and some of us want to keep our given last name. These conversations about life changing decisions are all about patience, compromise, and preparation.

2) Give It Time
I know many people disagree with me on this portion of the subject of marriage, but I stand by it. I think it is always wise to give yourself plenty of time to make any important life decisions, like whether you want to get married at all and if this person is the one you want to spend your life with. Spend time with each other for a few years, learn more about each other, and it will become increasingly more clear if you could put up with this one person for a lifetime. Are they constantly leaving toothpaste in the sink? Do they take care of you when you’re sick? Depending on how long you spend with them, you will begin to obtain answers to the questions that are most important to you.

3) Look at The Future
Where do you want to live? Do you want children? Does your partner want the same? If you don’t fully agree right now, that’s okay, especially if you are young! Give it more time, have the conversation later, and see if these thoughts and beliefs line up. This will at least help you see if you are both on the same page.

4) Is Marriage Right for You?
I previous mentioned the option of not getting married at all, and I want to clarify that this does not mean separating from the person you are with, but living as a married couple without the legal papers claiming to have completed a marriage ceremony. Marriage isn’t as necessary as it used to be. You don’t have to be married to show that you love someone dearly. You don’t have to get married to make someone a beneficiary on your life insurance. You don’t have to get married to adopt a cat. And you damn sure don’t have to get married to please anybody else. Get married because you want to, not because it’s tradition, what you should do, or because you feel pressure. Do it because you think that it is something that will benefit both of you!

5) Make Sure You Are Ready
Whatever you choose to do, make sure it is what is right for both of you. Are you ready to spend money on a ring, dress, and wedding, if you choose to have one? Are you ready to move away from the constant questions of when you’re getting married to if/when you’re going to have kids? There are pros and cons to both, so it is up to the two of you to decide what you want to do, but don’t rush into anything until you think you’re ready. There is nothing wrong is waiting and being prepared.

I know that everything I mentioned seems more logical than emotional, which is how many people decide to get married, but you must first have a solid foundation. I often hear the phrase “when you know, you know”. However, if I got married when I thought I “knew”, I would have been married before my twentieth birthday. Many people lead with their hearts, but we must think about it strategically as well. Do what makes you both happy and successful.

I’m sure there are many more things to consider than I have provided in this list. Is there anything you would add? Let me know in the comments!

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