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.
They weren’t ready for the right evaluations (of themselves and their partners) and couldn’t anticipate the profound change that marriage would bring to their lives.
Are you thinking of getting married? In that case, have you made a careful assessment of your relationship to check if it is marriage-ready?
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 six.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.