Fifty years ago, there would be no question of when is the right time to get married. If you were over 18, had met a man and fallen in love, the next customary step would be a walk down the aisle. This was one of the ways to insure regular sex and economic prosperity that comes with combined resources and clear delineation of gender roles.
But today, men and women have many options: They can date, cohabit, focus on their careers, and even procreate, all without the legal entanglements of marriage.
But while the choices may be out there, the outcomes are very clear. Research shows that the best time to get married is long before a woman’s biological clock starts tolling and long before a man gets addicted to the free sex available in our high-supply sexual economy.
It’s also still the best way to create healthy outcomes for kids (the majority of cohabiting parents break up before the oldest child turns 12.)
If you’ve got a mate, here are some questions to ask yourself before tying the knot:
1. Do you trust this person?
Relationships are built around trust. Lack of trust is toxic for a relationship.
If you’re going to spend the rest of your life with someone, be sure that you can completely trust him or her. Not just now, but down the road, and with your children.
Look at their past relationships and their behavior patterns. From this you can probably gauge whether they will be loyal and faithful years from now.
Cheating is the number one reason for divorce, and if you don’t trust your partner now, chances are that’s not going to drastically change after the wedding bells have rung.
“Make sure you take a good look at yourself, your partner
and the future that you both plan to share together.”
2. Are you and your partner financially prepared for marriage?
It’s crucial that you’re aware of any debt, student loans or mortgages that you may take on post wedding nuptials. One of the biggest threats to marriages today is finances.
It’s important to be open and honest with your partner about where you stand financially before you sign that marriage license. This discussion may not seem like fun but it will be worth having.
Agreeing on things, from day-to-day money management to how your money may be spent in the future, is key. Many couples think that their partner is financially responsible until taking a closer look. It’s best to figure out your money issues before walking down the aisle.
3. Are you marrying because you’re under pressure?
Our culture today may not glamorize marriage as much as it used to but there are still countless sources of pressure to get married. Whether it’s parents, siblings or close friends, we all feel a little pressure to get hitched when we’re not even sure if we’re ready.
Something to ask yourself is “Would I still want to get married now if I wasn’t facing all of this social pressure?” If you answer no to this question, you may want to re-think that engagement.
Couples who have long engagements do not necessarily have the best marriage outcomes. Postponing a wedding is usually due to an issue that hasn’t been resolved. Don’t talk yourself into marriage. Period.
4. Are you waiting too long?
Social pressure aside, plenty of young men and women are afraid to settle down with one person because they think they may be passing up a bigger, better deal in the future.
For women, this resistance to commitment has made many wait too long and play Russian Roulette with their fertility window. One in five American women over 40 do not get to become mothers, and that statistic has risen by 80 percent in the last decade.
If you have a perfectly good enough mate, making the commitment before it’s too late is a jump you may have to take.
Remember that you are planning your marriage, not just your wedding. Marriage is not about tasting cakes and wedding dress shopping. Make sure you take a good look at yourself, your partner and the future that you both plan to share together.