Whether you’ve been with your significant other for several years or several months, getting married is a huge deal. In addition to all the excitement surrounding your engagement, you might be wondering if you’re seeing signs you’re ready for marriage.
But the idea of “being ready for marriage” can mean different things for different people, experts explain. “From a counseling perspective, being ready for marriage means that two people have the ability to, at important times, put their individual preferences aside for the sake of the marriage,” says Julienne Derichs, licensed clinical social worker in Chicago. What’s important to you and to your partner might be different than the couple sitting at the table next to you when you’re out to dinner, but the key is that you and your partner are on the same page.
It’s also important that you and your partner are happy with who each of you is on an individual level, as well as you each of you is in your relationship.
To help you boost your confidence before you walk down the aisle and say “I do,” here are some key signs you’re ready for marriage.
You’re ready to commit
“Commitment is a skill—it's not a muscle that only applies to relationships and marriage,” explains explains Paulette Sherman, Psy.D., psychologist, director of My Dating & Relationship School and author of Dating from the Inside Out. In other words, there may be some hard times behind you, and there certainly will be hard times ahead, but if you’re ready to navigate the sometimes difficult and uncharted territories of life together, these are signs you’re ready for marriage. “You are ready to be married if you can keep your promises, work through hard challenges without bailing, have patience and fortitude and discipline,” she says. “There will probably be days that you don't like your partner and may not wish to be married, but if you can source your commitment, you can make it through those hard times.”
You know (and like) yourself
Though you might be used to focusing on all the things you like (and love) about your partner, but experts urge that, when it comes to a long-term partnership, it’s just as important to focus on all the things you love about yourself. Your significant other shouldn’t complete you, but rather add to the happiness you’ve already found in life, explains Dr, Sherman. “This puts less pressure on the other person to give you a viable life and a reason for living or to make you continually happy,” she says.
You’re able to care for yourself
One of the most essential signs you’re ready for marriage is that you’re able to support yourself. While marriage is a source of reliance on the other spouse, neither partner should rely fully on the other person without the ability to care for him or herself, explains Dr. Sherman. “You should know how to support yourself financially as well as emotionally and spiritually,” she says. “This way, if you have a family and your partner becomes ill or paralyzed, you can take over with certain roles and keep things going.”