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Hi, my name is Kat Robey. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor. I work for Thriveworks in the beautiful city of Tucson, Arizona. The question is, “How do I know if I’m ready for marriage?” A great question. The fact that you’re asking is a good sign.

The first thing that I would say needs to be considered is how much do you like just you before there’s any partner involved. How well do you like spending time with you? How often of the time might you be changing yourself or your opinions or your behaviors or your ideas in order to be accepted? If those kinds of things are happening, especially in your relationship, that would be something to work through.

Another thing to think about is what it will mean to be married. What does that represent for you? Because marriage is typically the next step in something that’s already pretty great and some people will see marriage as an accomplishment or as the thing that their family will be happy about. Those are not necessarily great reasons to be married.

Another thing to think about is that marriage sometimes is held over the relationship a little bit, used as a threat or, “If we don’t get married, I’m going to leave,” and while that might be important in some phases and some relationships to say, “Wow, we’ve been doing this for a while, I don’t think I can stay any longer unless we’re going to get married.” That’s a great conversation. That’s a healthy conversation.

But the other kinds of conversations is what I’m really talking about. “If we’re not getting married, I’m outta here,” or “I’m angry and we’re never getting married.” Those kinds of things. If those are happening, that’s a piece of data to be aware of. Also, if you like the other person for who they are, you celebrate their interests even if they’re not your own or you celebrate and continue to do your interests. Even if you’re a partner or your future spouse is not as interested.

Again, how do you show up completely in yourself so that you can bring your whole self into a marriage? It’s definitely a lot to consider and a logical next step. Like I said, for a healthy relationship, if you also recognize that you don’t want to change your partner, that’s a great thing. Sometimes people will say, “well, once we’re married, this will need to change and this’ll need to change and you’ll need to stop doing this or that.”

And again, there might be contexts where those conversations happen, but if it’s about changing the other person so that you can be more okay in the relationship, that’s not necessarily the kind of marriage that’s going to end up strong and fruitful.

So those are some things to consider as you’re moving toward marriage. But I think a really big one is what does marriage mean to you? What will happen if you don’t get married? Are you just checking to see if you feel you’re mature enough to enter a marriage, to be that committed and dedicated to one person?

That’s a great way of thinking. That’s a great thing to be curious about and to kind of experiment with. You know, another piece of this is how willing are you to see your own flaws or to say, “I’m sorry,” when you goof something up or you weren’t as honest as you could have been, or you made some sort of mistake. Relationships are 50/50. Not just an effort, but it means, “I have to look at what I am contributing to what’s not working as much as I’m willing to look at my partner and see how they’re not contributing to what’s working.”

So being really honest with yourself, liking yourself, liking your partner before you even love and move forward toward marriage. Those are really foundational things that can lead toward a great, grounded, forever marriage.