The dating game can be tough, so when you meet someone and it simply clicks, it's no surprise that you'd want to commit to a lifetime together. Unfortunately, a relationship going well isn't the one and only indicator that you're ready for marriage. So, how can you know? If you had a crystal ball—and you believed that it would work—you’d gaze into its depths and ask but one question: "Should I get married?"
Determining whether you’re ready for marriage is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make. To help, we spoke to relationship expert Pareen Sehat, MC, RCC, to learn the 15 signs you’re ready to tie the knot.
Meet the Expert
Pareen Sehat, MC, RCC, is the clinical director of Well Beings Counseling. She is a registered counselor with the BCACC.
You trust your partner.
The ability to trust one another is the foundation of any successful relationship. Without it, you may have love, but your marriage will be fraught with tension. "This is so significant," explains Sehat. "Think of any healthy relationship in your life, from significant other to a business partnership. Is there trust there?"
Your goals align.
Our lives rarely follow one straight road —they wind and twist and turn. Do you know where you’re headed? And, more importantly, have you had the talk with your partner. "It's hard to be on the same page when you’re moving in different directions," says Sehat. "You don’t need to have the same goals but if you can support each other for the benefit of the relationship then you're in a good place. Being open and honest about this from the beginning can avoid a lot of frustration down the road."
You feel safe with them.
Feeling safe and secure in the relationship will save you years of heartache when you’re married. "The foundation of this starts with lack of judgment," says Sehat. "Can you be yourself around this individual? If you are trying your best to be someone else, I would encourage you to imagine what that would feel like for years to come. The influence on your self-esteem and anxiety this could produce."
You have seen hard times.
Chances are, you will face some stumbling blocks in life, so it's important to consider whether or not you and your partner are prepared to battle them hand-in-hand. "Yes, unproblematic love and joy in a relationship can be a beautiful thing," says Sehat. "However, tackling a difficult goal together can build so much strength and trust in a marriage."
You want a marriage not a wedding.
If you’re dreaming of walking down the aisle and sharing those vows, do you ever picture what happens next? The wedding is a celebration, however, your marriage needs to be strong enough to last a lifetime. "Can you see a future with this person past your wedding date?" asks Sehat. "Do you imagine growing old with them?" Be completely honest with yourself here.
Your family likes your partner.
Introducing a new partner to your family is a huge step. While you don’t want to base your decision on what your family thinks, their opinions may sway whether you marry. "Although we have no control over this factor, it can be very important," says Sehat. "Your family's acceptance of your partner can help facilitate the most healthy version of your marriage. It often takes time to get there. Be patient, they are building trust too!"
You like your partner.
"This may seem like an obvious point, so let’s clarify," says Sehat. Like and love is not the same. You can be entirely infatuated with someone, but that doesn’t mean anything if you don’t like and respect them. "We have established that you love them but do you like who they are?" she asks. "Do you admire them? Do you enjoy their company?" Take a step back and really think about these questions.
You can afford to get married.
Saying "I do" is not cheap. "A wedding is most likely your first significant endeavor as a couple," explains Sehat. "If you can’t afford the wedding of your dreams right now, take some time to save for this and avoid financial strain right off the bat."
You talk openly about the future.
Where do you see things heading, honestly? "Are you open to having conversations with your partner about the future?" asks Sehat. "If you are, it means that you see them as a part of that future. It also shows that you’re not afraid to spend your life with them and are ready for marriage."
You like who you are around them.
Notice how you act and feel when you are around your partner. Is it a version of yourself that you like? "A compatible partner can bring out the best in you," says Sehat. "They push you to become a better version of yourself and can encourage a positive outlook on life."
You both put effort into the relationship.
Are you playing a one-sided game of table tennis? If you’re putting all the work in and getting little in return, you might want to put a hold on the wedding bells. "A successful marriage is never one-sided," says Sehat. "When both parties are willing to put in the work it is a good sign that you are ready for marriage."
You have your own lives.
The best relationships are the ones in which partners can move apart and come back together again. "Marriage is not about losing your individuality," advises Sehat. "You can pursue your own interests, have your own hobbies, have your own friends, and you can have a healthy marriage."
You can talk about finances.
Money is always a big issue. "Probably the least romantic, but most important point," says Sehat. "Both you and your partner should be comfortable discussing finances and coming up with a suitable budget, not just for the wedding but for your life. This shows that you’re ready to manage a household and a marriage." It may not be comfortable but sit down and talk about this pronto.
You’re doing it for the right reasons.
Before you pop the question, check in with yourself. What is motivating this decision? "Sadly, the most obvious and common reasons are not exactly motivated by the nicest things," says Sehat. "Acquiring wealth, unplanned pregnancies, immigration, or even justification of your commitment after a big mistake."
You’re in it for the long haul.
Do you see this relationship lasting a lifetime? "Deep and instantaneous infatuation, or a pleasant obsession, is often confused for love," says Sehat. "You may find yourself trying to beat the clock with this fading flame. Marrying quickly may be a desperate act to hold onto this intoxicating feeling."