by Suzanne Muller
1. You only want to focus on one person.
You’ve dated different people, maybe a lot of people. Dating can be exhilarating, yet jumping from person to person can be exhausting. Relationships take time, effort and energy. I knew I was ready to get married when I wanted to solely focus on him. I was fed up with dating games. I realized that I would rather give my undivided attention to this relationship and have him be the center of my heart than try to give little bits of me here and there.
2. Your family and friends can see how happy you are with this person.
Your friends and family have known you the longest and know you best. You will be able to feel if they like who you are as a couple together. You want friends and family to bless your marriage. There were a handful people whose permission I requested. They gave me a big fat “yes.” One said, “I would marry you myself right now if I could.” That’s when I really knew I had their undivided support of our union.
3. Your heart says “go.”
In addition to the green light from family and friends, your heart will feel at peace about being married. You may still be nervous, but deep down you recognize that you are well-equipped for the adventure of marriage. It is a gut feeling and instinct that only you have about what’s next for your relationship. My mom always tells me, “When your head, your heart and your gut are all aligned then it’s right, and not until then.” Aren’t moms great?
4. You’re a little nervous about committing to marriage.
Being married is a commitment that should not be taken lightly. If you are nervous, that’s all right. It’s actually a good thing. It shows you care, and the commitment is important. I was nervous the night before my wedding. I had some doubts and even wondered if I was making the right choice, but when I said, “I do,” I meant it. I actually told him that I would not meet him at the altar if I had any doubts that were unaddressed. We had many long, deep conversations before we walked down the aisle. Honestly, I wasn’t nervous at all on the day of my wedding. Having talked through our concerns made declaring our vows to each other even more pure and sweet.
5. You have gained the skills to work through the bumps in the road.
Disagreements and arguments are inevitable (and healthy) in relationships. You have to develop the ability to resolve issues to completion. An issue will linger when you don’t iron it out as a couple. You may be tempted to use it against each other later, which leads to bigger problems. Clearing up issues can be fast and easy if you have a set of tools that works for both of you. These skills—speaking your truth, apologizing and listening to each other’s viewpoint—are a must before saying “I do.”
6. Saying “I’m sorry” is easy.
It can be so simple. Yet, why is it so hard to say you’re sorry? If you cannot say it, you may be destined for divorce if you decide to marry anyway. That’s the reality. I knew I was ready to be married when I could easily say, “I’m sorry for being a jerk.” Think again if you believe apologizing gives away your power⎯it’s quite the opposite. Things will get under your skin or hit a nerve sometimes. It’s human. Being attached to being right only causes distance and friction, the opposite of the love, affection and fun that you truly desire. When you can truthfully and authentically say, “I’m sorry,” you’ll have a skill that’s needed in a long-term marriage.
7. You’ve learned how to be transparent.
Transparent? Eeek! Yes, meaning all your cards are on the table. Nothing is withheld. Nada. You can talk with your future husband or wife about anything: kids, cleanliness, money, sex, travel, dreams, work, family, politics and religion. Until you can easily disclose your true feelings about these subjects, I recommend you stay in a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. There is a big difference between, “What is your favorite color,” and, “Would you like to have children?” You must discuss the important areas before you tie the knot. You won’t agree on everything. It just means you are willing to talk openly so there are no surprises.
8. Life with this person is better than without.
Three years ago when I started dating my husband, I knew there was something different about him. As time went on, our togetherness had a certain flow. He made my life better and brought something to it that no other man ever had. I didn’t want him to get away. I wanted what he brought to my life. Did he make me nuts at times, and vice versa? Surely. Do I do things that make him crazy? Absolutely! Could I have gone out and met someone else? Yes. Could he? Of course. I never thought I would get married. I thought I could be happy in a healthy dating relationship, but something shifted. It was time, and I could authentically give my word to him. My heart, my gut and my head were aligned. I could yell from the rooftop that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him, I could build a life with him, and I wanted him all to myself.
If you can identify these signs for yourself as you’re considering tying the knot, you are on a wonderful path to marrying the right person for you. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly. Being confident that you feel ready for this lifelong commitment will give you an excellent chance of living happily ever after with a partner.