The Five Essential Elements of Marriage Readiness
The following is a guest post by Sylvia Smith. Her bio follows.
“How can we be sure when we are ready to get married?” This is a good question and of course there is no single guaranteed watertight answer. Every couple is unique and different, so it all depends on your personal circumstances, your values and your beliefs. But there are some very good basic guidelines which hold true across the board, and these five essential elements are an excellent starting point when it comes to knowing whether or not you are ready for marriage. If you can give a positive tick to all five of these elements in your relationship, you are probably well on your way to celebrating your wedding day.
The element of conflict resolution
If you haven’t had at least two serious disagreements yet, you better wait a while. The way you and your partner handle your conflicts will probably be the most defining factor as to your future happiness together. And don’t think there won’t be too many conflicts to worry about.
In any normal healthy relationship between two human beings who decide to share every aspect of their lives in close proximity, there are bound to be quite a few differences to iron out. Maybe you come from a background where conflicts are swept under the carpet with a “least said soonest mended” attitude, while your beloved is used to belting out every grievance as and when it happens. You will seriously have to sit down and figure out how the two of you are going to approach this element of conflict resolution together.
Once you have a plan in place, make sure you give it enough time to see how it works in a real life situation. If your partner shows any signs whatsoever of a “my way or the highway” attitude, walk away while you can, the sooner the better.
The element of testing
Your relationship will be tested in many and varied ways. This may include things like sickness, family relationships, or pressure at work. Having a long-distance relationship can also put strain on a relationship if you live in different cities or states. If you have weathered some of the storms of life together, you will have a much more realistic view of how you each handle such situations.
Going through tough times together can either strengthen your relationship and draw you closer together, or it can sap your relationship to such an extent that you drift apart. Either way it’s good to know and it will give you a much better idea as to whether marriage is for you two or not. A relationship that has successfully navigated the element of testing and has stood the test of time and tide before marriage has a good chance of continuing in like manner after marriage.
The element of humor
Do you make each other laugh? And do you enjoy watching the same kind of comedies together? Life can be serious enough so having a good sense of humor is essential.
The healing properties of laughter are well known, in fact they say laughter is the best medicine. So whatever life and marriage may throw at you, if you can laugh about it together you are bound to go far. It’s also important to be able to laugh at yourself, showing your vulnerability and humility by realizing that you are far from perfect. But sharing the funny side together in a loving and open way is vastly different from laughing at someone and making fun of them.
If you find yourself taking the brunt of your partner’s jokes, or if you feel ‘put down’ in any way, it is probably a sign that you may need to get yourself free from that relationship. Before you decide to marry someone be sure that the element of humor is alive and well in your relationship.
The element of companionship
At the end of the day we are all looking for a best friend and companion. Someone we can bare our souls to without reservation, someone that we feel completely comfortable with in every way. If you have a relationship where you both know each other’s backgrounds and personal history, and you still accept and respect one another, then you have made a very good start.
Maybe you still have those niggling little doubts and questions in your mind such as, “I wonder if he would still love me if he knew about this or that…?” It is better to get all those things out in the open before you tie the knot – even if it means the end of the relationship. You would rather be with someone who accepts you “warts and all” than being with someone that you have to hide parts of yourself away from. Companionship also includes sharing similar interests and doing things together. If your preferences are too different you may end up living separate lives. If the element of companionship is not fully intact in your relationship, you may not be ready for marriage.
The element of common goals
A marriage partner is your travelling companion on this journey of life. If you decide to travel together you need to be going in the same direction. If your partner’s goal is to live in the city centre and succeed in the corporate world, while your goal is to quietly settle in the countryside and raise a family, then you may not be meant for each other. Before making a marriage commitment you would need to thoroughly discuss the important questions such as whether or not you want children and how many. If you have children, how will you discipline them, and what faith, if any, will they be taught.
Besides your goals in life, your values and beliefs also play a vital role in whether or not your relationship is destined for marriage. If you have common or compatible goals and your values and beliefs are aligned, you may just have a match made in heaven.
Sylvia Smith is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com, a reliable resource to support healthy, happy marriages. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Google+ and Pinterest.