The royal wedding is days away and the most popular month to get married is right around the corner. If you’re considering marriage, you might be getting swept away with honeymoon venues and cake flavors. But is the person you’re vowing to share your life with forever the right person? There is a myth many couples believe when they walk down the aisle, particularly women. That myth is that you can change your partner after you’re married. Not only is it a myth but trying to change your partner is destructive to your marriage. It’s more likely that problems will get worse after marriage – often because these issues are swept under the rug or avoided.
Every marriage has problems and that’s completely normal. Marriage is all about acknowledging these problems and working through them together. However, if your marriage lacks any of the qualities below, you’re going to have a very hard time working through those issues. These qualities are essential for a long-term relationship:
Commitment. Do you feel that this person is 100% committed to you? Has this person proven that they are committed to you while dating? Without commitment, a person will flee at the first hint of a marital struggle. Make note of times you’ve broken up during dating because this can be a red flag for commitment issues.
Shared values. Shared values must match for a marriage to grow and evolve. A marriage must have a mission and vision. Feeling as though your partner respects your beliefs is crucial.
Friendship. The right person likes being with you and wants to support your development, knowing you will change over the years. Is your partner emotionally supportive? You’ll know you’re marrying the right person if they support you but are not afraid to tell you the truth. You should not look to a partner to make you happy; however, you should feel happier and more fulfilled with them.
Communication. The right person doesn’t need you to agree on all topics, but they need to be able to talk to you openly about anything. Having different opinions then your partner is a good thing in marriage. However, fighting for your opinion or needing to convince your partner to agree with you is a red flag. Marry someone you can be transparent with – someone who doesn’t need you to agree with them to love, cherish, and honor you. The right person wants what’s best for your marriage and will be willing to get marital help to resolve challenging issues.
Trust and honesty. The right person does not need to monitor your cell phone or friends. Anyone who is going to share their life with you should want you to continue your personal growth and not exclude or isolate you from your friends or family. If they are jealous about your friends or family, I would resolve this issue prior to marriage.
Premarital counseling helps couples resolve issues so they don’t destroy the marriage after the wedding. Many couples overlook this step and decide they’ll work it out as they go, contributing to the high divorce rate. If you feel uneasy or like something is a red flag in your relationship, listen to your gut. Waiting until after you’re married to address a big issue, such as the following, is often futile:
Emotional attachments to an ex
History of addiction (drugs, alcohol, pornography, sex, gambling, or food)
Inability to honestly communicate feelings and needs
In the famous words of marriage therapist Frank Pitman, “Marriage isn’t supposed to make you happy – it’s supposed to make you married.” Set your expectations so they’re realistic and focus on being a good partner; derive your happiness from pleasing and growing with each other.