Then there’s marriage, yes, one of the BIGGEST decisions you will make in life. Joining yourself up to another person for the rest of your life is the riskiest business ever!
Are there some guidelines? Can one enter marriage being;
Although you are not guaranteed a happy, divorce-proof marriage – wisely PREPARING, greatly enhances your chances, towards the most exciting phase of your life.
Related article: OUR MARRIAGE WAS NOT ALWAYS AN EASY ROAD
Here are some of the questions you should ask yourself, what many wish they’d known before vowing the big “I DO”
These are also the secrets of the happiest couples, almost like a mathematical formula for deciding who to marry.
10 Questions Before You Tie The Knot
#1. Do We Care about Each Other as True Friends Do?
When you’re getting serious about someone, don’t ask: “Are we in love?” The question to first ask instead is: “Are we becoming True Friends?”
Another word for marriage is FRIENDSHIP. If you marry for “love” your marriage will be based on chemistry (feelings), but if you marry for friendship, your marriage will be built on loyalty and trust.
I love this quote, “Good friends care for each other, close friends understand each other, but TRUE FRIENDS stay forever. Beyond words, beyond distance & beyond time.”
“True Love” often gets confused for infatuation, romance – things that are essentially selfish.
This type of “love” is sandy ground and not a good reason to get married, but friendship is. True Friendship is made of true love. This kind of friendship is not self-centered. Real love is about giving and caring about another person’s life.
In ancient Biblical wedding ceremonies, the bride and groom are given seven blessings. The couple is blessed not once, but twice; declaring they should become “beloved friends.”
“I’m watching you, hearing you, paying attention to you. I’ve put it all together and have arrived at the conclusion that you and your life mean something to me.” This is the essence of real love and friendship.
Make sure you are friends first and then lovers. A lover who is not your friend can easily hurt you. A friend who is your lover will never hurt you. And if they do, they will make every effort to repair the hurt the same way you would with your best friend. Friends care about each other’s happiness and well-being.
#2. Are We Vulnerable and Emotionally Honest with Each Other?
Two people who cannot be emotionally open with each other can never have true INTIMACY.
When we share our feelings with another, we connect and feel close to that person.
Expressing feelings makes us vulnerable. It’s dangerous. This is why many are afraid to share what they feel. BUT, with the person you’re considering marrying, you must be sure you feel safe.
How do you know if the two of you are emotionally open and honest?
The next time you have a conversation with your partner, ask him or her, “What do you feel about me right now?” or “How does what I just said make you feel?” or “How do you think about me, now that you know my past?”
If you can communicate like this with each other consistently, you have the potential for building an intimate relationship based on true friendship. If not, WALK AWAY!
#3. Do We Consistently Reach Win/Win Resolutions In Our Problems?
A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.
The reason is that marriage is not only made of happiness, but problems!
Consequently, to get married, you must be sure you have great communication skills.
I remember during our courtship stage, my wife and I spoke for hours on the phone and felt very ‘connected’, but that didn’t mean we were good communicators. Don’t mistake good chemistry for good communication.
I know this doesn’t sound very romantic, but it’s very realistic.
The only way you know if you have good communication is when you have problems.
A disagreement of any kind, small or large, reveals how good or bad a communicator you are. Oh boy, how I sucked!
The goal of good communication is simple; reach a win-win solution. If you can remember to practice this principle when you are finished talking and both of you feel good about the solution, you reduce the possibilities of ‘bad feelings’ on either side.
Why is this important? Problems that don’t get fully resolved turn into resentments. When resentments build – love and intimacy departs.
The problem is not the problem. How we communicate about the problem is the problem.
#4. Do We Take Care of Each Other’s Needs?
One of the most important principles of marriage is: If it’s important to you, it’s important to me.
Taking care of each other’s needs is about wanting to give each other pleasure. Being a giver is probably the most important character trait to have for getting married.
The day you stop giving is the day your marriage dies. People are naturally takers. It takes lots of effort to become a genuine giver.
Giving in order to get something back is being a taker.
An important question to ask yourself is, “Do I enjoy giving to this person or do I find it burdensome?”
Gary Chapman in his book, The Five Love Languages, suggests that each of us has a dominant love language or emotional need that makes us feel loved when another “speaks” that language to us. They are gifts, quality time, acts of service, words of affirmation and physical touch. What is your partner’s love language? Do you enjoy taking care of this need?
Giving builds love. Taking destroys it.
#5. Do We Admire And Respect Each Other?
We need to respect and admire the person we marry.
We respect a person’s good character, life’s aspirations, goals and the good deeds accomplished… NOT their looks!
How do you talk to each other? If you truly respect someone, you talk to that person with respect and dignity.
Do you criticize or put each other down?
Are you patient or impatient with each other?
Do you make jokes about the other person in front of others and then try to cover it by saying, “I was only kidding?”
One of the biggest ways that couples demonstrate a lack of respect for each other is by criticizing each other publicly, before the children, family or friends.
This is immature and childish. Mature people who respect each other don’t disrespect each other. They are consistently up front, open, honest and respectful.
#6. Mr, Are You Ready to Take Responsibility for a Wife and Family?
The strongest need of a woman is to be cherished.
The three A’s of cherishing a woman are Attention, Affection and Appreciation.
Neglect DESTROYS a woman’s spirit.
Making your wife feel loved and cherished is not just a nice idea; it’s a Biblical obligation.
#7. Miss, Do You Believe in Him?
Your man needs your respect and support, more than your love. He needs you to believe in him more than your touch.
Men today are under so much pressure and so many demands are made on them. The one place he DOESN’T need to feel more pressure is at home. He needs you to believe that he is trying hard to provide for you and the needs of the family. The cruellest thing a wife can do is nag her husband. If he is a good man and he is trying hard, give him your love, not your list of demands.
So before you commit your life to him, make SURE your motives are pure. Don’t have any hidden agenda or unexpressed expectations.
If you decide to be his wife, then be his friend as well. Don’t turn on him.
#8. Do I Trust This Person Completely?
The emotional foundation of love is trust.
Without complete trust, you can’t build love.
Essentially trust is captured in the question, “Are you there for me?”
A great marriage is built on solid trust. Can I trust that you will provide a safe home for my feelings and needs? Can I be sure I can be vulnerable with you? Am I afraid you will abandon, reject or shame me?
A key way to build trust is by respecting and validating someone’s feelings. Listening to someone’s feelings is one of the greatest acts of kindness we can perform.
If you don’t trust each other with your feelings, think twice about getting married.
#9. Do We Want the Same Things Out of Life?
One of two things happens in a marriage: People either grow together or grow apart.
Spiritual compatibility is one of the best ways to ensure you’ll grow together.
This means you are on the same page in terms of your values, priorities and life goals.
Rabbi Noah Weinberg of blessed memory would often teach that life’s most important question is, “What am I living for?”
Until you can answer this question, you have no business getting married.
Marriage is risky. Two people who don’t know what they’re living for may have a difficult time growing together and staying together in the long run.
A soul mate is a goal mate.
#10. Do I Have Peace of Mind About This Decision?
To have peace of mind you have to identify and resolve two things: the things that bother you about getting married and things that bother you about marrying this person.
To identify everything that bothers you, you must be ruthlessly honest with yourself and listen to your feelings. If you don’t have peace of mind about marrying this person, track down the reason. If you are diligent, you’ll discover the reason why you are dragging your feet.
If you can’t track it down through your efforts, see a competent relational coach to help you.
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