My (now) husband, Drew, and I got engaged just 3.5 months after we started dating.
Crazy, I know.
When we tell people that, they usually respond with something like, “When you know, you know!” or “It was meant to be!”
But that’s not actually why we decided to get married at all.
Sure, there was a moment that I “knew” I wanted to marry him. But it’s wasn’t a romantic moment that seemed to stop time.
Instead, it was when I knew enough about Drew and what our relationship was like. I knew that I felt at peace about pursuing marriage not because I knew the answer to every question or because we had gone through every season together — but because I knew that we could get on the same page about whatever life threw at us. We didn’t always agree, but we had learned to talk things out in a way that led to common understanding.
I would say, though, that there were a few important questions I needed to ask myself before I actually walked down the aisle.
Marriage is a BIG step — one of the biggest changes in any person’s life. So before you say “I do,” here are a few fundamental questions to ask yourself — and your partner. If you have confidence in your answers to these questions, you’re on the right track.
Are my partner and I good on our own?
Trusting each other and relying on one another is good. Being totally dependent on another person or hoping that they’ll solve your problems for you is not.
Underlying issues like mental illness, addictions, insecurities, or bad habits won’t go away when you get married. Any underlying issues that exist before marriage won’t be solved because of it.
Whether you’ve been dating for three months or 10 years, it’s important to understand yourself and be working on your own issues before jumping into a lifelong commitment with another person. If you are healthy enough to be able to give emotional support to your potential spouse, then your relationship will have room for mutuality, and that’s good fuel for a life-long journey.
Does my partner make me better?
While it’s important to be a whole and healthy individual on your own, it’s just as important that your partner can help you grow into the best version of yourself.
Does he or she call you out (lovingly) when you’ve crossed a line? Does your significant other inspire healthy habits in your lifestyle? Does he encourage you? Does she make you want to be generous and selfless?
Life is full of twists and turns and challenges and opportunities for growth. A potential future spouse should be someone who can help you overcome obstacles and reach new goals — while staying true to your core values that make you who you are.
Does my partner bring me closer to God?
You don’t have to be at the exact same place in your faith journey to marry someone. But it’s important that your spouse is okay with your faith and is supportive of how you practice it.
If your significant other is disrupting your spiritual life instead of supporting it, that may be a red flag. But a person who sees your inherent dignity and demonstrates God’s unconditional love to you — even if their faith practice is different from yours — is much more likely to be a loving and committed spouse.
The important thing to remember is that marriage is a journey that spouses walk together with God. Whether or not you name it in religious terms, a life-long commitment to one another in sickness and health requires the kind of love that models God’s unconditional love. A spouse should draw you closer to that love in real, tangible ways.
So you don’t have to know everything about a person before you marry them. But if you start with these three questions and feel good about the answers to them, then yes, you might be ready to take the next step: marriage.