There are many factors that go into a successful marriage, but one of the most important is to choose to marry based on your priorities. So, you need to be aware of what’s most important to you in a committed relationship – and understand a bit about how those factors relate to happy marriages.
Below are a few common reasons why people choose to get married. As you read through them, consider how much each one applies to you.
People marry because of:
Love means different things to different people. For instance, some people marry because they feel swept off their feet by romantic love, while others marry based on a deeply rooted and grounding platonic love that also includes physical attraction.
Whatever your experience of love, a successful marriage is nurtured and sustained when two people feel and express warmth, caring, and respect for each other. They support each other’s personal goals, as well as their shared dreams. And when differences arise, they can work through them in a way that leaves both feeling valued and respected.
If you are choosing to marry for this reason, it’s essential that you think seriously about whether your relationship will likely work for the long haul. Force yourself to consider the realities of your situation. Compare this future vision to one in which you raise your child as a single person; or as two single people working together.
Many people get to a point in their relationship when they feel that marriage is the next logical step. If you really are ready to marry, then the transition can be exciting and basically seamless. But if your relationship is missing one or more important elements, do not assume it will work itself out.
Differences in religion, libido, or financial priorities can undermine a marriage in the long run. Work such issues through before committing to a life together that includes what perhaps should have been a deal-breaker.
“First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage.” Indoctrination into the belief that mature, happy adults eventually marry begins at a very young age. Even in today’s society, which embraces a number of different types of families, many people continue to feel that there is an expectation that they will eventually marry. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this… unless it’s pushing you to marry when you’d really prefer not to.
Life is unpredictable, and most people seek ways to feel safe. They might look for financial or emotional security. In both cases, this security can be just what you are looking for. But keep in mind that after you’ve felt safe for a while, you will likely yearn for something more than relief from your fears of being penniless or alone. You will want a partner whose company you truly enjoy
Marriage – by definition – offers companionship, which might be very important to you. However, if you choose a companion who undermines your sense of feeling good about yourself, limits the things that make you happy, or creates significant tension in your life, the price might be too high.
Resolving childhood issues: This is the most complicated reason people marry, in part because it is so difficult to fully recognize. If you know that your choice of partner is tied to childhood experiences, be sure to think about whether the choice will likely lead to a better life. It’s best to get feedback from a trusted person (such as a friend or therapist) because people have blind spots when it comes to such deeply felt, emotional issues.
Whatever your reasons for marrying, think long and hard about them. Discuss them with people you trust. Allow yourself the space to connect with these reasons, how they fit with your current choice to marry, and what your future will probably look like. When you fully consider all of these factors and determine that you have indeed found “the one,” you will hopefully feel assured of enjoying a long, happy marriage.