To wed or not to wed: when to move forward with marriage

Finding someone you are absolutely crazy about is one of the best feelings in the world. Whether you’ve been with that person for a year or 10 years, if you still get butterflies when they walk into the room, what could be better than that? Or, maybe you’ve built a strong foundation dedicated to communication, commitment, and working together. Whatever your relationship looks like, it’s not uncommon to want to take things to the next level. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to “put a ring on it” right away. In fact, people are considering marriage later nowadays – especially Millennials. Specifically, that generation is waiting about 4.9 years longer than previous generations to tie the know.

Whether you get married should be a personal decision. Marriage is something you should think about thoughtfully and carefully before popping the question or deciding whether to say “yes.”

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Ask yourself if you’re really ready for a lifetime commitment. What are the pros and cons? Do you have any special needs that will need to be addressed? Does your partner? If you do decide to ask the big question, how should you do it?

Okay, take a deep breath.

Yes, there are a lot of questions that can start swirling around in your head. You might even be wondering if you can have a successful lifelong relationship without actually getting married. So, let’s take a closer look at understanding the right time to move forward in your relationship. The more you dive into it, the more comfortable and confident you’ll be in your decisions.

Weigh the Pros and Cons

Making a pros and cons list about getting married might not seem overly romantic. But, it’s a practical way to determine whether you’re ready. Most of your list should be personal and specific to you and your partner. Consider the benefits of getting married versus staying together without a legal document. From there, you can start to come up with more general, sweeping positives and negatives. Some of the potential “pros” include:

However, marriage can create problems for some couples. That’s especially true if you haven’t lived together before, and you’re thinking about sharing a space after the wedding. Getting married could cause your individuality to suffer, and you have to get used to another person’s quirks that you may not have recognized before.

If you’re worried about some of the “cons,” consider premarital counseling or couples therapy before you pop the question. You’ll learn a lot about your partner and it can help to make your list a bit clearer.

Consider Your Needs

If marriage is on your mind, consider why you’re really thinking about it. Butterflies aren’t often enough to sustain a relationship for a lifetime. So, don’t feel guilty if your reasons for wanting to get married are just as practical as they are loving.

For example, you might want to start living with your partner so you can both save money and share expenses. The cohabitation numbers in the U.S. have been consistently going up from 1995-2019, with 59% of adults between 18-44 having lived with someone else. Only 50% of those adults were ever married.

Marriage comes with more financial benefits, including tax breaks. You’ll also be entitled to your spouse’s retirement income or 401(k).

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

In addition to financial support, consider your personal and/or physical needs. If you have a disability or chronic illness, having someone who loves you there for you 24/7 can make a big difference in your life.

On the other hand, if you’re someone who values your freedom and needs “breaks” now and then, marriage might not be in the cards for you right now. It could end up doing more harm than good to your relationship.

Plan the Perfect Proposal

Once you’ve decided to pop the question, a whole new swarm of anxious thoughts will probably come to mind.

Take another deep breath.

If you’ve come this far and you’re confident in your decision to get married, the perfect proposal should be as personal as possible. And, it isn’t as though Nashville isn’t bursting with romantic places to pop the question. Whether you’re into art, music, or nature, think about what’s most meaningful to your relationship. Why not choose to propose on a special day, like an anniversary, or Marriage Equality Day?

It’s normal to be a bit nervous to propose, and even to get married. But, when your excitement about the future overshadows those nerves, you can feel confident in your decision, and look forward to a lifetime of love as one unit. In the end, having discussions with your partner to make sure you’re on the same page, weighing out the benefits, and understanding the commitment that comes with marriage are all things you’ll need to tackle. Will it take a lot of time and effort? Yes. But, once you’ve landed on the best decision for you and your relationship, you’ll have a lifetime to enjoy the rewards.

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