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  • Writer's pictureChristina Mariani

21 Important things to consider before getting married: An essential quick guide

Updated: Jan 28, 2023

  1. Are we on the same page when it comes to wanting or not wanting kids? If we do want kids, do our parental styles work together?

  2. Do I know what I want in life and does this person want the same thing? I.e. traveling the world, living in different countries, going on mission trips, feeling called to a specific cause, living in the country, on a farm or in a big city, etc.

  3. Do we have the same financial and health goals?

  4. Overall, do we have a calming effect on one another, OR do we increase each other's stress levels?

  5. If this person is close to certain family and friends, do we have respect for these people and are we able to spend the rest of our lives spending time with them or hearing about them?

  6. Do I truly respect, admire or adore this person?

  7. Do I trust this person's overall judgment and decision-making skills? OR am I constantly worried that they are going to make a big mistake if I don't advise them at all times?

  8. Do we complement each other's skillsets, and come together as a powerful team? OR are we weak in the same major areas and do we distract each other from important personal goals and cause each other to fall back into our worst habits and addictions?

  9. Have I done enough of the things that I have always wanted to do? E.g. travel, buy a house, join an organization, volunteer for a special cause, finish my degree, reach a point of some sort of stability in my career, etc.

  10. Do I know how to be honest and kind to a romantic partner? Am I able to communicate my needs, desires and concerns in a mature way? OR am I resentful, critical, and an unfair fighter in disagreements?

  11. Do I know what my love language is? My enneagram personality type? My passions?

  12. Have I ever finished anything without quitting before completion? Have I been able to commit to anything in life longer than 2 years?

  13. Do I have a realistic expectation of marriage? Do I have any healthy marriage role models in my life?

  14. Do I have untreated or unaddressed trauma or cycles of toxic relationship patterns?

  15. Am I trying to get married because I don't want to be alone, I want to "be married," I want a ring or a wedding, or I want someone to care for me financially or physically?

  16. If this person lost a lot of their money, or their good looks, would I still enjoy spending time with them?

  17. Do we understand each other's jokes and sense of humor? Are we both able to empathize with the other person when one of us is not feeling well, or hurting?

  18. Does this person apologize or admit when they make a mistake? Do I apologize in the relationship when I am at fault?

  19. Could I be using this person simply to gain financial stability or to have kids or to get help parenting kids?

  20. Am I aware of my pet peeves and deal breakers when it comes to a committed relationship?

  21. Do I feel at peace when I think about spending the rest of my life with this person? Or do I feel worried, stressed out and unsettled?

A lot of people get married for the wrong reasons. A lot of people also get married before they know anything about themselves, i.e. likes, dislikes, interests, passions, goals... Why? It is easy to get the idea from our society and media that being in a relationship or marriage is the ultimate goal that produces happiness and satisfaction and should come before or above all other goals. WRONG!

Marriage will not solve any of your problems. It will only amplify the problems you already have, such as untreated trauma, lack of self-worth, insecurity, bad habits, poor coping skills, self-resentment or self-abuse, learned behavior patterns and fears from childhood. Your partner cannot solve all of your personal problems for you! It is best practice to work on all of these things with a therapist or through your own journey of self-healing BEFORE getting married. It is not fair to bring tons of baggage and BS into a relationship, when you have never stopped and taken time to unpack and discard some obvious items.

Nobody is perfect.

However, that is not a valid excuse to rationalize doing no self-work or healing prior to marriage and then expecting your spouse to handle all of your problems perfectly or solve them for you. You will only end up blaming your unhappiness on your partner, when you would be unhappy regardless because you have failed to learn how to love and take care of yourself.

If you have no idea what your wants and needs are, or your strengths and weaknesses, don't expect your spouse to figure it all out and read your mind on everything. You have been with yourself your entire life and have yet to crack the code... And you know your entire history, every detail of it. They don't have half as much information as you do. How are they supposed to know everything? This is called unrealistic and unspoken expectations (a dangerous character that has the ability to destroy a marriage.)

The best way to get what you want in life is to KNOW WHAT YOU WANT. Then you can search for it and find it because you are able to locate and recognize it. You are also able to communicate your wants and needs clearly and others will help you along the way. They don't have to guess and trial and error forever to try to make you happy. You are taking ownership of your life.

I have observed so many people settling for the first person who ever gave them any attention, or the first person they "had chemistry with." Chemistry is as fragile as it is plentiful. You can have chemistry with many different people. That does not mean that each one of them is the right person for you when it comes down to getting along well for 40 plus years of togetherness. Chemistry will quickly fade if the lifelong goals, priorities and beliefs don't line up between two people. Compatibility, mutual respect and friendship are essential foundations here. Without these relationship-saving anchors, chronic miscommunication, resentment, and impatience can seep in and kill "chemistry" very quickly. Make sure you have what it takes to weather the storms of life.

I advise the majority of people in their twenties against getting married during this stage of life. You simply have not been on this earth or living on your own long enough to have reached fundamental levels of independence, stability and self-knowledge. That is not meant to be a shot at anyone or shade thrown by any means. And of course, there are some people in their twenties who are mature, secure and self-developed enough to successfully make this life-long commitment to another human being. Moreover, the average individual in this stage of life should be spending most of this decade chasing and completing their most important early career goals, financial goals and filling up their time with identifying their hobbies and passions. While you are taking good care of yourself and doing what you love, the right person will bump into you at the right time. I can almost guarantee it! No need to rush or worry about it. Stop trying to force things in life that are not working. Usually that is an indicator that it is the wrong person or the wrong timing. Let go and let what's meant to be, be.

For my married readers and more mature crowd, I pray that we can we set an intention to be mindful of the ways in which we may be accidentally pressuring young people into marriage before they are ready. Let's spend more time preparing them to be successful for when they do tie the knot. Every engaged person should be gifted with the "unrealistic, unspoken expectation speech" before their wedding day.

Additionally, each newlywed couple should be advised to make it past the honeymoon stage, to ensure that the marriage is strong and healthy, prior to bringing more babies into the world. God's will for each couple is different, however no human should be advising newlyweds to jump right into parenthood, immediately after the wedding day. Let the ink dry, let the glue set, and allow them time to successfully adjust to their new roles as spouses to one another. Marriage is a learning curve and a new full-time job. It is best practice to get through this learning curve before being promoted to another even more advanced job role as "parent." The stresses and potential conflicts of parenthood could crush a weak marriage. Again, let the cement cure first. Let your newlyweds know that it is an excellent idea to work on building a strong foundation, first. If you think you need grandkids that badly, you don't. You just need to find a new hobby or passion that brings you joy, satisfaction and a sense of purpose.

Every couple needs to be advised that:

Having kids will not save a marriage or solve any of your marital issues. It will only amplify the current marital issues and put the child at risk of being raised in an unstable, toxic, and potentially abusive or neglectful environment, which will then predispose them to having the same exact issues as adults. Stopping generational curses or toxic cycles of abuse and abandonment starts with each of us. It is our job to be intentional in and responsible for our own healing, self-love and the health status of our relationships. If we would not want our best friend or beloved child to be in a relationship like the one we are in, then it may be time to get out. This is not called quitting. It's called saving yourself and your offspring for the generations to come. And yes, it truly is that serious.

Achieving and maintaining a happy, healthy marriage can be a challenge. But developing the right skills, and tools, and being confident you chose the best match out there for you, will go a long way! There is no shame in making mistakes. Only shame in not learning from them. God has the power to heal and improve any marriage, if both individuals are committed to this goal. He also has the power to heal anyone from divorce. Let's be supportive, compassionate listeners and prayer partners for those who are going through a rough time.

Studies show that relationship stress can be more detrimental to our health than any other kind of stress. We need to be more mindful, more careful, and more responsible when choosing who to spend most of our time with.

Feel free to comment below if you have any thoughts to share on this topic!

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