Taking the next step in your relationship with your spouse is a huge commitment. It’s a scary and exciting moment all at the same time — many people are scared because they don’t know what the future holds, but it’s also exciting for the same reason. Fun fact — did you know that there’s a phobia of marriage? That’s right! Gamophobia is the very real and very serious fear of marriage. While not a common phobia, it has deep roots in mistrust and past traumas surrounding marriage. However, gamophobia doesn’t happen to everyone. If you’re experiencing the “pre-engagement flutters,” it’s definitely nothing to be worried about. Those flutters are just general nervousness and anxiety — almost everyone experiences them! There are some signs that you can use to indicate whether or not you’re ready for marriage — here are a few!
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- You’ve been researching rings. Some individuals have done this long before they start a relationship with someone else. However, if you’ve seriously been researching rings, deciding whether or not you’d commit to wearing a silicone ring full-time instead of a metal one or you have been sending jewelry sale ads to your significant other, then you might be ready to take the plunge. Rings are a large part of many couples’ journey into marriage, and so there’s often lot of time and money investing into getting the perfect ring.
- You live together. Many couples live together but aren’t married. And, while the choice is ultimately yours, many couples who live together know that’s just one step closer to marriage. Many couples use living together as a trial arrangement or an ultimate test of compatibility. You never truly know someone until you know how they live, right? If you’ve been successfully co-habitating for a while, maybe now is the time to consider tying the knot.
- You own a pet together. Shared responsibility of an animal is a big indicator that marriage might be around the corner. Of course, owning a pet together is no guarantee that you’ll walk down the aisle; however, many couples learn a lot about parenting and teamwork by owning a pet together. Whether it’s splitting duties and chores to do for your pet or simply being around your pet together on a frequent basis, you and your partner might be ready to have the conversation about marriage.
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- You have positive self-worth. It’s tough to try and love someone else when you don’t love yourself. If you’ve been working on your self-worth and feel confident that those issues won’t arise in your role as a spouse, then you and your significant other should consider marriage, most definitely! Journaling, exercising and attending individual counseling sessions are all ways that you can encourage positive self-worth in your life.
- You attend couple’s counseling. Counseling isn’t just for people who have mental health issues. Many couples attend counseling to prepare for marriage, and others attend to learn better coping and communication skills. Regardless of the reason, if you and your partner attend couple’s counseling, then that might indicate to you that you both are ready to get married to each other. Your counselor will give you feedback on how you both are doing as a couple together and whether or not they feel you are personally ready or not for more commitment.
- You’re focused on the long-term, not just the wedding day. While weddings are a fun part of the beginning of a marriage, that shouldn’t be your main focus. If you find more joy in planning for the future with your partner rather than gushing about flowers and place settings for a wedding, then marriage might be the perfect next step to take with your significant other.
Yes, weddings are exciting and a great opportunity for you and your partner to celebrate your love with others in attendance; however, you both should 100% be sure this is something that you recognize as just one day out of many days in your lives together.
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- You’ve integrated friend groups. Couples who don’t have the same friend group prior to dating can sometimes struggle with combining their friend groups. Each person brings their own personalities to the table, and those friends can sometimes feel like a package deal.
If you and your partner finally feel like you’ve both integrated your friend groups and combined them, then marriage might be an ideal next step. Think about which people you both invite to a large dinner. Who would be sitting closest to you? Are they couples that you and your partner hang out with? Maybe they’re long-time friends of yours, or maybe they are new friends that you and your partner have made together. Merging friend groups is a great way to gauge your own interests toward marriage as well as your partner’s.
- You’re not looking to change your partner. While many partners discuss making slight adjustments to their behavior to please their partner, it’s important to remember that you’re not looking to change attributes that impact your partners’ character. You should be checking to see if there’s even a small desire to change a feature of one of your partner. This can indicate that you’re not quite ready for marriage.
- You’ve already bought the ring. Sometimes, you just know that you’re ready for marriage and who you’re ready for that step with. You might have already researched what to engrave on wedding bands and what the best stone shape is for your partner, and you may have taken the plunge and ordered the ring. This is a big indicator that you’re ready for marriage — you simply felt so moved and ready that you immediately purchased a ring and had it shipped to you. If you’re in this boat, don’t stress — you’re not alone!
Making the decision to get married is tough, but there are some signs you can look out for to indicate whether you and your partner are ready to take the next step.