Women who want to GET married:
search for a man with charisma, financial success and good looks.
dream of their wedding day.
constantly try to win him over and convince him to love her.
think it’s a race to the altar; she who gets there first wins.
believe things that bother them about him will be better after marriage.
Women who want to BE married:
search for a man with character, sensitivity and a willingness to be a partner
dream of their life with him.
consistently pay attention to whether or not they’re a good fit.
are ready to marry someone they’ve proven they can spend their life with.
know a happy marriage can fall a notch below the glitz of the courtship.
Let’s face it: even in today’s world, too many of us chase after a ring like it’s the Holy Grail and pursue matrimony like a goal.
But marriage is not a job, a nice car or a house; it’s a state of being.
It would be a happier and more permanent state for many of us if we stopped looking at it as one more thing to check off of our life long to-do list.
I’ve cited this before, but author Stephanie Coontz stated in a recent New York Times article, “The most important predictor of marital happiness for a woman is not how much she looks up to her husband but how sensitive he is to her emotional cues and how willing he is to share the housework and child-care.”
There’s nothing about charisma, money, religion, height or how he’ll look in your wedding pictures. It’s all about the kind of partner he’ll be over time.
Many little girls dream of their wedding day: the dress, the location, the vows…arguably many women have thought much more about the wedding day than their married life.
Yet, your wedding, no matter how wonderful, will probably not last more than a half of a day. Your marriage should last for the rest of your life.
And when you focus completely on the goal of getting married instead of the lifetime after, you can lose sight of whether or not you really want to win.
Doubt me? Take a look at seasons 1 through 13 of the Bachelor. None are currently married to the Bachelor who chose them.
That’s what happens when rush into matrimony based on nothing but chemistry and the desire to get married.
Without taking ample time to evaluate how the two of you fit together, you may miss the signs of being incompatible.
Is his money situation because he’s a dreamer or because he’s never going to be successful?
Can you deal with the fact that he isn’t affectionate and rarely says “I love you”?
Does he do the little things to make you feel safe, heard and understood?
Does he want to ultimately move back to his rural hometown and raise your children there?
Does he expect you to go back to work when you want to be a stay-at-home mom?
These are important things that you can’t negotiate until they naturally come up. Before you put a ring on your finger, you better know what kind of man you have on your hands. The halo effect is all about thinking that your man is a wonderful partner just because he’s, say, tall, dark, handsome and rich. But, as you know, not all tall, dark, handsome, rich men are great husbands.
More time allows you to see him in a variety of situations, seasons, and places. Is he the same guy you fell for? Or were you really happy for three months, have been unhappy for a year after, and are STILL looking to marry him?
Which brings me to the last idea, which may, admittedly, be tough to swallow. Ask any of your married or divorced friends and they’ll agree:
The act of getting married will not magically fix any problems you have or make any aspect of your relationship better.
It can show the world you’ve made a commitment to each other. It can change your home address, but it doesn’t change your husband or his behavior.
Your relationship has to be rock solid before marriage, as opposed to having a relationship that you think will be fine “if he would just MARRY me.”
Just as you put your best foot forward in an interview and may then give less than 100% every day at your dream job, couples often put their best foot forward in courtship and then, inadvertently, take their safe relationship for granted.
This is common, not unusual.
You have to be sure about your relationship even on its worst day before you get married because you will undoubtedly be faced with days like that in the future.
Which is not to put the fear of God into you about the prospects of marriage.
Marriage can and should be a wonderful decision that enriches your life.
The thing that shocked me about marriage – especially after 15 years of prolific dating – was that I thought my wedding day was the end.
Finally. I’d reached the finish line.
Marriage is actually just the beginning of the rest of your life.
And with the right partner, it just gets better and better.
The more trust you have, the more inside jokes you have, the better communication you have, the more memories you have, the more obstacles you’ve overcome, the more you can feel like the best version of yourself, the more you know your commitment to each other will never waver.
And the only way that it works out that way is if you’re honest with yourself and know both of you want to BE married, not just GET married.