The opinions are just as varied at the type of couples in this world.
In a culture where more and more people are ditching the official papers in favor of a “non-official” lifetime commitment, the ultimate question still remains if couples should get married or live together in a lifetime commitment without paying a visit to the City Clerk.
A friend of mine was dating his girlfriend for over 10 years, they had lived together on three continents before he proposed. When I asked him why he waited so long, he responded: “I never saw a point in getting married until we wanted to have kids.”
For him, the marriage part didn’t bring anything new to the relationship, but he did want his kids to be born in a traditional family, therefore when it came time for kids, the marriage seemed like the normal step.
Someone else declared that he would propose to his girlfriend a year after they moved in together and he did exactly that. And then I have friends who have been a couple for years and years, have kids together, and still have never gotten married and never saw the need for that.
I believe that everyone secretly wants to get married, but not everyone believes that marriage should include the official papers. Everyone does want that long lasting life commitment though. Just look at how hard we fought for the marriage equality act.
If marriage wasn’t that big of a deal, do you think there would have been so many rallies and petitions, would the Supreme Court have gotten involved in giving equal rights to marriage to all people? Regardless of what category you fall into, there are a few things that need to be considered before choosing to get married to someone:
1. Do you see yourself creating a life with this person? Beyond the love you feel, beyond them being sweet or loving or having amazing attributes, do you really see yourself with this person? Do you have similar visions and values about the future?
2. How do you fight when you fight? Let’s get something clear: You will fight. You will fight about the little things and the big things. You will have moments when you’re cranky because of something totally unrelated and you will take it out on your partner. The question is, how do you fight? Do you go all out and make them feel unloved or do you still show your love no matter how upset you are?
3. Do you want kids? Some people know for sure if they want kids, others know for sure they don’t and others are not quite sure what they want. Regardless of what category you fall into, make sure you’re on the same page. If you really want kids and your partner won’t hear of it, you might have an issue there.
4. Why do you want to get married? Do you believe in marriage as a sacred commitment between two people who love each other? Do you believe it’s something you’re supposed to do? Does your religion tell you that you need to get married? Whatever your reason it; get clear about it.
5. Are you willing to create a family? Whether your idea of family is the two of you or whether it includes kids, you have to realize that choosing someone to marry means that the two of you become a family while the rest of your family takes a secondary place.
6. Are you willing to love this person for your entire lifetime? Marriages do fall apart at times and we have no way of knowing what will happen in five years or 10 years or even more. But right now, in this moment, as you are considering this person as your life partner, are you willing to commit to them with an open heart and love them with all your heart?
One of my good friends told me he knew he wanted his girlfriend to become his wife when he was on a vacation with the guys for a bachelor party. There he was with his guy friends, having fun, enjoying a great trip, when he realized that all he wanted was for her to be there. He wanted to share everything in his life with her. Needless to say, he got back home and started planning one of the most amazing proposals ever and they are now happily married.
I’ve met some happy couples in my life and I’ve met some who got married because it seemed like the right thing to do or even worse because one of the partners gave an ultimatum.
I’m a hopeless romantic when it comes to marriage and I have no doubt that the man I choose to spend my life with will be the most loved man in this universe and yes, I have those idyllic dreams about walking down the aisle and seeing him there, smiling, happy to take my hand and lead me into our new life.
While your way of doing things will be your own and only you can decide if it works or not, I think it’s a good idea to keep this list as a checklist before you take the plunge.
Author: Lavinia Lumezanu
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Flickr/Ray Dumas