Getting engaged is one of the happiest times of your life, for sure, but before you decide to spend the rest of your days with someone, it’s important to know that you’re really, really ready to commit. Here’s what you need to know about yourself, your guy and your relationship before you say “yes.”
1. Whether You Really Love Him — Or the Idea of Getting Married
You don’t want to marry Mr. I-Suppose-He’s-Right just because you’re caught up in bridal excitement, or because it seems like the logical next step or because everyone you know is tying the knot. To be sure it’s the guy you want, and not just the Mrs. title, psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo, PhD, author of A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness, suggests asking yourself these questions: Can you imagine any other man in your wedding/honeymoon/married life plans? Would you still want to marry your guy if it was just the two of you at the courthouse? Think carefully about your answers before taking the next step.
2. That You Love Him Just As He Is (Because He’s Not Going to Change)
What irritates you about your guy now will really grate on you after you’re married. He’s a total slob? A night owl when you’re an early bird? Don’t kid yourself into thinking he’ll change once you’re hitched — that’s a blueprint for disappointment, says sex therapist Lisa Paz. “Assume that any negative qualities you’re seeing will remain negative, and be realistic about what you’re willing to live with,” she says. So decide what’s a dealbreaker and what’s not before your boyfriend becomes your husband.
3. What His Financial Situation Is
Beyond what he pulls down in salary, you should know how much he has in savings, how much debt he’s carrying and — this is important — how he accrued it. “You don’t want any surprises after marriage,” says Lisa Decker, founder of Divorce Money Matters. Ask these questions before you’re married so you have an understanding of what caused any problems and how to prevent them from happening again. Sure, the conversation takes some finesse, but you can ease into it by discussing your hopes and dreams together, Decker says. “That opens the door to sharing what your money history has been.”
4. Whether You Both Want Children
Some couples want six kids — others can’t even imagine having one. What ultimately matters though, is that you both know in your gut how you feel about the “having kids” question. Sit down with your fiancé and have a true heart-to-heart: Discuss where you see yourself in 5 or 10 years and if kids are part of that vision. If you’re not on the same page, one of you will have to compromise in a big way, says Dr. Paz, which may be very stressful (or even a dealbreaker).
5. How to Eat at a Restaurant Alone
When your guy’s not around, there’s no need to be stuck at home with a Lean Cuisine — do something fun by yourself. “Many people aren’t comfortable doing this because they imagine others are judging them for being alone,” says Lombardo. But the reality is, most folks are probably too wrapped up in their own thoughts to ponder why you’re solo. So enjoy your meal and your alone time. It sends the healthy message to your guy that you don’t need him to entertain you every night. That kind of independence is sexy!