The big decision: how do I know?
In the excitement of being in love it can be hard to think straight and make sensible choices. You may have trouble deciding if it’s right to tie the knot.
Here are some questions for you to think about. They’re just a guide to help you listen to your heart, listen to your head, and feel sure about your decision.
- Are you sure you’re not just infatuated? When you’re in love, you tend to turn a blind eye to the flaws in your partner’s personality. Make sure you are basing your decision to get married on a deeper understanding of your lover or partner.
- How well do you know your partner? Have you seen them in their own family, with their own friends? How do they behave with your group of pals? Do they mingle and mix well? This will help you suss if your partner is comfortable with people and can make a place for themselves, in keeping with their own personality.
- Are you good friends as well as being lovers? Are you compatible with each other on different levels – sexually, emotionally and intellectually? Great sex can’t keep your marriage alive forever. Both of you need to share an emotional bond with each other too.
- How well do you communicate with your partner? Do you think the two of you can solve all problems by talking it through? Do you find it easy to talk to your partner without fear of offending them or being judged? Are you able to talk openly and honestly about tricky issues you might disagree about? Are you able to resolve conflicts peacefully and amicably?
- Do you have a lot of respect for your partner? Can you say that you love and admire them for the person they are? What qualities do you like in your could-be life partner? Make a list.
- Do you love and admire them as the person they are, not the person you want them to be? Do you find yourself constantly correcting them, or trying to ‘improve’ them?
- Do you share the same expectations of the wedding? Do you expect a grand affair, while they’re imagining a simple ceremony? Is there any expectation of dowry or bride price? Does this square with your politics?
- Are you both comfortable with each other’s career prospects? Have you discussed your career options and ambitions with each other? Does this fit in with your own plans for yourself? If the two of you are keen on pursuing your own careers, have you discussed household roles and responsibilities?
- Have you and your partner discussed living arrangements after marriage? Will you be sharing a house with your partner’s family? If so, how does that make you feel? Do you have any objections to that? Do you think this arrangement will help your relationship blossom or could it get stifling? Have you discussed this with your partner?
- Have you discussed whether or not you will have children? This needs a detailed discussion. If you decide to wait a while before having children, what will happen if you do get pregnant early in your marriage? Would you have the baby? Or would you consider an abortion? Would your partner support that decision?
- Do you both share similar values? Have you ever had arguments on matters that you feel strongly about? Do your views match on topics like women’s rights, sexual harassment, abortion, adoption, other religious communities, tribes or homosexuality?
- What is your partner’s relationship with money? Are the two of you totally compatible on this issue? How does your partner behave when it comes to spending? Do you tend to find them too tight-fisted or too extravagant? Can you discuss money openly? Will you be sharing a bank account or manage and keep finances independent? Are you expected to share in the family’s expenses, and if so, how much? Will one of you be dependent on the other, and are you happy about that?
- Do you see yourself growing old with this person? Do you feel like you’ll still want to be together when you’re old and grey?
‘Cold feet’ is something many brides and grooms experience just before their wedding.
You suddenly feel nervous about your future, and start worrying whether you’re really making the right decision.
A certain level of nervousness is perfectly normal before the big wedding day. After all, it’s a life-changing step that you’re about to take. We’ve got some tips for you on how to deal with cold feet.
Work out what you’re really feeling – wedding stress or serious doubts? Planning a wedding together can be hectic and stressful. And it’s normal to feel a bit nervous about getting married. Think carefully about how you’re feeling and what exactly is making you feel that way. Imagine if all the planning problems were magically sorted out – would you still feel as worried?
Take some time away from the hustle and bustle of wedding preparations. If you’re suffering from wedding stress, make sure the two of you take a break for some quality time together.
Don’t ignore serious doubts about your relationship. Probe what your fears are.
Tell your partner what scares you about being married. Is it about losing your independence and freedom? Or more to do with your partner’s personality and character?
Think about what the solution could be to the problems you see in your relationship. Does your partner see them as solutions too?
Don’t get married because of the pressure around the wedding. Of course, the whole world expects you to get married in the near future, but if you have serious doubts about it, it’s time to act – you owe it to yourself and your prospective spouse. Postpone the wedding and take things more slowly and calmly.
Take a step back. Review this marriage rather than being stuck in something that’s on a wrong footing from day one.
Get in touch with a counsellor if you need help to find some peace in the situation. This could also be a family member or church elder or other faith official you trust.