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Marriage: Bells, white gowns, bridesmaids... money. All these things go into the good and bad of weddings. Every girl dreams of a princess wedding as a child. Some lose that dream when they become adults. We get the closest we can, but are you ready for what marriage really means?
As a young Christian woman I believe in the sanctity of marriage. I also believe that it's meant to be shared between a man and a woman, but the world has different views so to be respectful this will cover a broad view of marriage.
How's your relationship?
Do you fight a lot? All the time? Do they end in screaming matches? If they do, you're not emotionally ready for marriage. Someone who screams, yells, and throws things at their significant other is someone who knows they can easily walk away. In marriage it's not so easy to walk away. Divorce can be messy, especially if neither of you is partial to putting on kid gloves.
Do you never argue? Never get into debates or heated discussions? You're not ready for marriage either. You can't go through your whole marriage just swallowing down your feelings. Never being mad will lead to an eventual blow up that could toss your marriage into a cosmic spiral from which you may never recover.
Marriage requires balance, or rather the attempt at balance. No one is perfect and there is no perfect marriage. Everyone fights, everyone yells, and everyone gets frustrated. It's how you handle the situation within the moment.
In an argument you must recognize that nothing will be solved if you're both steaming mad and yelling. Go into separate rooms for at least 30 minutes. Cry, be frustrated, and let it go. Then return to have a real discussion about what occurred. If you feel like yelling again or getting angry, you need to take another break. Controlling your emotions is key. You can be mad at him/her all you want, but it won't solve anything.
Marriage is about sacrifices. Daily things you've decided you can live without. Things that might bother you about your significant other, but are more like pet peeves. You can survive those. There are things you do that he doesn't like. NEVER ASK unless you can handle the criticism, because when you ask him, "Are there things I do that you don't like?" you've asked for honesty and you had better be prepared to hear some things you will NOT like. Take them in stride, learn from them, and in turn give him/her the chance to learn too.
How's your financial life?
Are you living paycheck to paycheck? Listen, if the money isn't there now, it will be in the same place after you're married. If you've already been living together this is kind of a no brainer. Things will probably be the same, except for you have paid X amount of money for a wedding.
Finances play a key role. Most women, not all, are looking forward to having kids, growing old with their significant other, and just enjoying married life. Most men, not all, are worried about how they will be able to take care of or contribute to the house bills. Marriage is an equal partnership. You each take care of each other. There's no lord of the sexes, no master of the women, or patriarchy to deal with. Marriage is a bonding of two souls. Equal space. There's nothing wrong with being taken care of, especially when you're taking care of him/her too.
Do you like to have your space?
One of the main things I hear a lot is lack of personal space once you're married. When you're dating and living apart, you have time to yourself. Don't get possessive, he/she will still be there tomorrow. On that same note, don't waste your time with them. If you value the ability to go away and be alone for a period of time, marriage may not be right for you just yet. While it's true you can find some alone time and still be married, in a small apartment it can be hard. If you still want to get married make sure your significant other knows that you love them, but just need some alone time. Being alone at work is not the same and it won't fulfill your desire for alone time.
Marriage is a partnership. You must be emotionally, physically and financially ready to handle marriage. If you aren't, it will not last. You can't fight with your husband/wife every day or the two of you will slowly start to move away from each other and it will be a gap that is hard to close once open.
Remember to talk often, debate not argue, and be open about your wants, needs and expectations in a marriage. Don't feel bad for having needs and wants. It's important that you both mutually agree that marriage is something you both look forward to in the future.
Don't push your man/woman into marriage. Don't make him regret something that should be amazing and shared between the two of you. Listen to each other, ensure that you're both ready and acknowledge the worries, concerns and desires without judgment or taking it personally.
No one is perfect, don't expect yourself to be.