So you’re pretty sure he’s going to pop the question. Or maybe you’re not sure at all. The crux of your worries isn’t so much about when and where he’ll get down on one knee, it’s more if you even consider yourself ready to tie the knot at all. Honestly, you can’t think past the next hour, day, week, let alone an entire lifetime with someone. You love the guy and, sure, whimsical thoughts of a white dress (or tux) and babies pop in your head from time to time – but Lord Jesus A Christ – actually embarking on that journey is enough to make you squirm. You’re not a commitment-phobe, you’re just a realist. How will you ever know if you’re ready?
A friend once told me that you know when you’re ready when you are asked. The first answer that comes to mind is “it.” Are you kidding me? What if you’re intoxicated? In shock? Influenced…by any number of narcotics, things and/or people? What if you’re so blinded by the first blush of love that you can’t see that he’s a constant crotch-scratcher or that he has horrible table manners or that he cares more about his car than his ma?
Personally, my best wishes go out to friends and family who have taken the leap. I truly believe each and every one of them will “make it.” For the few who remain (or those who have rejoined this boat of singles), I have compiled a list for you:
Do not get hitched (in no specific order):
- just for the heck of it (there’s a gazillion things you could’ve done to battle boredom and you chose the most costly one?)…it’s gonna be “fun” that you may come to regret
- if you spend more time planning for the wedding than you do on your future together
- because you’ve set a deadline for marriage and it’s right around the corner
- because you’ve always wanted to
- because you want to produce offspring
- because everyone else is doing it (didn’t we learn this one waaaaay back in the da day?)
- because of tax rebates, health benefits or any financial benefits, for that matter
- because he knocked you up (there is always a choice even if you find yourself ostracized and whispered about; time is medicine for drama)
- because he can provide financially
- if you fight all the time (what makes you think a ring on your finger is gonna calm the storm?)
- because you never fight (are you serious?)
- because he’s hot (getting lost in his great looks won’t sustain you or him for 50+ years)
- because he can change your oil and tune up your car (yes, I am serious)
- if he wants no children and you want 5 and there’s no compromise
- if either of you can’t exorcise old lovers
- because “we’ve been together forever”
- because your families expect it of you
- because you already have joint checking/savings account(s)
- because you already live together
- because you can’t find anyone better (sometimes used as a cover-up for “s/he’s an asshole”)
- because you had a dream prophesying marriage to him
- because he’s your next “project”
- because “there’s always divorce”
- because he pays your bills
- because he provides for your personal vice (i.e. cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, sex, you name it)
- because you’re helping him attain citizenship
- because you already love his family…more than him?
- because you’ve broken up with him for the millionth time and this time it’s gonna work
- if you cannot share your goals, dreams and desires with him
- if there is any form of abuse from either of you
- if you cannot talk about your problems
- if you are his #1 priority and he’s your #10 (it’d probably be smart to start on the same page if you plan a life together)
- if you are not prepared to deal with his family…and their finances, idiosyncrasies, personality defects, demands
- because he’s a celebrity (yes, serious again)
- if either of you (worst if both) are lazy (this can and will kill your future marriage if it’s not already killing your dating relationship)
- because he’s going away (for all your service wo/men out there) and tying the knot will get him to stay
- because if you don’t say “yes” now, he’ll never ask again
- because you’re scared to be alone (and are willing to settle, apparently)
- because he took your virginity
- if you thought someone else was gonna ask (ahhh!)
- if he asked while either/both of you were under the influence (if he meant it, he’ll ask again when you’re both coherent)
- if he asked on you on the second date
- if all you can think about is when and where you’re gonna hump him (gasp! there’s more to marriage than humping)
- because you need to get over your last lover
- and on and on…
Please, note that the pronoun “he” is easily replaceable with “she” for all you gentleman readers.
So you nodded along to at least half of these bullets in evaluating your own relationship? So you married him anyway? So you can give me stories of those who made it despite bullets 1, 2, 3…? So you are the exception? All completely understandable and perhaps true. It happens every day (and thank whatever-divine-spirit-you-believe-in that there is still hope after all!).
So you think this is bad advice? You question: What or who is left after this atrocious list? Mr. or Ms. Perfect isn’t out there. Sure, when you isolate flaws like the list above, of course the marriage is gonna look like a failure (even a funny one). It’s much more complicated than that! Instead of giving you a formula of how to know when you’re ready (because who knows it anyway?), I only offer a new (or not so new?), not-so-clever-because-it’s-so-basic perspective.
I, too, wonder if I’ll grow into an old, lonely crone whose hubby ran off after his patience wore thin because I took 20 years to contemplate his proposal. But for a matter as important as “’til death do us part,” it’s definitely worth your time to reevaluate. Life and love is messy, no doubt. It’s vulnerable. One shouldn’t have to be punished for wanting a little more time to think it through, for hesitating. Hesitation in its most elemental form screams “safety and self-preservation.” Safety from future pain and drama. Safety from more effort than you would ever want to put into something and/or someone. Safety from losing your mind and beating yourself over the head because you didn’t see the signs. Safety for not only yourself but for the one you love. And if it turns out that you have a fairy-tale existence after the I’do’s, you won’t regret the extra time you took anyway. If you’re not ready to jump that threshold, if you’re not ready to accept that marital stamina is eternal (and to practice it every frickin day or to repeat it like a mantra every time he slips up), I would say “more power to ya” for delaying the BIG decision. Even if you’re unsure about your “readiness,” at least know that you have every right to slam on the brakes and do a little soul-searching. It’s not selfish, it’s not doubting your love, it’s just smart.
So how do you know when you ready to marry? Beats me. How do you know you’re being smart about it? The same answer for heartbreaks, growing a garden and the best multiple orgasm ever: give it some time