woah, calm your tits – no I’m not talking about you or anyone reading this
I’m sure you’re a lovely person, but it’s just not on my cards RIGHT now…
Seriously, I cringe EVERY single time I hear that song. I never know if Bruno Mars was just taking the piss out of Britney Spears and other drunk Vegas weddings, or if he genuinely thinks the sanctity of marriage is that worthless that you can marry anyone you want, while drunk, just for fun, and if you regret it in the morning, can just get divorced..
When I was a child, I remember thinking how amazing it would be to find ‘the one’ and get married for eternity and just be in love all day everyday…
Growing up, after watching my dads several failed relationships and marriages, I started to resent the thought of marriage and vowed I would NEVER get married myself because it was just a waste of time and money.
Then at the sweet old age of 14 and 9 months I got swept off my feet and spent the next three years with someone who I thought I was going to marry and spend the rest of my life with… three weeks of living together and we were ready to kill each other…
Most recently, my ex and I were thinking about going down that path.. and by thinking I mean there was a lot of pressure on us from family and friends because we had known each other for years, seemed happy enough and the fact that we tried to do the whole long distance thing would mean that we should at least just get engaged to prove that we were going to be faithful to each other. Hell I remember one night when I went down to Brisbane to visit him, I was crying and begging him to just hurry up and propose because I wasn’t going to sit around and wait forever in Mackay for him to make his mind up…
Yeah… like I said, he is my ‘ex’… and ‘example’ of who I definitely should not marry…
Being an adult, watching people around me get engaged and married all the time, has completely changed my perspective of marriage alllll together. The truth is, you can marry whoever the fuck you want.. but what makes them ‘the right’ person, is the question.
I’m not an expert in the matter, but I like to think that due to the ten million weddings and engagement parties that I have to attend this year, my own failed ‘pre-engagements’ and wedding plans, and just general relationship mistakes have made it pretty clear to me who you should marry or at least some key points to consider before walking down the aisle…
1. You Should Be On The Same Page
Find the closest book, turn to page 45 and if your names are not on the same page then your relationship is doomed…
In all seriousness though, you shouldn’t have to feel like you’re forever explaining yourself because the other person doesn’t ‘get’ you or understand where you are coming from. You should be able to understand what they mean when they say something that has everyone else scratching their heads or saying ‘WTF’. Sometimes you sit there and cringe after what you said, because you know you’re going to have to explain yourself to everyone else, but your partner just laughs because they get you and know you just said the stupidest fucking thing.
You should have the same future wants and needs to an extent because you shouldn’t really be marrying someone who wants to have kids in the next 6 months if you NEVER want to have kids. If you hate smoking and smokers, and they refuse to give up smoking, you should probably have a pretty big chat about that one too… Or if they like doing recreational drugs on the weekend and you’ve never touched drugs in your life and are pretty against them – consider that maybe JUST maybe, you should not be marrying this person. If they are talking about retiring at the age of 30 and you’re the most motivated person in the world and love working and would happily work until you’re a billionaire, then they probably are not the person you should consider spending the rest of your life with.
If you’re not on the same page BEFORE you’re married, then it’s only going to get worse after you get married. This will be pretty obvious planning the wedding though (I would imagine) as this task in itself requires a lot of team work and shared decision making. If you can’t even agree the specifics on the wedding, then how are you going to agree on any other specifics afterwards?
Remember, this is the person who you will be (or should be) making joint decisions with for the rest of your life, so you need to make sure before the hard decisions have to be made, that you’re on the same page. Or you could end up like my old school friend, divorced within 6 months of the wedding because he wanted to stay in his home town and have babies and she just didn’t really know what she wanted and felt like she was too young to ‘settle down’…
2. Have They Got Their Shit Sorted?
In the words of TLC … “a scrub is a guy who thinks he’s fly, he’s also known as a buster… always talkin bout what he wants and just sits on his broke ass… ”
Getting married should be an ‘adult’ decision and is like making an investment. You might buy a house that you plan to renovate, but you shouldn’t marry a person who you need to strip down and rebuild. If they are still struggling to manage their finances, health, well being, relationships, job and life then they probably don’t have their shit sorted.
This is a bit of a controversial topic though, because I don’t think you’re ever going to find anyone who has everything sorted out and things change and shit happens. Look at me, I lost my job just before I met my current partner and I would never think he would take me on board while I felt so disorganised and messed up. Because of me not having a job for a few months, I now have a lot of overdue bills and expenses that I have to work towards paying back. However, upon reflection this was not something I had a lot of control over and I was working my arse off trying to find a job and minimising all my costs and expenses while I was unemployed.
You have to figure out whether their life situation or their situation they are in right now, is one they will continue being in or if it’s one they have self built and don’t want to get out of. My ex and were a perfect example of this, he was quite happy being ‘unemployed’ and watching movies/playing PC games in his undies in bed all day while I worked… likewise, I was quite happy living pay cheque to pay cheque because even though I was working a very well paying job and had no assets to show for it, I couldn’t resist buying a new outfit or pair of shoes every week…
Both of us were prime examples of people who didn’t have their shit sorted, and were quite happy with it being that way.
3. They Should Understand Respect
This is a massive one for me. A girlfriend once told me, ‘If he speaks badly of his ex then he will speak badly of you’. It is so true. While I don’t always speak very highly of my exes, I value each one of them for what they taught me and for the times that were good. You should rarely look back on a past relationship and speak horribly of an ex day in and day out and particularly with your partner. The truth is, at one point, you were happy with that person and there was a reason you were dating them.
It is natural to go through a phase where you constantly want to tell the world how much of a shit head they are and how heart broken they left you, but you should reach a point where you just learn to accept and appreciate it for what it was. That being said, there are still some real assholes in the world that can’t be avoided.
If they talk about their family, their friends and their exes with respect, than they’re probably only saying respectful things about you. If they take every chance they can to bag out their friends behind their back – you need to question what the hell they say about you. Likewise, if you hear them talking in depth about this one time they did this to this girl and how funny it was, it’s probably time to put on the invisible cloak and run away as fast as you can.
There is a difference between criticising someone and being disrespectful… Make sure you understand when someone is just speaking their mind because they are frustrated or they disagree with the choices of someone and when they are downright being nasty, cruel and like a school yard bully.
4. You Shouldn’t Feel Pressured/In A Rush
There are two sides to this, but anyone in my opinion who gets married VERY quickly is either insecure about the strength of their relationship or opinions of others or hasn’t really thought it through.
Think of my example before, I was crying and begging my ex to just hurry up and propose so I could prove that what we had was worth fighting and waiting for.
BIIIIGGG Indicator we weren’t meant to get married and I was literally just trying to mask the insecurities I had, because I knew waiting for him and making long distance work was basically pointless because something told me it wasn’t right.
You shouldn’t be marrying someone because all you’re friends are doing it, or because you’re getting ‘old’ and need to get married now because you could end up single for the rest of your life, or because the other person is threatening to leave you if you don’t.
Marriage and engagement should be some of the happiest times of your life. Not the times where you feel as though you’re walking on egg shells, about to make a huge mistake or are continuously questioning yourself and your decision.
One of my best friends has been engaged for close to two years now, and while I think they rushed in getting engaged (it was on their one year anniversary) they have spent the past two years happily engaged and just living life out together. Just because you’re engaged does not mean you need to make wedding plans ASAP. Engagement is your time to work through your future plans together as a couple and make sure that you are in fact making the right decision.
My cousin was engaged to her partner of several years, and a few months before their wedding they broke up. Both of them are happily in other relationships now and there is no animosity. This is due to the fact that they spent that time talking and discussing future plans about life after marriage, and came to the realisation that who they were now, and what they wanted in the future were completely different to who they were when they started dating.
The truth is, people change. Particularly when you’re young. It’s not a bad reflection on yourself or the person you’re dating or engaged to if you are no longer in tune with each other. It just means that you’re not meant to spend the rest of your life together. Our wants and needs change a lot in our teens and early twenties, and sometimes who we began dating is very different to the person we break up with.
5. They Aren’t Afraid to Have Adult Conversations
If the person you are with can’t commit to having a conversation about weddings, babies and marriage then they are probably never going to be ready to have that conversation with you.
That doesn’t mean that you should start talking about it in the first week of dating or that you should be sitting there waiting for the right time to bring it up. You don’t want to scare the poor guy/girl away in the first couple of weeks of dating them by sounding like you’ve already planned out your whole lives together. I.e ‘I can’t believe they’re having 300 people at their wedding, we’re not going to…’
What I mean, is if people around you are having babies, getting married etc. you should naturally be able to discuss this with the other person in a non-committal sense. Figure out what their thoughts are on those around you who are getting married or having children – or if you’re watching a movie or TV show, just bring it up in conversation. This is all about being on the same page as each other – if you are talking about your best friends child who eats all the chocolate in the world and doesn’t exercise and lives on their Xbox and how much this disgusts you, and your partners sees nothing wrong with it – you’re definitely going to have issues later down the track.
If someone is grown up enough and ready to find that person, then they won’t mind talking about these things from time to time. They won’t mind expressing their opinion because chances are they’re sussing you out and what you would be like as a mother/wife before they make a massive mistake. If they are afraid to talk about these things or constantly shy away from the conversation, then they probably are just thinking this is a high school relationship and the future is not really important to them (or atleast their future with you isn’t important).
6. You Are HAPPY and Are In Love
I cannot stress this enough! If you are not happy with the person you are engaged to or married to, then get the fuck out of there! It’s not always going to be sunshine and butterflies, but it should be at least 70% of the time. The amount of people I see getting engaged because they have been together forever and just think it’s the right thing to do, but are actually quite miserable is unbelievably high. Sure behind closed doors they might have the best sex and laugh all the time, but usually other people around you will know if you’re in a happy relationship.
Your parents will be happy when you’re partner is around because they know how happy they make you.
Your friends will smile when you bring them up in conversation because they know you’re in love.
Your heart should flutter when you see them every now and then because you realise how lucky you are and how amazing this person is.
If you’re not happy while you’re engaged – then don’t solidify you’re wedding plans… work through it and see if you can make the relationship get back to that point where you were happiest and got butterflies and SMILED. If you can’t, then don’t be afraid to end it. Relationships do reach expiry dates. Don’t keep at something that is making you or the other person miserable – you’re much better off being single and enjoying life and one day, the right person might come along.
On my birthday weekend, we were sharing an apartment with one of my beautiful friends and her fiancee. I couldn’t help but smile like a little child when I woke up early and walked out to the lounge room and heard them giggling constantly in bed together. They have been together for 8 years or so and have definitely have had their fair share of ups and downs and criticism. But they are in love and they are happy. His words later that day were, “Fuck if I wasn’t attracted to her still she’d be long gone… sorry baby, but it’s the truth”. That is how it should be.
Above all else, the one thing that has spoken the most to me about marriage and love is ‘Don’t marry someone you wouldn’t want your child to marry’. We often think of our future children and place more value on them then ourselves. So if you can’t see the person you’re marrying being a good role model or good mother/father, that’s a big sign that they are not the person you should be marrying, but beyond that – if you wouldn’t want your child to marry them – then don’t marry them yourself.
While this list isn’t exhaustive, these are some of the things that I value and that upon talking to several other people, are pretty darn important when making that big decision. The sad truth is, divorce rates are ridiculously high so most peoples weddings you attend will end up in a broken marriage. But if you yourself don’t want to make that mistake, heed the wisdom of those around you and most of all TRUST YOUR INSTINCT. We all know that we have those weird little gut feelings that churn when we’re in a situation we’re not comfortable with – so if you have that, sort it out and be honest with yourself. Because there is nothing worse than letting yourself down – than knowing that you KNEW something was wrong but you refused to acknowledge it.
Marriage is an investment and like any investment has risk. But you can curtail this risk by being honest with yourself and what your expectations are. Don’t get married just to become a divorce statistic.