It’s always a good idea to check in with your partner, regardless of the stage of your relationship. Whether you’ve been together for a long time and are considering taking the next big step or have just started dating and are unsure about the future, having an open and honest conversation with your partner can help you figure out the right path to take. The key to success is in how you approach the conversation and handle the discussion.
If you’re considering marriage, here are 20 questions to ask yourself.
- Would for better or worse make me better or worse?
Does your partner encourage you to be your best self, or does he or she get intimidated by any triumphs and feel more secure when you’re not putting your best foot forward? Does he or she make you feel secure and loved, or does he or she create drama or leave you sitting in a sea of uncertainty? Happy, healthy partners bring about a sense of calm and excitement into our lives, whereas toxic partners will deplete and demoralize us. If your co-pilot isn’t reliable and ready to go the long haul, it’s best to fly solo.
- Do we really accept one another?
It is natural to want certain changes in the people around you, but it is unfair for anyone to feel the need to hide their true self in order to be accepted. One must ask themselves if they truly accept the other person for who they are, including their strengths and flaws. If you are unable to acknowledge and accept your partner’s flaws, it may be a sign that you are not yet ready for a committed relationship.
- Who am I?
How can you know if your partner is a good match if you have no idea who you are? Take some time and think about the person you are and want to become. Get to know your values, your non-negotiables, and your short- and long-term goals. It’s important to get a good understanding of what you hope to experience and achieve in life, and what you truly like and don’t like before you bring someone else into your life.
- Am I happy to be in this relationship?
The idea of sharing a life together is not to find someone to complete you or make you happy. But being unhappy at home can seep into other areas of your life — and fast. If you’re always fighting or just generally not feeling great about your relationship, it doesn’t mean you have to bail (counselling might be a good option). But marrying someone in the hope that it changes things is a bad, bad idea. Because the same issues will remain, even if you put a ring on it.
- Am I feeling trapped?
Do you really want to be in this relationship the majority of the time, or do you find yourself wishing for a way out? Do you stay because you’ve invested time or are you really invested in your mate? Do you like them or are they just good on paper? Think hard about whether or not you have the freedom to be yourself, and if you actually enjoy being with this person. If you don’t, well… it’s a good indicator that marriage isn’t a great plan.
- What am I doing to hold us back?
Maybe you could be more attentive, more thoughtful, quicker to let things go, or the first to bring up going to counselling. Perhaps you’re pushing them away for reasons that stem from your childhood or your friends are doing “what you always do.” Whatever it is, take this as your sign to step up.
- Is this relationship balanced?
Do you feel you’re both on the same page in terms of compromise, care, support, effort, and sacrifice? Or is one of you doing most of the giving while the other just sits with their hand out? A relationship is 50/50 and should never be one-sided. So, if you do feel like your relationship isn’t balanced, instead of asking yourself, “Should I get married?” consider that this may not be the right partnership for you.
- Can we have fun together?
This one is incredibly important! Have you ever seen two people sit across from one another in silence at brunch as though they are being forced to walk through their day together? Not fun. If you’re going to spend your life with someone, you want to be sure that they are the person who will make you laugh when you are down, and that they enjoy all life has to offer alongside you.
- Can we have fun apart?
Spending time on your own is a big part of being in a healthy, solid relationship that will last. Unfortunately, codependency can throw a wrench right into your plans to get engaged and walk down the aisle. Think about whether or not you feel comfortable spending time apart from your boyfriend or girlfriend. If the answer is no, it’s pretty self-explanatory what to do next.
- Why am I in this relationship?
Is it because you respect, love, trust, and value the person you are with? Or is it because you’re afraid of being alone, worried about finances, or have built a life you’re scared to leave? Ask yourself the real reason you’re with this person. If it’s anything other than positive, it’s not meant to be.
- Where is this going?
Living in the now is great, but eventually, the partnership will need a plan or someone will begin to feel anxious. Are you checking in with one another and aware of the other person’s expectations? Be sure you’re on the same page and have similar expectations.
- Do I really trust my partner?
For some, the immediate response to this can be devastating. If you’re one of them, it’s time to ask why and how you can begin to build or rebuild trust. Without trust, there’s no chance, as it’s one of the most essential parts of a healthy relationship.
- Am I with a good person?
Knowing what you know about your partner today, would you vouch for them if they were a friend? Are they a truly good person based on their actions and feelings, or are they someone who tends to hide their true nature?
- Am I attracted to my partner?
Physical attraction is hardly the most important component in a relationship, but forcing yourself to be in a relationship with someone who you’re not attracted to just because it’s comfortable or “perfect on paper” isn’t fair to anyone. You will feel resentful and they will feel rejected.
- Am I a parent or a partner?
Taking care of someone you love is a great thing to do, but when you feel like you’re raising a boyfriend or girlfriend, things get a little complicated. You’ll resent their childish ways, and that can cause a rift in the relationship. After all, who wants to sleep with their mom?
- Does my partner have my back?
Do you feel like you’re part of a loyal team that stands up for one another, supports one another, and shows a united front (even when the other is not around)? Or do you feel like you’re constantly being thrown under the bus by your partner?
- Are we looking in the same direction?
Some couples avoid having the big talks (religion, marriage, babies) because they think that, somehow, these things will just work themselves out. By the time they realize they won’t, they’re in a complicated, painful situation that leaves one (or both) feeling a little bit duped. If you want kids and your partner thinks you’re both living in the now and fine with the status quo, you’re both doing yourselves and one another a disservice (and wasting time).
- Are we growing together?
Being a human being living on this earth, we all have a right to grow and develop and create a full life for ourselves. Are you and your partner still indulging in your passions (individual and shared) and growing as individuals?
- Am I still me?
Before asking yourself, “Should I get married?” it’s essential to remind yourself of who you are outside of your relationship. Being in love with someone should not require changing our identity to fit someone else’s idea of who we should be, on any level!
- What is my gut telling me?
Do you think this relationship is heading in a healthy and positive direction? Trust your intuition, it’s there for a reason.