You're in love, and you think it's time to make a lifelong commitment -- but you want to make sure that she's the right one for you. Love is important in a marriage, but so is deciding who does the grocery shopping. Don't forget that marriage means joining your lifestyle -- not just your life -- with your spouse's. Before you pop the big question, there are a number of smaller ones ask your girlfriend to ensure you're compatible where it counts.
Factors to Consider
The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy notes that there are about a dozen factors that can predict future marriage satisfaction. They are categorized into three areas known as the marriage triangle -- individual traits, couple traits, and personal and relationship contexts.
Habits and Expectations
The individual traits to consider are your personal values and lifestyle choices. For instance, if you like to stay home and relax on Friday nights, but she needs to go out every weekend, you'll need to find out if she is willing to compromise some of her social commitments. She may love to cook, but if your idea of healthy is bell pepper on your pizza and she is a strict vegetarian, this may pose a problem in the long term.
Goals and Ambitions.
Assess your goals as a couple. You need to understand what your personal ambitions are and where they fit in to your married future. For example, if you are both career-driven, would she be open to relocating if your job required it? Ask her where she sees herself professionally in five years. If she is ambitious, find out how many hours she plans to spend at the office or traveling for work. It's important that you discuss how you'll balance your work and personal lives.
The context of your personal relationships and upbringing is a major consideration in marriage. Ask her when she wants to start a family, and how many kids she wants to have. If she wants six and you want two, you'll have to meet somewhere in the middle. Understand how your girlfriend relates to her family, and how much time she will want to spend with them after you're married. If you can't stand her brother, you'll have a hard time seeing him every Sunday for the family barbecue.
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