You've been dating exclusively for several months and think you might be in love, but you really want to be sure that this relationship is heading toward marriage. It's possible to take a step back and objectively assess your relationship to determine whether you have a future together or not. It's important that you are honest with yourself as you examine your readiness for marriage and your feelings for each other.
Watch for signs that your boyfriend considers your feelings ahead of his own. If he jumps up to bring you a snack when he's tired from an exhausting day at work, or if he often does thoughtful things for you such as bringing home your favorite ice cream, without your even asking for it, you'll know he cares about you and wants to be around for the long term.
Listen to what he says about you to his friends. Sex advice columnist Steph Auteri suggests in the Huffington Post article, "Husband Material -- 15 Signs You Should Marry Your Boyfriend," that men who are marriage material brag about their girlfriends to everyone who'll listen.
Become aware of how you feel about him in different situations. If you still find him endearing even after he's done something stupid, then you know his good qualities outweigh his weaknesses and you really love him. Marriage means compromise and disappointments, so if you accept his shortcomings and still feel affection for him, you're ready to accept him as a marriage partner.
Examine his reliability. Does he always follow through on the promises he makes to you and to himself? Marriage takes a lot of maturity, so if you can't count on your boyfriend to follow through on things you agree to do, he's probably not going to be mature enough to handle the stress involved in making marriage a success.
Evaluate the physical aspect of your relationship. If no or little chemistry exists between you, then no matter how perfect he may be in all other areas, he's probably not going to make a good husband for you.
See how he handles jealousy. If he obsesses about your past relationships or accuses you of flirting when you're just enjoying friends, or if he tries to alienate you from your friends because he wants to monopolize your time, he's probably not a man you want to marry.
Ask your friends what they think of him. If they honestly point out serious doubts they have about him, and if you value their opinion, you might reconsider your feelings for him. Maybe your friends see his flaws more objectively than you do. It's not necessary for all of your friends to think he's Mr. Wonderful, but if all of them are warning you against him, he's probably not best suited to become your husband.
Pay attention to how he behaves around children. If he seems to enjoy their company and talks about wanting children with you, that's a good sign that he sees marriage in the future.
Ask yourself whether he is as committed to the relationship as you are. Psychologist and relationship coach Jack Ito points out in his article, "How to Get Your Boyfriend to Marry You," that men are often less committed to the relationship than women, but a man who is committed will treat you with respect.
Decide whether you and your boyfriend are ready for marriage. Linda Young, Ph.D.,psychologist and relationship coach, points out in the Psychology Today article, "Is This 'The One'?" that many young people today prioritize their education and careers ahead of commitment to marriage. If you and your boyfriend have both reached the marriage-readiness phase and you're compatible, there's a good chance he'll become your husband.
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Freddie Silver started writing newsletters for the Toronto District School Board in 1997. Her areas of expertise include staff management and professional development. She holds a master's degree in psychology from the University of Toronto and is currently pursuing her PhD at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, focusing on emotions and professional relationships.