If you've been dating your boyfriend for a while and are considering making that stroll down the aisle together, pause for a second and take a step back. Marriage is a joyful, exciting and extremely life-altering relationship change. Before making this big decision, first evaluate your romantic partner. Is he truly the one? While no relationship is the same, several general predictors on long-term relationship success can help provide you clarity as you determine whether your boyfriend is husband material.
How Does He View Money?
The way that your boyfriend handles his finances is a big indicator of general maturity and responsibility. Examine how he spends his money. Does he pay his bills on time, or does he spend money frivolously even as bills pile up? Someone who's husband material will have good control of his spending and saving, and likely budgets every expense carefully. Additionally, make sure you and your boyfriend have similar views of money. "Arguments about money is by far the top predictor of divorce," says Sonya Britt, assistant professor of family studies and human services at Kansas State University.
What Do Your Friends and Family Think?
When you're in the middle of a passionate relationship, your vision can get cloudy about your boyfriend's character traits. Your family and close friends can create a moment of clarity, providing much-needed perspective from the outside. Plus, your family life and social life says a lot about who you are as a person. If your boyfriend clashes with that, it may point to a deeper incompatibility. Problems between your boyfriend and friends or family mean you may one day be forced to choose between him or them, which can create a lifetime of stress and relationship problems, warns Ann Smith, author of "Overcoming Perfectionism: Finding Balance and Self-Acceptance."
How Does He Handle Conflict?
If you get married, you will disagree and occasionally fight. Your boyfriend should exhibit healthy signs of conflict resolution. For example, he should be able to communicate his needs clearly and be open to compromising so that both of you are happy. If your boyfriend shuts down and gives you the "silent treatment" when he's frustrated, or if he frequently exhibits angry, uncontrollable outbursts, he may not be someone with whom you can build a stable, long-term relationship.
Does He Stay Positive?
Life in general, but also married life, isn't always a bed of roses. Consider how your boyfriend reacts when things get difficult. Someone who is ready for a long-term relationship like marriage should display a positive outlook on life. For example, does your boyfriend seek to find the positive qualities in an annoying office coworker, or try to discover the positive outcomes in a seemingly bad situation? If your boyfriend possesses a negative outlook on life, he may have a difficult time coping with marriage problems in the future.
Does He Respect You?
Your boyfriend should have the utmost respect for you. That means he doesn't take you for granted, and he's always aware of your boundaries and the things that make you feel vulnerable. Additionally, someone who's husband material respects himself, knowing his own dreams, goals and boundaries. This level of self-awareness will help you both navigate a long-term relationship in a healthy way.