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In "Runaway Bride," Julia Roberts's character gets engaged to four different men, and completely changes herself to be someone else each time. At the end of the movie, she says, "When I was walking down the aisle, I was walking toward somebody who had no idea who I really was. And it was only half the other person's fault, because I had done everything to convince him that I was exactly what he wanted. So, it was good that I didn't go through with it because it would've been a lie."
While so much of what we see in chick flicks is fantasy, I've always held onto this truth from "Runaway Bride" — it's important to know yourself before you can be in a satisfying relationship.
Here are 13 questions for you to ponder to help you know if you're ready to get married.
Think about all the things that make you apprehensive about the future, not just your relationship anxieties. Are you worried about losing faith in your religion? Or maybe you fear not having enough money for retirement. It's important to understand what your personal concerns are so you can evaluate if your partner's traits will exacerbate or minimize these concerns.
One of the challenges of this world is that everyone defines morality differently. It's easy to forget that not everyone sees right and wrong the way you do. While it's OK to continue forming your definition of morality, it's a good idea to know your personal stance on common issues so you can find a partner whose beliefs align with yours.
You might feel lucky to meet a man who shares your interest in "having fun," but unless you both define it the same way, it means nothing. For you, having fun might be a week long backpacking trip abroad, while for your partner it might mean hours of television. While dating, it can be easy to define fun as whatever your partner likes to do (because things are fun with him after all) but you should be self-aware enough to recognize the things that you personally think are fun.
Recognizing your weaknesses is a strength. Before committing to a life-long relationship, make sure you're aware of your deficiencies. Then, see if your partner brings them out, fills them in or helps you improve them.
Until you're married, you get to be selfish about your choices. So yeah, ask yourself how this marriage will benefit you. Maybe you're just hoping to have someone to go on adventures with or maybe you are looking for constant emotional support.
Once you're married, it's important that you make it all about your spouse, but until you tie the knot, make sure this is the right choice for you.
On the other hand, when we don't feel like we're contributing to a relationship, we start to feel worthless. Evaluate what you have to offer in a relationship to make sure you'll be able to contribute to a marriage.
For some, love is the feeling of security. For others, it means fireworks. I genuinely believe that you can find what you're looking for. In other words, don't settle for anything less that what you want from love.
No one goes into marriage hoping that fire of love will die. To keep the romance alive, understand the ways that you give and receive love. Sometimes, their way of showing love isn't how we show love, so it goes unrecognized. If you don't know whether you feel love best through words, touch, gifts, service or time, find out using the test in this book.
Another key to a sustainable marriage is understanding your triggers: what things make you emotional, frustrated, annoyed, etc. If you understand what those triggers are, you will be able to effectively identify and cope with them in a way that isn't harmful to your relationship.
If you want to get married just because your best friend is, you might need to reevaluate your desires. With careful introspection you can examine your motivations and determine if you're ready to commit.
While you shouldn't make a long list of deal breakers (things like height and the talent of playing the banjo don't really matter), you should have some standards that you stick to.
Until you determine what things you personally value the most (family relationships, tolerance, spirituality, etc.), you aren't ready to be with someone who has their own set of values.
Do you want to be as smart and strong as Michelle Obama or as giving as Mother Theresa? Do you hope to grow up to be a free spirit or a leader? Determine your own trajectory (aka where do I see myself in 10 years?) to find how your partner will affect that vision.
Are you assertive or submissive? Do you need time to form your thoughts or do you say what comes to mind? We all have weaknesses in the world of communication, but unless you are aware of yours, they can turn into fatal flaws in your relationship. Before getting married, get in touch with what those weaknesses are and communicate them to your partner so you can work on them together.