4 Minutes B4 Marriage – Should you marry?

Should you get married?

Below are more questions that different authors have proposed for helping you decide if marriage is right for you:

 From Are You Ready for Marriage? on Dr. Phil McGraw’s website http://www.drphil.com/articles/article/58

  • Why are you getting married?
    Be honest and evaluate the reasons behind your engagement. Write a list of pros and cons about your partner and your relationship. If you have to talk yourself into marriage — don’t. If you have to talk your fiancé into marriage — no way! Make sure you are not getting married to escape or avoid something. Have you just always wanted to get married? That’s not a good enough reason. If you get nauseous shopping for a wedding dress or seem to be sick every time you have to meet the caterer, listen to your body.
  • Do you know and trust your partner’s personal history?
    The best predictor of future behavior is relevant past behavior. Learn from it. How has your partner behaved in past relationships? How have they behaved with you? What has your partner learned about marriage from his/her parents? Look closely at your partner’s parents — children learn what they live.
  • Have you planned a marriage — or just a wedding?
    Cake, flowers and fine china are all exciting, but there’s more at stake than one day. Your wedding is a day; a marriage is a lifetime. You don’t just want to be married; you want to be happily married. Think about the next 50 years. Put at least the same amount of time and effort that you are using to plan your wedding into planning your marriage.
  • Are you investing more than you can afford to lose?
    Look at the cost of your relationship. If you have to give up your friends, career, or family, for example, the cost is too high. If it all falls apart, are you going to be emotionally bankrupt? It is better to be healthy alone, than sick with someone else.
  • Have you identified and communicated your needs and expectations?
    Know yourself. You can’t determine if somebody is good for you if you don’t know your own needs. It’s not selfish to have goals within a relationship. Express your needs and expectations now — not when you’re already in the marriage. What are your absolute deal breakers? Do you know your partner’s?


Here is a different take on marriage readiness, from Discerning Marriage: A Community of Life and Love. Fr. Michael Sweeney, O.P. encourages couples to discern whether the call, the promise, faithfulness, and sacrifice of their relationship would lead to a covenant marriage.


Discerning the Call: Does this relationship give you fuller identity? Can you imagine your life, with integrity, not including your partner?

  • How well do I know the story of my partner? Are there elements of his/her story about which she or he is reluctant to speak?
  • How forthcoming have I been about my own story?


Discerning the Promise: Does he/she urge you to be who you truly are?

  • Have you a witness in the other—someone who delights in you so that you are seen, appreciated, and recognized for who you are?
  • What, if anything, would your partner change about you? What would you change about him/her?
  • Are there any moments when you are uncomfortable in his/her company? When does this occur? What happens as a result?
  • Have you ever felt belittled by your partner? Are you able to talk about this together?


Discerning Faithfulness: Do you know the other will be truthful when he/she vows to love and honor you all the days of your life?

  • Are you prepared to speak the whole truth about yourselves as questions arise? Can you think of anything you would not wish to share with your partner? Why are you reluctant?
  • Are you satisfied with the amount of time that you speak about important things? Are you both prepared to make the sacrifices necessary to have real time together?
  • When you argue, are you able to “respond” to each other rather than merely to “react” to each other?
  • Are you confident that enough has been spoken between you that you are truly able to be fully present to each other?


Discerning the Sign of the Covenant (Sacrifice): Are you both willing to pay the price of the relationship, to sacrifice for each other?


  • Can you think of occasions when he or she has sacrificed plans or intentions for your sake?
  • Can you think of occasions when your partner has proven that he/she is strong enough to take what you have to say? Do you frequently find yourself protecting your partner out of fear that he/she might be hurt by what you have to say?
  • Do you find yourself protecting yourself because you fear that he or she might walk away from the relationship if you say what is really in your mind or heart? Are you secure in the knowledge of your heart that your partner wants to make you safe to speak?
  • Are you jealous of your partner? Do you know in your heart that he/she is trustworthy? Can you accept that what he/she promises you is true?

 Other Questions:

  • Do you regard your partner as fully your equal? Does he or she regard you as an equal? Do you seek to submit yourself to each other as an act of your love?
  • Have you seen differences in the way that you relate to each other? Can you celebrate and take delight in those differences?

 And one last resource:

 From The Right Questions: Ten Essential Questions to Guide You to an Extraordinary Life by Debbie Ford, these questions could be applied to any decision, major ones like whether to marry, or small ones like whether to eat the doughnut:

  1. 1.      Will this choice propel me toward my desired future, or will it keep me stuck in the past?
  2. Will this choice bring me long-term fulfillment, or short-term gratification?
  3. Is this choice standing in my own power, or am I trying to please another?
  4. Am I looking for what is right, or am I looking for what is wrong?
  5. Will this choice add to my life force, or will it rob me of my energy?
  6. 6.      Will I use this situation as a catalyst to grow and evolve, or will I use it to beat myself up?
  7. 7.      Will this choice empower and make me stronger, or will it disempower and keep me weak?
  8. Is this act one of self-love or of self-sabotage?
  9. Is this act one of faith, or one of fear?

10.  Is this choice made from my divinity, or my humanity? (Betty here. The author seems to mean out of a sense of connectedness vs. self-serving.)

I hope these posts have helped you take a sincere look at what you want from a partner before you are ready for marriage. My husband and I prayed over the years for our children to find kind spouses of faith and integrity. That is my prayer for each of you, too.

May your Holy Week be blessed and your Easter bring resurrection of the Spirit within you!

Betty Arrigotti

PS – I’d love to hear feedback!

 To read more:

Dr. Phil McGraw’s website http://www.drphil.com/articles/article/58

Sweeney, Fr. Michael, O.P. (2002). Discerning Marriage: A Community of Life and Love, The Catherine of Siena Institute.

Ford, Debbie (2004). The Right Questions: Ten Essential Questions to Guide You to an Extraordinary Life, Harper Collins.

  • By Jennifer, July 22, 2010 @ 11:13 am

    I think you have emailed me those “10 essential questions” before, but I feel like I should print and laminate them and tape them up somewhere that I will see every day, or keep a very tiny version of them in my wallet or something…

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