“Should I marry him?”
“I’m not sure if she is the one…”
“Lord, is it good for us to be together?”
For anyone who is dating or engaged, questions like these are bound to enter your mind and prayers at some point.
Relationships are fun, difficult, and awesome – a hard yet worthwhile journey. And while there is no definitive road map that can help you navigate this journey, there are questions you should ask and things you should do that can help bring clarity to whether or not you two should get married.
If you’re in a relationship and contemplating marriage, make sure you and your significant other ask yourselves (and answer) these four critical questions below. This will help you gain clarity, as you both decide whether to stay together or breakup:
Question #1: Do we have the income needed to support ourselves?
According to research done by Utah State University, one of the top factors that increases the risk of divorce is having a low household income:
Researchers have estimated that individuals with annual incomes of more than $50,000 have a lower chance of divorce (compared to individuals with annual incomes less than $25,000). Finances can be stressful. Apparently having at least a modest income can help
couples avoid stresses that can lead to divorce.”
I know people who have been in this situation, and it’s not fun. They didn’t take practical matters (like money) serious enough, and they faced a lot of stress the first couple years of marriage. Be wise, and make sure you and your spouse have the income needed to support yourselves.
Does this mean that, if you and your spouse don’t make a lot of money, you’ll get divorced? Absolutely not. Most newly weds don’t make a lot of money. Just be sure the two of you know what your monthly living expenses and income are, and make sure that you will be able to provide for yourselves.
Question #2: Do we share similar beliefs and values about life, God, and money?
Trying to marry someone who has different beliefs than you on life, God, and money is like trying to tight rope walk across a canyon: It’s theoretically doable, but extremely difficult, unlikely to succeed, and there’s a high chance of catastrophic calamity.
Do you and your significant other share similar beliefs about life, God, and money? Your beliefs don’t have to be exactly the same, but they shouldn’t be in completely different stratospheres as well. You want the answers to these fundamental questions to be the same:
- Who is God?
- What is the purpose of life?
- How do we manage our money together?
Question #3: Is our vision compatible or conflicting?
Lets say you have a 20 foot piece of rope, and you tie one end of the rope around your waist, and the other end of the rope around your significant other’s waist. Now, what will happen if one of you runs left, and the other one runs right?
Problems will arise STAT. Pretty quickly, both of you will get yanked backwards, fall down, get (significantly) hurt, and not be able to make much progress at all.
Marrying someone with a completely different life vision than yours will create a similar result.
No, you don’t need to have identical visions for life, but if one of you wants to be a missionary in Russia while the other one wants to work at a surf shop in Southern California, that could be pretty problematic. If you feel like one of you is headed East while the other is headed West, that’s a sign of conflicting vision, and a serious conversation needs to take place.
Question #4: What are the deal breakers? (i.e. “if this exists, I can’t marry him/her.”)
In my experience, this question requires the most honesty, but is also the most freeing and affirming.
Before my wife and I got married, we asked ourselves this question. The deal breakers for me were unrealistic expectations. Meaning, if my wife expected me to act and behave a certain way – and there was no way I was going to be able to live up to that – then I couldn’t marry her, because the stress from her expectations would be crushing and damaging to both of us.
Answer this question by filling in the blank: If ___________ exists in our relationship, I cannot marry him/her.
Fill in the blank (both of you), and discuss your answers. It may be hard and challenging, or extremely freeing and affirming.
There are many factors that go into deciding whether or not to marry someone. These questions above are intended to help assist you in gaining clarity, not make the decision for you. Put in the hard work now, get advice from wise family and friends, and figure out if marriage with this other person is a smart decision. You will be glad you did.
Are you married? What questions do you think engage couples should ask when considering marriage?