Posted on December 31, 2019
Marriage isn’t as picture-perfect as most wedding blogs depict them to be. Just look at the numbers. As the U.S. marriage rate has declined, divorce rates have increased among older Americans. In 2015, for every 1,000 married adults age 50 and older, 10 had divorced––up from five in 1990. Among those ages 65 and older, the divorce rate roughly tripled since 1990.
It’s no wonder that, despite healthy long-term relationships, many people are left wondering, “Am I ready to get married?” In 2018, the median age at first marriage had reached its highest point on record: 30 years for men and 28 years for women, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Well, there isn’t ever a good time to get married. There is no use waiting for a perfect storm of money, career satisfaction, personal enlightenment, and living situation before deciding to settle down. It just won’t happen. Still, there are some signs you’re ready to marry––and some signs that you aren’t.
The best way to find out if you’re ready for a successful marriage is to seek couples counseling. There doesn’t need to be anything wrong with your relationship to find a therapist to make sure you and your partner are on the same page, and to work through any underlying issues before they become a wedge in your future marriage. Going to therapy can even help you learn how to make moving in together easier. Find a nearby location today so you can see if you’re truly ready for a big commitment.
You don’t need to have you cleared your mountain of student loans to be ready for marriage, but having a handle on your total debt is helpful. Bringing an undisclosed financial burden into a marriage can weigh down a fresh start. If you aren’t where you want to be financially, it could be a sign to wait until you feel ready to spend your life together with your partner. However, as long as it’s a topic of open conversation and there is a clear plan to eliminate the debt, while also staying on track for your financial goals as a couple, it shouldn't be a deal-breaker to popping the question. Interestingly, on the other side, 28% of Americans report that financial stability is a very important reason to get married.
Don’t worry, most Americans in that same poll reported love and making a lifelong commitment as the top reasons to tie the knot. Feeling like there is a true sense of trust and support is a key sign to knowing if you’re ready to get married. That means being comfortable to express yourself, with both positive and negative thoughts and feelings. It’s equally important to feel present in your relationship, without the ghosts of past romantic experiences. A sign that you’re ready for marriage is proven and consistent transparency and emotional support from your partner.
Marriage is the union of two individuals, and while relationships are all about growing up and old together, it’s ideal to work on yourself before settling down. Whether that means travel, improving family ties, or physical and mental health, make sure you feel as much like a complete person before entering a marriage. In fact, the brain isn’t even fully developed and mature until age 27! Bottom line: it’s critical to feel a sense of confidence in yourself in order to feel confident in your marriage.
Tying the knot is one of the biggest commitments you can make. Asking, “Am I ready for marriage?” means you’re aware of how important it is to make the right decision. Ultimately, you’ll know if you’re ready, and if not, there are always trained professionals to help you along the way.
Alison LaSov, LMFT
Alison LaSov is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist with experience treating clients struggling with anxiety and depression. She predominantly focuses on mental health intervention for children and adolescents, particularly those who are in crisis. She has worked within the Los Angeles education system treating students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), as well as supervised a non-profit Teen Crisis Hotline out of Cedars-Sinai Hospital. Alison earned her B.A. from UCLA and M.A. from Pepperdine University. She is a native to Los Angeles and co-founder at Advekit.