Things to Consider Before You Rush to the Altar

Bride and groom
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After the 9/11 tragedy, judges and county clerks reported a noticeable increase in couples wanting to get married. This was especially true in locales near military bases. This is not something new. Take a look at the reasons couples quickly got married after the San Francisco 1906 earthquake. But national tragedies aren't the only things that make couples rush to the altar. Getting married in a hurry isn't necessarily a problem if you're doing it for the right reasons.

Before you and your partner take that first big step down the aisle, it's prudent to ask yourselves a few questions first.

Are You Past the Infatuation Phase?

When couples rush into marriage, they should ask themselves, are they past the infatuation phase of romance? During the infatuation phase of a relationship, dopamine and norepinephrine are triggered in people's brains. They get butterflies in their stomach, they don't sleep well, they daydream more, and their appetite fluctuates from day to day. They are literally on a chemical high.

This is when the old saying about love being blind rings true. Belief in the fairy tale myth of living happily ever after is high. In the beginning of relationships, people tend to put their best selves forward. During this initial infatuation phase, it's easy to overlook red flags of behavior or beliefs that could ultimately make couples incompatible. It takes time to truly get to know someone, while some couples are able to make it work in the long term, other's find they're simply too different to cohabitate.

This isn't to say that the marriages of couples who raced down the aisle are doomed to face divorce court some day. However, the odds are against them. The romance novels and movies showing quickie marriages often don't show the reality of a couple's life later in their journey together.

Questions to Consider

Ask yourself these questions before you rush to the altar:

  • Why do you really want to get married?
  • Do you want a long-term relationship?
  • Do you and your partner have similar life goals?
  • Whose family will you spend the holidays with?
  • Do you agree on whether or not you want children? Do you agree on how will you raise them if you do?
  • What non-physical traits are you attracted to in your partner?
  • Do you trust each other with financial decisions?
  • How do you and your partner see your roles as part of a married couple? How will you split household chores and tasks?
  • Where do you want to live? How would you feel if your partner wanted or needed to move for a job?
  • How much premarital education have the two of you experienced?
  • How do you and your partner deal with conflict? Are you supportive of each other even in times of stress?
  • Have you thought about how you will handle a long-term separation from one another?
  • Is one of the reasons you are getting married financial?

Marrying quickly isn't always a red flag. When couples are committed to making their relationship work there's no stopping them. Asking hard questions, in the beginning, is a great way to lay a firm foundation for a love that can last a lifetime.