It is the second biggest responsibility you will ever undertake. The first is having children. The responsibility to which I am referring is marriage. Usually, these two responsibilities go hand in hand. Can anyone be absolutely certain they are ready for so big a life change? As it happens, most cannot.

According to the

Why Marriages Fail

The Internet is full of lists of reasons why marriages end in divorce. And they are all different. No two have all the same items in the same order. While these lists may seem random, patterns bubble up to the surface when they are taken as a whole. Here are a few reasons that seem to always show up in no particular order:

  • Inability to communicate
  • Finances
  • Infidelity
  • Physical or emotional abuse
  • Addiction
  • Boredom
  • Religion
  • Children

The takeaway is not that these are the main reasons for divorce, but that there are lots of reasons for divorce. Some are more vague like marrying for the wrong reasons, or marrying too young. No one ever says what the right reasons are, or what the proper age happens to be. Before you say, “I do”, ask yourself these questions:

Am I fully Committed?

This is also a little vague because being fully committed can’t be fully defined. One outward indication of commitment is the amount of money you spend on engagement and wedding jewelry. You spared no expense when choosing the perfect men’s watch.

When it comes to the symbol of your marital commitment, will you go for the men’s black gold wedding bands or will it be something off the rack at a discount store? Symbols matter. Choose a symbol that matches your commitment.

What Am I Unwilling to Sacrifice?

How important is spending the weekends bar-hopping with your buddies? Are you willing to trade that sports car for a minivan? Would you spend every other Sunday going to the ballet instead of watching the big game? In other words, what is you sacred cow? And are you willing to slaughter it and make hamburger out of it?

Even if you have agreed in advance that certain things are hands-off, things change. People change, even you. Sacrifice is meaningless if you are giving up something you don’t mind giving up. It only finds expression when it is something you treasure.

Am I Financially Prepared?

If people would just be honest about this one, a lot of divorces would never happen. Very few 18 to 24 year-olds are financially stable enough for marriage. They are barely financially stable enough to maintain a car. One of the top reasons for marriages ending in divorce is finances.

Here’s the thing: Marriage is expensive. One of the purposes of a big, expensive, even gaudy wedding is to show that there are resources aplenty for the marriage. That is not to say that marriage is only for the wealthy. That would be ridiculous. But marriage should only be for the financially stable.

There is no way to know 100% if you are ready for marriage. You have no idea who you or your spouse will become in five years. If your marriage is based on the idea that you both will stay the same as you are, your marriage is already over. The twists and turns of life transform us in profound and unpredictable ways.

But your chances will be better if you are fully committed, are willing to sacrifice, and have a strong financial foundation.