Relationships can be extremely difficult but they can also be very fulfilling. If you want your relationship to be fulfilling you HAVE to do it right. Cutting corners in relationships only leads to conflict and drifting apart rather than toward each other. Below is a list of things to consider before you get married.
1. Are you faithful to each other?
It may sound obvious but you would be shocked at the number of people who say their vows while being unfaithful. So get this one right, no exceptions. "Open" marriages are not made to last.
2. Have you discussed your expectations for marriage and life together?
Many people picture marriage different than their spouses do and then get married and are severely disappointed. Communicate your expectations before you even get engaged. Make sure your expectations are compatible. If they are not try to find middle ground that works for both of you. If you cannot do that do not get married.
3. How well can you communicate?
Marriage REQUIRES good communication. Throw away guilt trips, passive aggressive behavior and assumptions. If he/she does something right, tell them. If you have hopes for an anniversary tell them. If you are upset, tell them and don't just expect them to figure it out. TALK TALK TALK TALK TALK TALK. Do not blame. Fight for the relationship, not to win the argument.
4. Have you figured out how to manage your money?
Money can be a huge source of conflict. It is stressful if you don't have an effective plan or if you are not on the same page. See a financial counselor if you are not able to figure out a solid plan on your own.
5. Are you closer to your parents that your potential spouse.
The bible was on to something when it said you should leave your parents and attach to your spouse. It causes huge marital issues when you go to your parents for companionship and help more than your spouse. Make sure your spouse is your best friend, not your mom.
6. Have you worked through any trust issues?
Trust/insecurity issues can put big wedges in relationships. Make sure you are working toward solving this before you get married. If your marriage starts with trust issues and you are not working on it, it is not likely to last. A good marriage requires trust.
7. Can you communicate about sex?
Sex, in laws and money are the top three biggest marital issues. Make sure you can communicate about sex. It can be amazing or it can be horrible. Communication around this topic will help lead which direction your sex life will go. Don't be afraid to see a counselor if you have been sexually abused in the past and are struggling in the area. Make sure your sex life is love/each other based not lust based.
8. Are you committed?
Couples that view marriage as a life long commitment are more likely to work through issues than couple who view divorce as an option. As un-romantic as it sounds, being stuck with someone for the rest of your life is motivation to be nice to them. It is a rather simple concept with big implications.
If you feel like you are solid in all of these areas you might be a great candidate for marriage. Marriage should be taken seriously. I strongly recommend every couple going through pre marital counseling to make sure there are not any issues left un-turned. If you do struggle in some of the above stated areas it doesn't mean you cannot get married, it just means you have some things you should work on first. Working on your relationship is the best gift you can give to each other. Do it right and reap the benefits.