Am I Ready To Get Married?
Was I ready to get married? Halfway through my engagement, I had a startling realization: I did not feel ready to get married.
I Googled, why do people not feel ready to get married? The results varied, but all centered around things like financial stability, lack of personal achievement, and commitment reservations. None of these applied to me, and that made me even more confused! I was in my last semester of undergrad and set to go to grad school on a full ride. Joshua had a good job in his career field and was about to get his master’s. Neither of us had a frightening amount of student debt. Never for a second did I doubt I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him, or that he wanted to spend his life with me.
So, what was the problem?
It was during a women’s circle at a retreat that I figured it out. The group was asked, if we wished to, share a burden that was on our hearts. After listening to a few other girls have the courage and vulnerability to open themselves to the love and support of the group, I shared.
I remember telling them I felt like marriage was an exam I was struggling to study for, and like maybe I’d never feel ready and would just have to take the test when the day came and hope I did well enough. I felt like I needed to be ready but also recognized that I couldn’t be ready.
Looking back on this retreat, I cannot describe the power of prayer in numbers. Because after I shared this burden with this group of women, I quickly never felt this struggle again.
What changed was a combination of prayer, love, support, and Pre-Cana. I hadn’t been able to describe my feelings about un-readiness for marriage until this retreat. Once I did, I could share them with Joshua. To my surprise, he was feeling the same way! He also felt like he wasn’t ready for marriage and couldn’t understand why.
When we began our Pre-Cana course, Joshua and I had a weekly opportunity to communicate about common issues in marriage. The two of us got to talk about our expectations, our ideals, our worries. We learned more about each other in eight weeks than we had in three years because we hadn’t known to talk about what we did until then!
We both knew we were perfectionists, but neither of us fully grasped the pressure we put on ourselves until we did Pre-Cana and premarital counseling. Each of us wanted to come into our marriage perfect, the absolute best husband and wife we could possibly be. Neither of us believed we needed to be perfect for each other, but we both wanted to be perfect for each other.
Let go of perfectionism!
If you’re wondering if you’re ready to get married, ask yourself why. Are there logistical or financial reasons you’re questioning the timing? Is there something wrong in your relationship that you cannot bring into your marriage? Or, are you being beaten down by temptations of unrealistic perfectionism?
We learned a valuable lesson in Pre-Cana: you can be married for decades, and still not be the “perfect” husband/wife. In our two years of marriage, Joshua and I still make plenty of the mistakes we did when we were dating. We still irritate each other, snap at each other, and yes we fail each other. But if you asked either of us if we’re happy, we’d reply in a heartbeat: He/she is the best spouse in the world. I don’t deserve him/her.
Marriage is not a test you need to pass, or a goal you need to hit, and certainly not a list of boxes you need to check. It is dying to yourself, every day, to love your spouse as your own body. Marriage is a series of failures and triumphs.
The question of readiness has little to do with- can I do everything perfectly? It has everything to do with- am I ready to try to do everything as best I can?