How to Know Your Relationship is Ready for Marriage

First comes love...and then everything else.
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
Entertainment & Celebrity Editor
  • Sarah is the Entertainment & Celebrity Editor for The Knot, with special focuses on pop culture and celebrity wedding news.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Sarah was a contributing writer for Bravo at NBC Universal.
  • Sarah has a degree in journalism and resides in New York City.
Updated Mar 09, 2020

First comes love, then comes marriage. Whether you and your partner have been together for a few months or a few years, you've likely envisioned your wedding day at some point. But before you dive into planning a wedding, it's best to ensure your relationship is ready for marriage first. Your wedding is only one day, after all, and while color schemes and table centerpieces are important, it's vital that you're setting your relationship up for success long after you say "I do."

There's no formula to make sure that you and your S.O. are ready for marriage. Each couple is different, meaning the path to a wedding is a personalized journey for everyone. There are, however, a few key ways to know that your relationship will stand the test of time. Here, we outline all the ways to know you're ready for marriage. Though your relationship is unique, these universal signs will help you determine if you're prepared to take on forever with your loved one.

You've Worked Through Hard Times Together

Life is not without ups and downs, so you'll know that you're ready for marriage if you've persevered through tough times together. No matter the scenario, any less-than-positive situation will require you to work together and support one another. After all, you can't successfully make it through tough times without compassion and empathy. If you've already made it through a hard time, you've seen how you and your partner can work together in the face of adversity. Being able to see how they'll react is vital for knowing that you can do it again in the future.

While you can't always foresee the next hardship you'll face, you can take active steps to make sure your relationship foundation is strong enough to handle it. Plenty of couples turn to marriage counseling, and apps like Lasting make it easy to get custom relationship help without actually going to a therapist's office. While premarital counseling might sound daunting, it's actually a great way to proactively prevent future problems instead of using it reactively.

You Can Agree to Disagree…

You and your future spouse won't see eye-to-eye on everything, and that's okay. In fact, being able to (respectfully) challenge and learn from each other is a great quality to have. But what's not okay is to let little disputes erupt into bigger problems. Sometimes, it's best to simply agree to disagree on a topic, whether it's where you want to eat dinner or what color you want to paint the guest room walls.

Being able to understand the weight of certain situations is key for having a healthy relationship. So while your dinner plans might be important in the moment, disputing between pizza and tex-mex isn't a sign that your relationship is struggling. Having the ability to identify the importance of a dispute is key for being ready for marriage. Because truthfully, you won't always agree—but that doesn't mean you're headed down the wrong path.

But You're Aligned on What Matters Most

It is important, however, to be aligned on the things that matter most. Topics like finances, kids, religion and careers are essential core values. If you and your S.O. squabble over these, it might be time to consult an expert for help. Because while it's certainly okay for you to have differing views, it's not okay to let them affect your relationship. If you notice that your (or partner's) core values are a source of stress, it's important to take action before you get married. If you don't, you could be setting yourself up for bigger issues in the future.

Getting professional help from a marriage counselor or an app like Lasting is the best option. It's important to have a professional's assistance when it comes to working out matters like these. If you keep problems to yourself, they'll slowly build up over time until it causes an issue that may be too big to repair. Thinking proactively is a sure way to know that you're ready for marriage. If you and your partner are acting as a team to nip potential problems in the bud, you're already showing that you're ready for marriage.

You Don't Want Your Partner to Change

Before you get married, ask yourself if there are any fundamental characteristics you wish you could change about your partner. (And no, we aren't talking about wishing they would empty the dishwasher without being told.) The core values that your partner has should align with yours. So, if you find yourself wishing that they could change part of who they are, you might not be ready for marriage just yet. These characteristics likely can't (and won't) change overnight, so you'll be setting yourself up for disappointment if you go into marriage expecting them to.

However, that's not to say your relationship can't be successful. Get to the root of why you want your partner to change. Once you've figured out why it matters to you, it's time to have a conversation with your S.O. Don't approach it with hostility or accusatory language—that'll set the discussion up for failure. Instead, be open to hearing them explain why their values are so important. Tools like Lasting will help guide you through tough topics while providing actual tools to set you both up for success. After all, you can't solve a potential issue without tackling it head on. And with the help of marriage experts, you'll be equipped to set your relationship up for long-term happiness.

You Trust Each Other

Trust is one of—if not the most—important qualities to have in a relationship. Marriage is a partnership, meaning you'll have to put "we" over "me." It's not always easy to put your partner first, but that's a sign of a strong bond. If you see that your partner values you, you'll trust them in return. The more you prove that their needs are just as important as your own, the deeper your trust will be.

You'll know that you're ready for marriage when trusting your partner becomes second nature. You won't have to worry about whether or not they're thinking about your needs, because you simply know they are—and vice versa. Trust is built up over time as you see how their actions reflect their words. Once you can both truly trust each other, you'll be ready to commit to a lifelong partnership.

You're Each Other's Best Friends

If you consider your partner to be one of your besties, you're ready for marriage. In fact, Lasting's data finds that 70 percent of couples consider their spouse to be their best friend. Through thick and thin, your S.O. should be your ride or die. You'll get to experience some of your best moments together, so of course you'll want to go through it with your best friend.

The goal is not to find your "better half." Instead, it's important to find someone who complements all of you. You should aim to have an interdependent relationship, where both of you can exist as individuals but come together to form a lasting partnership. Once you've achieved this, your foundation will be solid for years to come. After all, you'll have the best marriage when both of you are strong individuals who bring out the best in each other.

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