It frustrates me beyond belief when I read “how to” lists written by authors who claim to know everything about that topic. I guess it frustrates me because when I’m looking for answers, I forget that the authors who create lists are just people like you and me, who’ve gone through the same human struggles, trying to make sense of their journey, so they can live their best lives and help others do the same.  I will probably be guilty of the same thing when I write my blogs too. In an effort to not make this mistake with this blog, I will give you my disclaimer up front.  I am an expert at failure which makes me qualified to share this with you.  Although I’m fine now, this list has evolved because I’ve failed. With that being said, here’s my answer for the question, “How do you  know when you can get married?

1. When you’re intensely physically attracted to your spouse

I don’t care what people say about how being friends first is the most important thing to developing a strong intimate relationship.  If you are friends first, great, but if you’re friends first, and not strongly physically attracted to your potential spouse, you are not going to desire one of the most important parts of a relationship–sex. You won’t even want it, especially when you’re pissed at your spouse. If you are physically attracted, you can be totally pissed, but still not say no to sex. Sometimes, sex is the best ice-breaker, the best aid for making up.  Sometimes, during sex is the best time to reconnect with that person.

2. When he can meet 80% of your needs list.  A “needs list” is a list of your values.  A needs list has nothing to do with your wants, but everything to do with your core beliefs, and the ideals you value. It is essential for a healthy, thriving relationship for the couple to have similar values. Can you imagine what it would be like for a couple if one person believed in Jesus and one person was an Atheist? How could you ever find common ground?  It would be nearly impossible to ever come together on anything since each person’s core beliefs are so vastly different. Each person’s worldview would be in total conflict with the other. Not that you couldn’t make it work, by why would you want to start a relationship with that huge of a task at hand?  You might think you’ll be able to honor each other’s viewpoints, and while that may be true some of the time, when love is involved, emotions can run high, and all rationalization is out the window.

When you’re in the middle of a conflict, often, the cause is a conflict in the value system of the two people in conflict.  Somehow they clash.  For example, if you value honesty above everything else in your relationship, and find out your partner has been dishonest, forgiving that person for being dishonest can seem impossible because honesty was at the top of your “Needs List.” You value honesty so much (for whatever reason) that when you’ve lost it, it feels like a deal breaker. It’s important for your spouse or potential spouse to know what your deal breakers are, and avoid them at all cost. So here’s where the list becomes important. When your potential spouse meets 60-80% of your needs list, it’s a good indication it may be a good time to get married. Here’s an example of a needs list:

1. Loves God and can help me in my spiritual journey

2. Someone who cares about health

3. Someone who works hard; is motivated and takes initiative to contribute to the world around him

4. Educated

5. Well-rounded experiences

6. Compassionate, relatable to others, has integrity and is honest

7. Makes me feel like I’m the first person he thinks about when he wakes up and the last person he thinks about before he goes to sleep.

8. Cares about the things that are important to me enough to do something about it.

9. I find physically attractive

10. Funny

11. Can stand up for things he believes in

12. Has healthy habits and hobbies

13. Appreciates doing things with me, and helping me toward accomplishing my goals.

14. Loves my culture

15. Appreciates my family

It is important for you to meet his Needs List as well. Create your list.  Have him create his, and compare it.  Treat the possibility of a marriage like a business decision. The heartache, money, and stress of a future divorce makes the ‘transaction-like’ feel of the list, not a big deal!  I hope these tips have helped you!  Like I said, I’m becoming an expert because of the many times I’ve failed. If you’d like to read about my journey in my raw and candid story, check out my books, Candy Canes and Coke, and Rescued By A God I Didn’t Know.  If you’re reading this article on my website, then you can click on books, but if you’re not, you can go to God Bless!