Dating. Is. Hard. There’s no way around it. On the bright side, you meet a variety of people, learn more about yourself and have some good (and often laughable) awkward stories. So, when you find yourself thinking about forever with that very special someone, it may be tempting to trudge forward with emotions and skip the inner-reflective monologue. But, there is one question every dating person should ask themselves: “Do I really want to marry this person, or do I just want to be married?”

Before you start psychoanalyzing every nook and cranny of your current relationship, be aware that it will take time to answer this question. Let’s talk it through a bit.

The desire to be married often comes from an overarching desire for companionship. We all know life can be pretty heavy due to bills, stress, family issues, health concerns, career disappointments, etc. There are some nights that bar-hopping, movie-binging, or venting to a listening ear just doesn’t sweeten the bitterness of life. Marriage can look like a really good and long-term way to have a sturdy hand to hold from day-to-day. And even though you may not see eye-to-eye on your faith, finances, priorities, or the hopes and dreams you have for your future family, marriage may appear better than the alternative… being alone FOREVER.

The desire to be married can create a monster. This monster will give you blinders that allow you to look past the red flags and past all of the things you originally thought you would never settle for in a spouse.

This post isn’t meant to negate marriage. I think marriage is a wonderful thing, and it really is meant to be a sense of support, security and unconditional love. But a successful marriage requires a lot of work on the front end, including patience and discernment while dating so that you can find a person who inspires you, cares for you and truly helps you be even more like yourself.

When you can examine your relationship and easily see how it is mutually beneficial for both people involved, consider it a good indicator that you’re on the right track. And, maybe you really do want to marry this person.

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