10 Signs You Have A Solid Foundation For A Marriage

Read this before you say "I do."
06/07/2016 01:05pm ET | Updated March 9, 2017

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Want to tie the knot? Make sure these things are in place first.

If you're considering getting engaged, it may be time for some introspection.

Experts say there are certain signs that indicate whether or not your relationship is marriage material. Read them below.

1. You respect each other, even when you disagree.

"Name calling and contempt aren't how you guys operate. Instead, you maintain a respectful tone even during your most difficult conversations. If you can respect your partner no matter what, this shows that your relationship can withstand anything." -- Samantha Rodman, clinical psychologist and dating coach

2. You talk straight and fight fair.

"At the early stages of a romantic relationship, you may resist getting differences out in the open, looking them straight in the eye, and having a good fight when necessary. Instead, you may ride the relationship like a two-person bicycle that will topple over if there's not perfect agreement and togetherness. The more of your authentic self you bring into the relationship, and the less you silence your authentic voice to avoid the possibility of conflict or disapproval, the more solid the foundation of your relationship." -- Harriet Lerner, psychologist and author of "The Dance of Anger"

3. You’re not looking for someone to make you happy.

"In general, marriage doesn’t make anyone happier. We enter marriage with a sort of baseline happiness, and marriage doesn’t fundamentally alter that. When the individuals in a couple are able to 'fill their own cup,' it contributes to flexibility and freedom in the relationship. The marriage is then less likely to buckle under pressure." -- Amy Begel, family and couples therapist

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Being happy on your own is vital to being happy in a marriage.

4. You accept that the person you picked is not perfect.

"Face it: You're not perfect and neither is your partner. The good news is that a healthy and solid marriage is based on accepting each other, including the flaws. If there a red flags at the outset -- say, a partner who drinks too much or or lies or treats you with disrespect -- you're wise to think twice. But the ordinary challenging stuff -- he leaves his dirty socks on the nightstand, she looses her keys -- isn't going to disappear once you say 'I do.' The key is to appreciate all the good things and to somehow find peace with what's less than ideal." -- Winifred M. Reilly, marriage and family therapist

5. You can talk about the tough topics.

"Communication is the number-one problem for couples. None of us are perfect at it, but when we can talk about difficult topics like money, sex, kids, religion or politics, and do so respectfully, we've got a good foundation for a happy future together." -- Kurt Smith, counselor and director of Guy Stuff Counseling & Coaching

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It's important to talk to be able to talk about anything and everything.

6. You respond to each others' needs for connection.

"Partners who catch the ways in which their partners turn toward them to try to connect on an emotional level do better in relationship. This means that they connect in small ways when they spend time together. If one tells a joke, the other laughs. If one texts, the other texts back. If one is hurting and needs to talk, the other stops what they're doing and listens. This builds a strong sense of intimacy and a strong sense of emotional connection over time. It also builds trust, which is fundamental in a good strong relationship." -- Michael McNulty, master trainer with The Gottman Institute and the founder of The Chicago Relationship Center

7. You make each other feel valued.

"A solid foundation for marriage doesn't rest on the intensity of the love you choose but rather on whether the relationship is good for you. Is there a sense of safety, ease and comfort in the relationship? Does the person you want to marry enlarge, rather than diminish, your sense of possibility and worth? Can each person really listen to the other, and stay curious about their partner's experience? All of these things strengthen the foundation of your future marriage." -- Harriet Lerner

8. You have a good relationship with your future in-laws.

"All marriages are unconsciously a marriage between two families. We bring our families with us, either [physically] or symbolically, whether we want to or not. When the in-law connection works well, it can help protect the couple during stressful times. These relationships can buffer tensions between the couple or provide support during periods of vulnerability. Conversely, fractured in-law relationships, especially if they become chronic, usually stress the couple -- sometimes beyond their endurance." -- Amy Begel

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A flawless relationship with your in-laws isn't required; attempting to get along is, and can help protect you and your future spouse during hardships.

9. You work well together as a team.

"'Partner' isn't just a label we call each other -- it's the way we need to treat each other, too. Successful couples work together well. This doesn't mean they don't have disagreements, it just means they work through them in a considerate, respectful and loving way." -- Kurt Smith

10. You share how much you love each other.

"Partners who are in the habit of telling one another what they appreciate about each other have a solid foundation for marriage. If they see something positive, they point it out. When we appreciate the positives we avoid the very negative habit of scanning for the negatives, which results in contempt -- one of the strongest predictors of divorce." -- Michael McNulty

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