By Lori Peters
I waited a very long time to get married. I just got engaged last year and I’m way over 40! That deserves an exclamation point because I suffered through so much heartache, as I’m sure you have too, it sends my thoughts spinning to think about it.
We’ve seen and been through it all ladies — we’ve suffered through not being his priority, all his problems, his promises that as soon as “fill in the blank” changes, we’ll be together. I could go on and on and on…
Is waiting for him to change worth it? If he does put more effort into your relationship, will it last long enough for marriage? Let’s take a look at some must haves before you even consider saying “I do.”
1. He must be able to talk to you about anything — especially the hard stuff.
If he avoids tough conversations, get out. I know that seems harsh but as time passes with bad, weak or no communication, you will get frustrated.
You’ve lived long enough to know that life throws challenges at you and you don’t want to go it alone. You’re in a partnership for a reason — to help lift each other up and get through it all together.
If he’s avoiding now, he will continue that pattern, unless you talk about it and you see change over some reasonable period of time. If not, find someone who is open and has the maturity and level-headedness to know that shutting off does not work.
2. He has to be physically present when life isn’t great.
Does he fly the coop when things get tough or tell you he needs a break? Does he walk away and then come back when things get better? This is a sure sign that there’s a problem. Until he can face the hard times with you, he’s not ready for marriage.
Here’s a little test. When an obstacle arises, observe his reaction. If you don’t like what you see, talk to him about it. What is his reaction? Does he make different choices when new problems arise?
The way people react through the hardest of times is a measure of their character. Are you marrying a man of integrity?
3. He must treat the women in his life well.
Unless his mother is a horrible person or his sister is a witch, watch how he treats other women, especially women who have been in his life a very long time. Think about his kindness and respect levels toward women.
Be warned by what you see if you cringe at his actions. He will and does treat you the same way, and if he doesn’t, he’s faking it.
4. You have to discuss the biggest life issues: family, finances, kids, career, sexual expectations and needs.
Ahhh... the big talks. If you’re thinking about getting married, these cannot be avoided.
Are you both on the same page? If not, are you both able to negotiate a plan that is acceptable for you both? If he won’t discuss it or you both can’t agree, what’s next?
It’s overwhelming to think about it because you love this man. You can’t imagine being with someone else but the cold, hard truth is, down the road, you will get urges to have the life for which you are destined. It might not be right away but it will come.
If he’s not able or willing to be the man you want, please believe in yourself enough to look for the man who is.
5. He must be preparing for your financial future.
Don’t hate me for this but unless you’re independently wealthy or you both have made a conscious decision that he can stay at home and you can afford it, then he needs to work.
I know it’s all lovey-dovey right now but when you look into the future, can you both have the lifestyle you are comfortable in? Do you see him contributing and planning for that? If not, big red flag.
6. He says he’s going to make changes and you actually see effort.
Does he say things like: “I’ll be over” and then doesn’t show for hours; “I love you and it was only one night”; “I’ll pay for it, don’t worry”?
It’s the constant promises that don’t seem to be kept. Bad news, this will not change with marriage. He has to show you through his words and actions that you and his responsibilities to your relationship are number one.
You know the truth deep down, you just don’t want to admit it. But going into a marriage with rose colored glasses on is dangerous as those glasses, along with your heart, will be broken into pieces.
7. Your man must be mentally stable.
I know this seems obvious but sometimes we can look right past it. Does he actually work on himself and try to be a better person? Or does he just pay lip service to it and go back to acting the same old way.
Get real ladies — this is your life we’re talking about here. If he’s a broken person, he will in no way be marriage material. He needs to be on solid ground with his life, himself and how he treats you and others.
Imagine your man in five or ten years. You don’t want to be the only one in this duo carrying life’s load. Think about it.
8. His code of ethics, morals, and values fits with yours.
You don’t have to have all the same beliefs to make it work. However, are you at least accepting of his values? Do you both share in a similar code of morals and ethics?
There’s a very strong chance this won’t change unless he really wants to make a change. A guy I really liked once told me that a blow job was not cheating! He’s now married to somebody else.
You’ve grown up with a set of standards that you live by and typically these are non-negotiable. So, if you’re not on the same page and he’s sticking by what he believes, it won’t work.
9. He shows concern for you when you need him.
Not just sometimes but always. If you need him, does he want to be by your side? He needs to make sure you’re OK, even if he can’t physically get to you. If he’s blowing you off, then the relationship is in trouble.
However, remember to be reasonable when he has other obligations like work and children. If you’re not in his top two, you need to be. If not, do not marry him.
10. He must show you and tell you he loves you.
Don’t settle and don’t make excuses. If he can’t say the big three words nor show it in his daily actions, you can imagine what’s going to happen down the road.
Those who can’t express their love and emotions need some help around their own life issues. Allow him the time and space to do that, and then see if you’re a good fit down the road. There’s nothing worse than a woman feeling unwanted.
Marriage is one of the most important things you will ever do. You really do know if he’s a “keeper” or not and it’s your choice to decide. Build the life you want as love does conquer all — as long as you both are committed to the journey together.
Lori Peters is a radio show host, writer, and speaker in happiness and well-being. Check out her free resources, services and sign up for her monthly newsletter at the Happiness Hangout. You can also find all of Lori’s happiness information in one location by clicking here.
This article originally appeared on YourTango.
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