I am often asked how one can know if my future spouse is truly the right one. Because divorce is a norm in our society, my clients seek help to prevent similar events from unfolding in their committed relationships. The key is not to fear marriage, but to develop a strong sense of personal values so you can be attracted to someone who is likeminded. I have talked to individuals who believed they were in love with their significant other but hesitated to take the next step toward engagement and ultimately marriage because they had an uneasy feeling about building a life with this person. It is very easy to rationalize away intuitive signals toward behaviors and beliefs that do not agree with fundamentally. Some issues can be worked through when further explored and some highlight what one already knew: this marriage should not take place. Those who walk down the aisle knowing they are saying, "I Do" to Mr. Wrong that find themselves on a very long journey of heartache.
During my extensive career, I have discovered the primary key to a successful marriage is emotional readiness. It's easier to spend years chasing a dream or running away from love when you feel too vulnerable than it is to take a step of faith and work on healing emotionally from past experiences before making a lifelong commitment.
The right time to marry is when you take love seriously, not passively, committing to marriage and not ignoring red flags in the behavior of your significant other. You know what you want in love and understand the importance of making a life together. You are not so enamored with the wedding preparation that you forget to what is being celebrated. The right time to marry is when you know the correct order of your priorities, are committed to your convictions and share a strong mutual foundation of life goals with your future spouse. Preparing for lasting love and a fulfilling marriage will not take the romance out of the equation, but will set you on the right track toward achieving those dreams you have in your heart.