If you are at a point when all of your friends are not getting married, divorced, remarried, having kids, or some combination of all of the above, you either are young enough that your parents should be reading over your shoulder, old enough that all of your friends have died, or you don’t have friends.

Seriously though, with today’s highly publicized wedding industry, it can be really difficult not to look at the wedding cake and honeymoon suites that everyone else is enjoying and pine for marriage, whether we have a realistic idea of what that is or not. That can make it really easy to rush into marriage, especially when you find someone who seems “perfect for you.” Here are some items you should really consider before deciding to marry someone for personal as well as legal reasons.

Major Goals

sweet coupleDreams change, but you should be aware of each other’s goals. These won’t necessarily be a dealbeaker, but they could lead to tension in the future. The more open you are about what you want in life, the better. If you want to wait a while to have kids, but your partner wants to get right to work on creating bouncing babies, you could face some conflict in the future. If you love living near your family and would never dream of leaving your job, town, and support system, but your future (possible) fiancé wants to travel the world and take you with them, things might not work out too well.

Talk about what you both want in life and what you are willing to wait on, compromise on, and otherwise reconsider. This might be a painful conversation if you learn that you both want completely different things, but it can also open your eyes to a whole new side of the other person.

Previous Relationships

Now, it is never good to get jealous over exes. There is a reason that this person is no longer in your boyfriend/girlfriend’s life. But there is also a reason they were there in the first place. Also, talking about previous relationships can reveal dangerous patterns. This can be useful in learning what to avoid and what you and your partner will have to work on. It will also clear the air about any previous marriages, engagements, or kids. Those are definitely things you do not want to be surprised by at your one year anniversary.

You don’t need all the dirty details, just the important ones. If your beau doesn’t want to talk about their exes, you have to ask yourself why. Do they not trust you? Are they afraid you would leave them? Is there something in their past that WOULD make you want to leave them? Honesty is always the best policy. It prevents the incessant questioning and second guessing that could result otherwise.

Finances

You would never marry someone just for their money, but you should be aware of their financial situation. If they have a lot of debt, you are essentially taking that on yourself. If they have terrible spending habits, you need to know so that they don’t drag you into debt with them. This is also not a make or break category, it is just something you should know so that you can be prepared for the future. It is much better to know the full, realistic picture of who you’re marrying rather than having the stained glass portrait you have in your head shattered.

Criminal History

It is a terrible question to ask, but you should know whether your partner has been in trouble with the law. If it was a misunderstanding, they shouldn’t mind telling you. If they did some things they regret, then you can accept the fact that they have changed. If they don’t regret what they did, then they probably have a moral reason why. This could be important because it will reveal differences in your morals. If there are differences there, you need to consider how these will affect your relationship. You should also make sure that you are not marrying someone who will cause you to get into trouble with the law.

These are a few items that you should consider before deciding to marry someone. There are a lot of other things that you should know too, but these are some that get people into legal or financial problem, or make life otherwise painful. Be sure you know who you’re marrying so that matrimony can be something that makes other people jealous, not cause them to pity you.