(Originally appeared in the Huffington Post on March 18, 2013.)
You have been with your beau for awhile now. You are exclusive, boyfriend and girlfriend, you are known as a couple in your social circle and you might even live together. And all seems copasetic. However, society favors marriage over just being a couple which is why living together without marriage has the old nickname of "living in sin". So how do you know if you are meant to be a happily unwed person forever or if it's time for you to head to the altar? Here are some things to consider when trying to make that decision....
1. Do you personally believe in matrimony? Deep down before you became all modern, did you believe in matrimony and like the idea of marriage? If so, maybe it's time to get back to your roots and take the plunge.
2. Will matrimony make you feel safer and more secure in your relationship? After all, marriage is more permanent than just being in a relationship. As easy as it is to get a divorce these days, it still requires some effort to get one. You can't just curse each other out and never speak again like you can if you are in a relationship without the legalities.
3. Is there a reason why you are "living in sin" at the moment? Is it because that was the next step in your relationship trajectory and marriage is next and you have just been lazy, or is it because this is what you and your partner decided was right for both of you? When you ask this question, make sure that the answer is coming from yourself , not your partner.
4. Have you refrained from taking the plunge into matrimony because you are acommitmentphobe and marriage seems so much more permanent than cohabitation? Be honest with yourself about this and if you are just scared sh**less about taking that next step, talk to your partner or to a professional about your fears and maybe you can work through them.
5. Have you hesitated about walking down the aisle out of lack of desire to plan a wedding?
If this is the case and you actually would like to be married, go ahead and elope or just do the ceremony in front of a justice of the peace. Getting married is about the love you have for each other, not the party.
6. Have you stayed away from matrimony because deep down you are not sure that your significant other is the RIGHT significant other for you forever? If this is the real reason why you are "living in sin," maybe it's time to admit this and do something about it, instead of staying in the wrong relationship for even longer than you already have.
7. Are you scared of divorce? Are you one of those people who grew up in a divorced family and swore that when you got married, you would never get divorced? You need to take the pressure off yourself on this. Just because your parents got divorced, doesn't mean history will repeat itself. Stop getting ahead of yourself, and jinxing your relationship. Why not go in thinking positively that you are going to work on your relationship and make it last forever, and then maybe it will.
8. Are you holding yourself, your partner and your relationship to an impossible standard because you grew up with picture-perfect parents? If this is the case, cut yourself a break. Regardless of how you remember your childhood, chances are, your parents' relationship wasn't as perfect as you remember it. All relationships have their ups and downs and relationships take work. If you love the person you are with, go ahead and get married and make your own recipe for your great marriage which might be very different from that of your parents.
9. Are you scared that marriage might ruin your relationship? Don't pay attention to those annoying friends of yours who tell you that "getting married ruined their relationship." This is a lot of nonsense; if their relationship is ruined it's because they ruined it, not because they got a legal document that made them commit to each other.
10. Are you scared that your sex life will suffer or become non-existent if you get married? Your sex life is what you and your partner make of it, irrespective of whether you are married, living together or simply monogamous. You and your partner need to work to make your sex life interesting and fun and then it will not matter what classification you have on your relationship.
What other reasons do you have for not taking the plunge into the marital swimming pool?