You and your partner may be thinking about the future. What is the next step in your relationship? An unplanned pregnancy or even a “false alarm” pregnancy test may be a great opportunity to look at your relationship and make some decisions about your future together. Ask yourself three big questions as you think through your options.
Is my partner “the one”?
Is this a relationship that you see as a long term life partnership? Does your partner share that same long term view? Ask yourself, “would I completely trust this person with my money, my children, my car keys, my health and well being?” Is your partner helping you achieve your dreams? Does your partner get along with your family? Does he or she help you “shoulder your burdens” financially, emotionally and physically? Are there things you’d change in this person?
Should we live together?
Before you start sharing a rent payment, you may want to take a look at your long term goals. Is marriage part of your vision for your future? Living together actually lowers your chances of getting married. 40% of couples living together will never get married. Couples getting married after living together have a 50% higher chance of divorce than couples who did not live together. Are children part of your vision for the future? Three fourths of children born to live-in couples will see their parents split up before reaching age 16. And all studies show that children are safer, stronger, and have less behavioral problems when living with parents who are married. Living together might seem like a way to save money and get to know this person, but cohabiting has been shown to lower levels of happiness, increase sexual unfaithfulness, and increase likelihood of divorce.
Should we get married?
If you’ve been able to answer question #1 with a clear “Yes!” then you and your partner should begin to talk about marriage. Your first thoughts might be “I’m not ready!” “We can’t afford it!” or “I want to wait until we are financially set up.” But when you’ve found the right person, it’s the right time to start this discussion. Pre-marriage counseling is a great way to explore what is going on in your relationship. And if you feel uncomfortable bringing it up, maybe we can help. Our Life Support program lets you explore your feelings and can help you to share your thoughts with your partner. Let’s talk. Call us today at 412-687-7767.