My sister has a famous saying in our family: “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” I don’t mean to be harsh in saying that, but think about it. Will we LGBT folks find a way to be better prepared and more successful in our marriages than heterosexual people have been? Will our relationships be conscious and connected? It’s up to us. The thing we have going for us is that we are actively fighting for the opportunity to get married—this must mean we want to do it right. So let’s do it.
Five Suggested Steps for Being Ready for Marriage
1. Are you the kind of couple other people like to be around?
It’s a great question. How do you treat each other in public? Do you bring out the best in each other? Look at yourself from the perspective of a friend, family member or even acquaintance. Does your relationship make the world a better place?
2. Do you feel connected to your partner?
I don’t mean co-dependent or symbiotic, but is the “space between you” well cared for? Is your relationship one where the two of you exist as individuals with a place of overlap where the relationship resides in a state of healthy connection?
3. Is your relationship a conscious one?
Are you able to talk about all sorts of topics and issues? Are you going into marriage with information about money, religion, sex, family, and kids out on the table? Most importantly, do you have a structure that works for both of you that enables you to talk about differences of opinion you might have?
4. If you’re in it for the long haul, take time to be pre-emptive.
Do some premarital counseling. Things have come a long way since your parents got married and there are lots of great therapists, wedding celebrants, and clergy out there who can help you prepare for marriage in a formal way.
5. Marriage isn’t just about the promises you make on your wedding day.
It’s about promising to become the person who can keep those promises. There’s no way anyone can be completely ready for marriage—there’s too much ahead that we can’t foresee. But we can promise to keep becoming the person who can be committed, conscious, loving and caring to our partners.
The right to marry is an amazing gift that we and our allies have worked long and hard for—do your part by getting your relationship ready to say “I do” in the way that gives you the best chance of starting right and staying connected.