So you’re in a great relationship and think she may be “the one”. The thought of popping the question has crossed your mind, but you are worried about making a mistake and choosing to commit your life to the wrong woman. Divorce is a scary thought, with half of your livelihood being decided by a court system rigged against men. Being miserable for the rest of your life is also terrifying, and you know that’s a possibility because you’ve talked with married men who would rather be in prison than spend the rest of their days with their wives. Your big bro understands the anxiety, confusion and fear you’re feeling.
If and when you do pop the question, it’ll be the biggest decision you ever make in your life. Sure, picking a college or a profession is nerve racking. Deciding how to invest your money is also a big deal. But this one is the biggest because of the risk and reward associated with it. The implications for your future are tremendous, and it’s important you get it right.
Let’s look at the five biggest reasons why it’s so important:
1- LOCKING IT UP: She will be your everyday partner for life, and you don’t get married with the intention of getting a divorce. You are committing to being locked in. When shit goes south, you’re obligated to find a way to work it out. The rest of your life seems like a long time, because it is. Make sure you don’t get carried away in the excitement of a wedding, a honeymoon, and great sex, and instead think of this as a lifetime partnership. How’s it going to be when all of that early excitement fizzles?
2- KNOCKING HER UP: Many people believe the main reason for getting married is to have a family. I’m one of those people. As men, we are biologically programmed to spread our seed and breed lots of offspring carrying our DNA. It’s much easier to do that with one dedicated woman who you know will be a good mother than to knock up a bunch of different women. Logistically, financially, and even biologically, you’re better off reproducing with one woman. If you want a family someday, getting married to a good woman is the best route. Clarify that she also wants kids, and make sure she has great motherly qualities. Having children may be the single most important thing you do on this earth, so make sure you understand how the woman you choose all factor into that.
3- BREAKING THE BANK: Your finances are now connected. This is a heavy one, and at times uncomfortable to think about. Once you’re married, understand that the court views you as equals in the marriage. Even with a prenup, chances are she’s entitled to half (or much) of your shit if things go south. Not only that, but you become responsible for any debt she may already have. Several of your home expenses will increase, too. If she’s a financially independent person, this can be a plus, as she can help chip in for many of the joint expenses like rent/mortgage, utilities, cable, car/gas, etc. You’re a unit now, and if you’re not ready to take on that burden, don’t even consider getting popping the question.
Pro tip: Are you somewhat concerned she may be a gold digger? Flat out ask her to sign a prenup, and watch her reaction. If she refuses outright, your suspicions have been confirmed and you should likely end the relationship. If she’s open to signing one and doesn’t freak out when you ask, then you’re dealing with a quality woman.
4- BREAKING YOUR BACK: A new layer of unexpected challenges will arise. Just as her financial debt becomes your collective financial debt, so do her problems. And trust me bro, there could be many (some hidden below the surface). It’s not like a husband can just abandon his wife when she is in need. Fuck, it’s likely going to be in your vows. Whether you believe it or not, her problems will eventually become yours too. They could be problems related to health, money, family, friends, career, etc. At the very least, she will take her problems home with her and you’ll have to deal with the emotional fallout. If she’s got enemies, they’re your enemies now. If her health problems require her to see a doctor three times per week, don’t think for a second you won’t be assisting in getting her there, ensuring insurance covers procedures, and so on. If her family is nuts, you’ll have to at some point deal with them, unless she totally cuts off her family. If you and her are discussing marriage, have an open and honest conversation where no topic is off limits, and the books are wide open. You should know about her credit score, any outstanding debt, what’s in her bank account, and so on. If she can’t be open about these things with you, she isn’t ready for marriage.
5- SPACE AND TIME: What was once fully yours is now shared. Your living space, your time and your weekends are now all up for negotiation. You’ll be living together, so decisions in the home need to be jointly made. How you spend your free time will also be up for debate. Now, I’m not saying you need to get her approval on everything you do, but let’s be real. If you think you’ll be making every decision for you and your bride without her input, you’re only kidding yourself. There will be discussions about holidays, weekends, which couch to buy and where to take that vacation. Put it in your mind now: you’re giving up absolute freedom to willingly participate in a partnership for the rest of your life. It’s not going to be easy. You’re going to have to show patience, understanding and a willingness to negotiate. If she’s worth it, this all won’t be so difficult. Good luck brother.
– Your Big Bro