Perhaps one of the most difficult things to determine is whether or not you actually want something or whether or not you want it only because you were taught that is what you're "supposed to do." And it becomes so difficult because it feels the same. It's not about trying to determine how you feel, but why you feel the way you do. This answer, in itself, can save you a lot of stress and heartache.
Everything is "hard," if you think about it. It's hard to be single, it's hard to be in a relationship; it's hard to have the job of your dreams and perform well, and it's hard to perform well enough to get it. There's a challenge in everything if you look for it, so when it comes to determining whether or not you want to take on a major challenge — such as marriage — you better be damn sure it's what you really want.
But what does it mean to know you really want it? What intentions are genuine, and what aren't? These are the real questions, and we often avoid them because we don't know how to answer them. So here are a few ways to know whether or not you actually want to get married to someone. Ask yourself these with complete honesty; and remember, if anything triggers a feeling of intense anger, it's probably worth exploring. (Anger hides truth, which is perhaps something you should know if you do decide marriage is the route for you.)
You Have Goals You'd Still Pursue After Marriage
The idea of having a partner fulfills you, but doesn't complete you.
You'd Be Perfectly Content On Your Own, Even If It's Not Your Ultimate Ideal
If you're running into marriage because you want someone to take care of you financially, or emotionally, or you want someone to give you direction, you're doing it for the wrong reasons. Even if it's not ideal, if you could be happy on your own but still want to be with someone, chances are, you really do care about them.
You See Your Partner's Feelings As Valid, No Matter What They Are
When you do this, it's usually a sign that you actually care about who they are. When you don't do this, it's usually a sign that you're more in love with the idea of them, or what they could do for you.
You Imagine Your Future Spouse Being Someone Who Loves And Supports Your Life, Not Your Entire Life
You have a sense of self outside of the partnership you desire. You're not using it to define you.
When You Imagine Your Life Together, You Imagine Sharing Happiness, Not Creating It For One Another
You're excited to share your favorite holiday, or your work accomplishments, or your favorite hobby. You don't expect happiness and interest to spring up out of nowhere once you're already married.
You're Choosing Someone With Whom You Are Compatible, Not Just Attracted
Wanting to marry someone to whom you are only attracted is essentially the most severe, blinking red sign that you just want the relationship to do something for you (aka, make you happy in ways you can't make yourself happy). It is only after years of fighting when this expectation isn't met (and then realizing that nobody else can do this for you) that relationships tend to collapse.
You Aren't Choosing Your Partner Just Because You "Seem Meant To Be"
If you want to find a million signs that someone's "meant for you," believe me, you could find them. However, people only tend to seek them out when they aren't actually convinced they're right for the person they're with.
Images: C.Mae Design/E+/Getty Images; Giphy (3)