Since there are no objective ways of measuring love, you are the only one who can determine if you care about your partner enough to marry him. However, it is still important to look carefully at your relationship and consider the nature of your partnership and whether your affections are strong enough to last for the long-term.
Love or Infatuation?
Early in a relationship, it can be difficult to differentiate between lasting love and the weak-kneed feelings of infatuation that are common when you first meet someone. Although some couples can develop a solid, loving partnership quickly, others may take several years to grow from an excitement-filled romance driven by infatuation to a love that is meaningful and lasting. If you have not been with your partner long, giving your feelings time to mature can help you know if you love him enough to marry him.
Sacrifice and Giving
Although compromising on your core values and identity is detrimental to your sense of self, healthy marriages are often marked by both an ability and a desire to give and sacrifice for a partner. For example, if you are unwilling to give up your weekly Saturday afternoon out with your girlfriends to go to your boyfriend’s family reunion, you may not be ready to make a marital commitment. Also consider whether you are willing to make more significant sacrifices, such as moving for your partner’s new job or trying to change the things about yourself that bother your partner -- for example, giving up cigarettes or becoming more organized.
Envision the Future
When you are evaluating your love, think about whether you can really envision yourself with your partner 10 years down the road -- and even 50 years down the road. Consider if you are on the same page with major issues such as whether you want to have children, how many children you want to have, where you would like to live and how you will manage your finances. If can foresee yourself being happy after your relationship has lost its newness, your love may be strong enough for marriage.
Although people can and do change over time, consider whether you love your partner enough to stay with him if he maintains his same habits and lifestyle. If you think your partner needs to change in some significant way in order for the relationship to last, then your relationship may not be marriage-ready yet, explains Diana Milne, human development specialist with the University of Missouri Extension. For example, if you think you would love your boyfriend enough to marry him only if he becomes more career-oriented and motivated to succeed, then you may want to reflect on your compatibility before deciding to marry.
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