Testing 1-2-3 Is He (or She) Ready for Marriage?


One of life’s biggest events is getting married. If you want to marry, how do you know if he (or she) is right for you, and is really ready to commit to a lifelong union?  Chemistry and other concerns are important. You can also do some “litmus testing” to find out which qualities a person has that you can accept and which ones spell trouble, especially about whether marriage readiness exists.

Marriage-readiness is necessary. It can’t be forced. When he’s ready, he’s ready and not a moment before. If you’re able to manipulate a not ready man into marrying you, he may resent you for a long time. You don’t want that, do you? So do test for readiness.

The “Sex and the City” television characters once compared a marriage-ready man to a taxi: At a certain time, he becomes ready to commit. His “available” light goes on and the next woman in his life gets the ring.

You can tell the difference between a man who’s got the light on and one who’s just driving around in the dark. Here are some positive signs of his readiness:

  • The singles scene no longer appeals to him.
  • He’s financially independent.
  • He’s at least able to talk about the idea of commitment.
  • He wants to be a dad or is willing to be a step-dad, if this applies to you.
  • He’s your boyfriend in name — your husband in spirit. He makes plans for the future, introduces you to his family and friends. He calls you regularly, wanting to hear about your day and to tell you about his. He’s open and honest.

Financial independence relates especially to a man who desires to start a family because he’s likely to want to be financially secure before marrying. Regardless of your age and life stage, if you want a responsible partner who is able to commit to a job, pay his bills, and so on, look for these qualities.

If a man objects to any talk about your future, he’s probably not ready for marriage. To further test the waters, tell him directly how you feel. You can say candidly that you’re wondering whether he’s dating with the hope of finding a wife or if he’s just, well, dating.

Signs that He’s Not for You

If he says he doesn’t want to marry, believe him and move on. But even if he does want it, make sure the answer to questions like these is a clear no:

  • Does he spend irresponsibly?
  • Does he speak negatively about marriage?
  • Does he hurt you by being unreliable or abusive; or by lying, cheating, or flirting with other women?

Watch out for red flags. If you want a good husband, know that a yes to any of the above questions is a likely disqualifier, even if he’s charming and says he loves you. Or perhaps you are desperate and he/she is “just not that into you.”

Test for Long-Term Compatibility

Talk about what your lives together would look like after marriage. Even many couples who live together first say that marriage changes their relationship.

Say what matters to each of you. Maybe my husband sensed that I wasn’t cut out for a traditional gender-based division of responsibilities. One evening while we sat on my living room couch, well before we got engaged, he said, “I’m not the kind of guy who expects his wife to have dinner on the table at a certain time each evening.”

Green light for me. I could be myself with him. This is a major thing to test for, along with good chemistry and character traits, similar values and enough shared interests. If you’re also both marriage-minded, comfortable being yourselves with each other, and able to accept your differences over time, you can look forward to a real life happily ever after.

About Marcia Naomi Berger LCSW

Marcia Naomi Berger Marcia Naomi Berger, MSW, LCSW, author of Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love: 30 Minutes a Week to the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted (New World Library, 2014), is a licensed clinical social worker with a private psychotherapy practice in San Rafael, California. She says, “My special area of interest as a therapist is to help people create relationships that are emotionally and spiritually fulfilling, as well as satisfying physically and materially. I believe in marriage and recognize how societal changes have resulted in new relationship challenges for many people.” She sees individuals, couples, groups, and families in her private practice in San Rafael, CA. Marcia Naomi Berger is a popular keynote speaker and workshop leader. She offers simple, practical tips for enriching marriage and other relationships by using positive communication skills and helps people reversing unconstructive habits many people learned as children. She offers executive coaching services and corporate trainings including topics such as “How to Deal with a Difficult Person,” “Mindfulness Training,” and “How to Say No.” Her online class, “The Marriage Meeting Program: a Strength-Based Approach for Successful Relationships ,” appears on the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) site. She has taught continuing education programs at UC Berkeley Extension, and Alliant International University. A former executive director of Jewish Family and Community Services East Bay and clinical faculty member at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, she has held senior level positions in child welfare, alcoholism treatment, and psychiatry. Marcia Naomi Berger lives in San Rafael, California with her husband of 27 years. You can subscribe to her free monthly newsletter featuring articles about marriage, relationships, and communication at www.marriagemeetings.com