There are two types of people in this world: the ones who instantly know how they vision their big days to be and those who shudder at even the thought of marriage.
I use to be the latter. Even when I was in a serious relationship, marriage seemed like an obligation. However, recently, I have found myself in a new, refreshing and happy relationship. When I look at my girlfriend now, the biggest difference from her and the others is, I want to spend my life with her. And more importantly, if we ever get to a path in our relationship where marriage is discussed, I won't be afraid.
I know that with her, I am more than ready to exchange vows, plan the entire event and throw each other epic bachelorette parties. Yep, if my girlfriend decided she was ready, I would be, too.
But how do you know when you're ready? How do you know if marriage is for you?
If you read these five signs and aren't scared into bachelorhood, then you, my friend, are ready for the next great adventure:
1. You know the difference between needing and wanting.
Sometimes we can feel like the one thing that will fix our relationships is by getting married. If you can understand why you want to get married and the reasons behind it, it'll indicate how prepared you are for lifelong commitment.
Don't be afraid to ask yourself and your partner, "Will marriage define our relationship more? Will it be more of a celebration of the commitment to one another, as opposed to an obligation?"
2. You've lived your life.
Once you say "I do," you enter a union of teamwork. No longer are you the "lone wolf" or the swinging single who partied like a rock star. No, you are now part of team, a duo. Once you've experienced life, whether that be traveling or dating, you'll know what you want for the future.
After having gone through a rampage of dating and hookups, I discovered I wanted the domestic life. I was tired of the constant partying and drinking, I wanted to have the "Netflix and chill" with just one person. I wanted and was ready to commit.
3. You've outgrown the "me," and you are ready for the "we."
Like breathing, it has become second nature to think about your partner. You consider his or her needs along with yours. No longer are you gaming 'til 3 am. Now, without hesitation, your body has adjusted to your partner's sleeping habits.
Suddenly, your once-bachelor beer fridge is filled with milk, eggs and — gasp! — fruits and vegetables. You have outgrown being selfish and putting your needs first. Now, it's about making sure this tag team is good and ready! In the words of Sonny and Cher, "I got you, babe!"
4. You're an open book with a resolved past.
When I started dating my girlfriend, one my biggest fears (as is for many of those who enter into a relationship) was the past. I don't exactly have a squeaky clean past. I didn't break the law, but I had done things I wasn't too proud of.
When we started dating, I found that revealing this side of myself — no matter how hard and uncomfortable it was — was easy. I shared things with her that I had not shared with many. When it came to my string of relationships, I had made peace with them all, which made the bond between the two of us stronger and honest.
If you've made peace with your past, and your partner knows, still accepts and loves you despite it all, marry him or her. You will be able to commit and make that lifetime promise.
5. You can communicate during conflict.
When you can communicate and talk through conflict together without flinching or holding a grudge, that means you are invested and determined to not let an argument or misunderstanding get in the way of you and your partner. One of my biggest pet peeves is when a partner walks away or chooses to ignore the situation whenever there is conflict. The only way to grow and improve your relationship is through communication.
At the end of the day, though, the only way to really know whether or not you are ready to get down on one knee and ask the question is if you can't imagine your future without your partner. If you can picture yourself a year, five years or 10 years without your partner there, chances are, you aren't ready to get married. This person may also not be "the one."
However, if you can see yourself growing old and wrinkly together, going through the ups and downs of life or celebrating 50 years together, then you, my friend, are ready for marriage. You are a few of those lucky people who have found "the one."