How To Know If Marriage Is For You, According To A Couples Therapist

When your fridge is covered in wedding invites and everyone and their mother seems to be putting a ring on it — it's natural to question if you should be tying the knot too. Still, if you're not sure that '"til death do us part" really does it for you, you may be wondering how to know if marriage is for you. No matter your romantic status, marriage isn't for everyone. Whether you would rather live by yourself or exchanging vows never appealed to you, you don't need to say yes to the dress, the flowers, or to a wedding at all.

According to Dr. Gary Brown, a prominent couples therapist in Los Angeles, when deciding if marriage is right for you, the only opinion that matters is your own — even if you're feeling pressure from friends, family, or society. "You have to really look deep inside and be rigorously honest with yourself," Dr. Brown tells Elite Daily. "Whatever you decide, it is vitally important that you make sure that it is your choice — not anyone else's."

If you're debating whether or not marriage is right for you, Dr. Brown shares some questions to ask yourself that may help you to decide.

1. What Do *I* Want For Myself?

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To really understand if marriage is right for you, Dr. Brown shares the importance of checking in with what you really want before worrying about what anyone else thinks.

"Do I want to get married because that is who I truly am, or do I think I should get married because that's what others expect of me?" Dr. Brown says.

Knowing if marriage is right for you can take some serious self-reflection. Although your mom or your sister may be dying to plan you a wedding fit for a queen, at the end of the day, they won't be the ones seriously committing to your partner. So, from tying the knot tomorrow to staying single forever — getting married is totally up to you.

2. What Do I Want From My Life?

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According to Dr. Brown, if you're wondering if marriage is for you, thinking about what you see in your future can help you manifest the life that you want for yourself.

"Does the idea of a shared life with a partner have the greatest appeal to me, or is it more appealing to embrace a single life of total independence?" Dr. Brown says.

If you're totally into the idea of having a partner in crime, getting married may seem wonderful to you. If you're dedicated to total independence, it's totally OK to never tie the knot. Whatever the answer may be, visualizing your future can be a great step in making hard choices.

3. What Do I Value?

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Dr. Brown also shares that checking in with your own life values can be an important step in deciding if marriage is right for you.

"Do I value the complete freedom of not having to worry about someone else — to go where I please, to spend what I want, to be with whoever I want — without ever having to consider the needs of a spouse?" Dr. Brown says.

If you like to make big life decisions on your own or if the idea of a partnership for life seems to impede your independence — getting married may not be for you. Of course, if you're totally into having a partner around for the adventure, tying the knot could be a great next step in your relationship. Unpacking your values can be super enlightening when deciding if marriage is right for you.

4. Are You In Love?

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Though movies and TV may depict getting married as some sort of life-altering event — tying the knot can be whatever you want it to be. According to Dr. Brown, the biggest motivation for getting hitched can just be falling totally in love with someone and wanting to get more serious with them.

"If your values are aligned, and there is a great chemistry, personal compatibility, the ability to resolve the inevitable conflicts — those are great reasons to consider spending the rest of your life with the one you love," Dr. Brown says.

If you and your partner love each other and enjoy spending time together, building a life together (in whatever way feels right for you) can be totally fulfilling for both of you.

Marriage isn't for everyone, but it can be a really special way to spend your life (as can dating around or moving to Thailand to become a nun!). If tying the knot feels right for you, then it is right. And if you change your mind at any point along the way, that's totally OK too. When it comes to big life choices, all that matters is doing what feels right for you.