Aug 1, 2006

Marriage checklist: Are you ready to say "I Do"?

By: Jennifer Weatherhead

Author: Elle Canada

Aug 1, 2006

Marriage checklist: Are you ready to say "I Do"?

By: Jennifer Weatherhead
It's the end of spring and you're were in the throes of the wedding circuit. As you watched friend number five stroll down the isle in her creamy white Vera Wang with the sounds of ooohs and aaahs trailing behind her, it suddenly hits you. Could this be you someday? You can just picture it: a quaint service by the seaside, Cartier diamonds and a Fiji honeymoon.

But, wait. What about the groom? Your eyes wander to the honey that's by your side. Is he the one? Will you be able to handle a lifetime of Sunday night football and toilet seat mishaps? With the help of Toronto-based couples therapist Karen Hirscheimer, ELLE gives you our marriage checklist to see if you're really ready to tie the relationship knot!

Easy does it
If you need to persuade yourself to say yes when he pops the question, you may want to rethink. You shouldn't feel pressure from your partner, friends or family to get hitched. Saying yes should truly come from the heart. Just because your friends are getting married doesn't mean it's time for you.

Relationship rituals
Is your current relationship something you can live with for the rest of your life? People usually don't change. They will still have the same habits, nuances and quirks years from now. Does he always leave the toilet sit up, or hog the remote and stay glued to TV sports? This might not change, despite your best efforts to block that pesky NHL channel. Can you be happy with that lifestyle forever?

Shared vision
Both partners need to have a common view on life's main issues: kids, finances, religion and careers. “You shouldn't have to give up your core needs in order to make the relationship work,” advises Hirscheimer. "If you don't plan to have kids now, it may be best to agree that it may happen, and it may not. You both need to be okay with this decision."

Are you comofrtable with sayind "I do"? Find out on the next page ...

Read about one man's quest to pop the question
Flying solo
Do you feel comfortable being alone? While you're part of a couple, you're still individuals and need to feel happy on your own as well as with your partner. You need to have your own sense of identity. A relationship shouldn't hinder you as a person; it should enhance your individuality. You also need to feel valued, respected and appreciated by your partner.

You sexy thang
Is your sex life satisfying and something you can remain faithful to forever? “When the initial passion cools, you feel confident that you can accept the physical side of your relationship and don't feel you're missing out on excitement with other people,” explains Hirscheimer. Some people are okay with companionship without major sparks; some aren't. You both need to be on the same page.

War of the roses
All couples argue, but can you move on after the conflict with a clean slate? “Is there room to bring up difficult or thorny issues? Do you feel heard and respected when you do?" asks Hirscheimer. "It's important to not leave an argument with lingering resentment. Conflicts can be anything from who cleans up after dinner to who pays the bills. It is how it's resolved that counts."

Karen Hirscheimer is a partner with Morris & Hirscheimer Counselling, a Toronto based firm that specializes in relationship counselling and coaching services. Visit their web site at or call 416-487-4411.

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Marriage checklist: Are you ready to say "I Do"?