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Opinion

Betrothed shares marriage readiness signs

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February 2, 2007

In my first column, I am going to be talking about a topic that makes most women giddy and most men nervous, especially around Valentines Day: marriage.

While the thought of the m-word can stir up a whole registry of emotions, there are certain checkpoints any couple should go through before they head down a road filled with decisions over flower girls, groomsmen and in-laws.

First of all, learn how to effectively communicate with one another. This is above all the most important part of any relationship. Communicate properly over every thing, even the smallest stuff.

Speaking from my own experience, I can tell you that my then-boyfriend — now fiance — and myself had to have a lengthy discussion over what the word “clean” means to both of us when I caught him kicking a piece of food under a rug after I had just finished washing the kitchen floor. If he had his own column, I am sure he would mention when he led a conversation about honesty and the phrase “don’t drive on the rim,” after I had to admit to doing a world of damage to the wheel of my car because I drove on a flat tire for over 10 minutes. These slipups aside, we, just like any other couple, benefit greatly by communicating effectively.

A second key factor in serious relationships is a pet. If you and your honey bunny are thinking about ever bringing a child into this world, get a pet — most preferably a dog. While all pets are wonderful in their own way, dogs require a lot of special attention. According to my father, having a dog is like having a 4-year-old.

After having a dog for a little over a month, I can say that he is 100 percent correct. So, the benefit of owning a pet that is as needy as a pre-schooler is that you and your prospective spouse have a glimpse at how each of you would handle being a parent.

In addition to seeing your significant other as a solo puppy owner, the opportunity for you both to see how you work as a duo is invaluable. Once you have a pet together, you will know if there is cooperation with the added responsibility from each party, or if one person ends up doing all of the work. Along with this aspect, watch the type of dog owner they are. Are they disciplined with the pet or do they let it run amuck? How would it feel parenting a child with someone once you see how you both act with a dog?

A third tip to know if you and your sweetie are ready for the ball-and-chain is one that can cause a sense of panic, literally. Going through a crisis situation is just that while you are living it — a crisis.

Although the entire experience is less than pleasurable, the process of overcoming an obstacle is essential for any couple that is pondering a trip down the road to spending the rest of their lives together. Because I am offering this piece of advice, it may seem that my fiance and I have been through some sort of crisis. While we have faced our fair share of problems, a sewer issue in December took the concept of crisis to a whole new level.

Without getting into too great of detail, not only for your sake, but also mine as I am writing this while I eat lunch, we found ourselves using my largest mixing bowl to scoop out our bathroom basement which was filled with the contents of our flooded septic tank. I never thought my relationship would cross the bridge where the only way we could pass the time was by playing the game “Honey, guess what day’s dinner this pile is?“ As vile as this sounds, facing this sort of trauma and not killing each other truly brought us closer together.

This sense of togetherness brings me to my last tidbit of advice for engagement bliss.

Guys, before you plunk down all the money you have for a sparkling diamond, and ladies, before you buy a notebook and devote it solely to practicing your new signature, take a good look at your mate and think about these things: Are you truly and honestly ready to stand behind this person when the world is against them? Have you openly communicated with each other about what each of you wants in all aspects of life? What are you going to do if some of those dreams cannot happen?

While these questions are only a fraction of what needs to be thought about before you head off to the chapel, chances are that if, as a couple, both of you are talking about these issues, you may be well on your way down the aisle.