What it means to be married – basics.

So, you are looking to get married? What does it mean to be married, besides not being single? This article will present some of the most fundamental concepts of what marriage entails. If you find the ideas presented below as obvious, then congratulations: it looks like you’ve got your head screwed on right! Take it as confirmation that you know what you are doing.

The reality, however, is that many people have never really thought about what makes a good marriage, yet they are moving full steam ahead towards dating. Beware what you wish for. Successful dating leads to marriage, and marriage can’t be done just any other way. It needs to be done right.

Not all marriages are the same; they vary like the people who are in them. However, there are some fundamental principles that are at the heart of what it means to be married. If you are not willing to sign up to them, you should ask yourself if marriage is really for you. Maybe get a pet instead!

Here are some of the most important ideas for you to consider as you contemplate your future:

It’s not about you! 

No one gets married to spend more time with themselves. There is no point looking for a spouse if you are in love with yourself. Getting married means buying into the idea that you are going to be happier by making someone else happy. Of course, you can’t make everyone happy, so you need to choose carefully who that person will be. But once you find them and they find you, you are now devoted to that person’s wellbeing (it just so happens that with some luck they will be devoted to your wellbeing).

Be flexible.

There is no such thing as a marriage strictly on your own terms. It may look to some like a marriage, but it is more akin to slavery. When you are contemplating sharing a life with another person, you are at the very core volunteering to be adaptable. Creating a home with someone means offering to make it possible for an entirely separate person to co-exist with you. No matter how similar you think your spouse will be to you, there will be countless differences. Rigidity and stubbornness won’t fly. Get your head around this simple fact: You are not going to get your way all the time.

You don’t have permission to say whatever you want.

You know that thing about free speech? Well, not in a marriage. You had a bad day? You can’t let it out on your spouse. You don’t like something they did? You’re going to have to hold it together. If you are not sure you can control your behavior, you better start getting a handle on it now. Upsetting or disrespecting your spouse is not only wrong, but you will pay an exorbitant price for doing so. In reality, married people get it wrong from time to time, but make no mistake about it: there is no justification for it and be ready to apologize pronto.

The deal is that you share.

Inherently, marriage isn’t a solo affair. Selfishness is a terribly poor fit with marriage. While a couple doesn’t have to share everything, they need to be ready to be generous in a wide variety of ways: time, money, space, credit, and so on. Given how much sharing is required in a marriage, it is best to just think of the whole thing as a joint effort, in the spirit of “what’s mine is yours.” Whatever you have will belong to the marital unit. It is a really bad look to be possessive and controlling in a marriage, as it goes against the whole spirit of the endeavor.    

Your spouse isn’t there to rescue you.

Marriage is a wonderful thing: it can bring you love, comfort, company, friendship, and so much else. However, if you have personal struggles, those won’t go away just because you are no longer single. If you have bad habits, emotional problems, or are confused about life, those issues will not be resolved simply because you now have a spouse. Sometimes, they can have the effect of destabilizing the marriage. It is important that you address whatever is troubling you before you get married, so that those issues do not complicate your relationship.  

What you bring into the marriage is what you will have in the marriage.

Marriage can do many wonderful things, but it will not make you wiser, nobler, more mature, or more decent. If you are those things before you go under the chuppa, your marriage will be a whole lot better for it. The more you enrich yourself as a person before your wedding, the more goodness and substance you bring to your married life. Embrace good values and adopt good habits before you start dating. You are much more likely to be a good spouse when married if you were a good person before you got married. Get your house in order when single, so that you can create a fine home as part of a couple.

Your commitment isn’t dependent on things always going well.

Thankfully, marriages can be long and happy, but few manage without some difficult moments. Contemplating marriage means understanding and accepting that. Marriage is unconditional. It is not a fair-weather partnership, in which you are fully into it so long as everything is fine. You approach marriage with the mentality that this is a commitment “through thick and thin.” Most likely, your marriage will have few bumps and mostly happy moments, but you cannot get involved on the assumption that it will never call on your inner resilience. You can’t switch off being a husband or wife because someone has had a bad day. 

You can’t take your spouse for granted.

You may be clear that in order to “get the girl/guy” you need to make an effort and be on your best behavior. But here’s the truth: You can’t let it all fall apart once you are done dating. Your mission to earn the respect of your chosen other does not end with the engagement, or even the marriage. You need to be prepared to be conscientious in the relationship. Maintaining the relationship is just as important as securing it. This means continuing to hold yourself to the same high standards of decency, courtesy, kindness, and attentiveness that you understood were expected during dating. Bad habits and attitudes are no more acceptable “now that I am married.”   


There quite literally is nothing on earth that will give you more satisfaction, fulfillment, and happiness than marriage. It is one of the great gifts the Almighty has given us, to help us fulfil our highest dreams and our deepest hopes. Whatever effort you put in will be more than doubly repaid in the wonderful benefits you get to enjoy. Still, marriage is not for free: you get out what you put in. These basic concepts and values should guide you as you think about who you want to marry and what kind of marriage you should seek to create. Good luck on your journey.

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