I know this is a strange desire, but I secretly wish there was such a thing as a marriage test. Now hear me out before you call me crazy. I know our school days are behind us and I'm not asking to reenroll in a six period, high school lifestyle anytime soon. But what I do miss from those days is how simple things were. You studied for a test, spewed out what you could remember and got your grade back in a matter of days. Honestly, I wasn't the best test taker in the world. I'm not one of those people who are so intelligent that they can magically guess the answer correctly or someone who finds studying beneath them. I'm your average girl who's not a big fan of failure. When these important tests would come my way, I'd study to the best of my ability to make sure I did what I could to pass the class and find my way out of my parents' household as quickly as possible.
So now I'm at the stage in life where people all around me are married and popping out babies like they're on a race to Cedar's Sinai -- LA's hottest hospital. The 60 percent divorce rate scares the hell out of me; so much so that I'm left wondering where the test is that would cure all this anxiety. I mean, we take two tests to get a driver's license, we subject ourselves to essays and multiple-choice exams for college acceptance, another to become an American citizen, and we spend months of our lives studying to pass the Bar. I mean, we're at the point where we are now testing our toddlers on their potential upon entering preschool but nowhere is there a test to become a spouse, or for that matter, a parent. It's like we are testingaholics, only the one thing we desperately need a test for (i.e. marriage) doesn't exist.
Since I'm not married myself, I don't have any expert advice on what a marriage test should include. Yet, since I'm a straight A student in the school of life, I've asked a group of my female friends and family who are married and some who have been divorced, what they think is worth testing before making a trip down the aisle. From sending the emails to my lady friends, the overwhelming response I received was that no matter what the specific response is to one question or 10, what's important for two people who are becoming one to agree on, are their values as a couple. It makes sense, right? I mean, you can never predict what's going to happen. Everyone can enter into their union with the best of intentions and then life gets in the way but I'm not going to let that stop me from trying. I'm choosing to focus on the fact that you only need a good shot at winning to beat expectations. Anything past that, like everything in life, is a matter of desire and a lot of hard work.
THE MARRIAGE TEST
SECTION A -YOUR READINESS
1) Are you ready to put someone else first?
2) Are you ready to be part of a team?
3) Are you ready to be vulnerable?
4) Are you ready to love someone more than you love yourself?
SECTION B - EMOTIONAL WELL BEING
1) What are your priorities in life? List in order of importance.
2) What are your dreams and hopes for the future?
3) What angers you and what makes you happy?
4) What are your strategies for dealing with conflict? If you (or I) are conflict avoidant, would you be willing to get some support to address important issues more directly when they arise?
4) Do you consider yourself to be a positive person? Why or why not?
5) Do you use drugs, alcohol, nicotine, or any addictive substances? Have you ever?
6) Have you ever cheated in your past relationships? If so, did you admit to it because you were caught or because your conscience did not let you go on?
7) If I asked people you know about your character, what do you think they will tell me?
SECTION C - FACT CHECKING
1) How is your relationship with your mom or dad?
2) Who is your role model?
3) Do you want children?
4) Do you believe in god or any other higher power? If you want to have children, in what ways would you prefer to introduce them to religion and/or spirituality?
5) What have you accomplished so far?
6) How many debts do you currently have?
7) How is your health?
8) What diseases run in your family?
9) What are your hopes for making a home? What location, type of housing, do you want to move around a lot of stay in one place long term?
9) Do you read? How often? What do you enjoy reading?
10) Are you adventurous? Have you travelled? Where to?
SECTION D - WHERE YOU SEE ME
1) What characteristics do you most look for in mate?
2) What role does a future husband/wife play in your life?
3) What are you expectations for our marriage?
4) How do you want to handle our finances? Together or separate?
5) Do you respect me?
If you want to check out my new web series, Dating Rules From My Future Self, you can find it on Facebook here and on YouTube here.