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I Want to Get Married, But How Do I Know It Will Last? 

Dear Athena,

I'm pretty sure I want to propose to my partner. But I'm sort of scared because my parents divorced and my partner's parents divorced, and I know some other people who have divorced, too. They all say as soon as you get married, everything changes. Do you think I should propose? I love this person so much. How will I know it will last forever?


Marrying Kind

Dear Marrying Kind,

I'm not gonna sugarcoat it: The commitment of marriage comes with risk. Of course it does. Every major decision we make has the potential to crash and burn. Whether it's death that does the parting or falling out of love, no one can ever really know how a marriage will fare. Life and love come with unexpected setbacks and successes — but isn't that what makes it an exciting ride?

Marriage is hard, but it can be so rewarding and life-affirming. It's comforting to know that you and the person you love most are going to go through life side by side. And while marriage is technically a contractual agreement, it is also one of the most romantic gestures one can make. To declare your loving commitment out loud, and in writing, is pretty special. But before you invite anyone to walk down the aisle with you, ask yourself this: What does marriage mean to you? And what does it mean to your partner?

There isn't just one definition. You and your honey should decide on those terms together. The conditions and promises you make should only be the ones you're willing to keep. If you can't agree on those, the road ahead could be rocky.

Lots of people get divorced, but the demise of other relationships isn't contagious. Know your baggage and figure out healthy ways to lose or manage it. And, most importantly, don't get careless. Never cease courting your partner. Always make time to connect.

The morning after you marry, you are still the same two people you were before — besides having eaten wedding cake and danced to "Y.M.C.A." with your cousins. Marriage itself doesn't change everything, nor does it fix anything. But your relationship will evolve, just as it has since you two met. Don't be afraid of that.

Welcome your evolution together as a team. If you commit to accepting your partnership as something that will change, challenge and inspire you, I have faith you'll make it to the closing credits.



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