There's no perfect length of time to wait before getting married.
Instead, a couples therapist shared some signs you're ready to marry your partner.
Vulnerability and emotional maturity are things you should have as a couple before you tie the knot.
April Eldemire, a licensed marriage and family therapist practicing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said that while there are relationships that "do work out when they kind of go full-steam-ahead and decide to marry early on," it takes most couples some time to figure out if they should be together for life.
Rather than focusing on a strict length of time together, Eldemire told Insider that there are five signs you should look for to know if you're ready to get married.
1. You're past the infatuation period
Most couples go through a honeymoon stage that can span between a couple of months to over a year.
Even if it lasts longer, Eldemire said, it's crucial to get past this phase and be able to tell the difference between infatuation and true, deep feelings of love and commitment.
"A sign of infatuation is if you feel like you can't live without the person but are consumed by those thoughts," Eldemire said. "You might sacrifice your own values and needs, dropping everything for the relationship."
While bursting the honeymoon bubble can be unpleasant, she said the first fights together provide vital information about what your future life can be like.
"Usually, the challenges that couples face early on are those perpetual challenges that will never change," she said. "They just have to be managed."
That's when you have to decide if you can live with these flaws and disagreements.
2. You're emotionally mature enough to navigate fights
As you experience conflicts in your relationship, Eldemire said that emotional maturity is a big part of getting through fraught conversations without damaging your bond.
She said that will look like "being able to really process what's actually going on for you and understanding what your triggers are in a relationship."
For some people, that process will involve looking at past wounds to see if they impact how they react in arguments — and reduce the likelihood of shutting down or blaming the other person.
3. You can be vulnerable with each other
It's not enough to know your triggers — you also have to be able to share them with each other. Eldemire said that vulnerability is really important for any successful relationship, especially a long and happy marriage.
"Can you be open and honest about how you're feeling, or do you just get angry really quickly or shut down?" she said.
You don't have to be perfect at verbalizing your exact feelings every time.
Eldemire said that even if your first instinct is to shut down, you can say something like, "Hey, it feels like there's a lot of criticism coming my way, and that's a big trigger for me and it causes me to want to shut down, but really what I'm feeling is this."
Being able to identify and talk about deeper insecurities rather than relying on protective coping strategies is a sign of real closeness, she said.
4. You have the same core goals and values in life
Even if you have wonderful communication skills, there are some things you can't talk your way out of, like if you want completely different things in life.
"Compatibility is really important — making sure that you have those shared values, beliefs, interests, and hobbies," Eldemire said.
While she said no couples should be exact replicas of each other, you should be on the same page on some big life decisions — such as having kids or not — as well as things you like to do.
"What's your moral compass?" she said. "What do you value in life, and does your partner align with that?"
5. You have a genuine desire to grow together
No one enters a marriage perfectly ready. In fact, you might still feel like you have a lot of personal work to do in therapy or in your career — and that's ok, Eldemire said.
The important things are self-awareness and a willingness to change.
"You might not have it all together, but you see where your shortcomings are," she said. "And you also have the desire to grow and to work through those issues in connection with someone else."
Read the original article on Insider