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Marriage institution has been facing serious attacks from every conceivable corner and some of those in it are not making it look any better to outsiders. The vows become obsolete as soon as the ceremony ends and the struggles start to materialise at the honeymoon stage. My take on this gloomy picture is that couples do not do their homework before boarding the marriage wagon. There are a few deal-breakers that should never be overlooked when dating. These deal-breakers apply to lovers looking to solemnize their relationship, irrespective of their cultural background, faith or income level.

1. Credit History

In this era of multiple credit cards and easy access loans coupled with bad spending habits, shopping addiction and gambling, it is important to know your partner's behaviour in this regard. A poor financial manager will most likely lead you down the bankruptcy and "broke" avenue. Just as you carry out a back-check on your potential supplier, employee, or service provider, you should treat your future, life partner with the same seriousness. It is no longer considered snoopy or gold-digging to check on your partner's financial behaviour, and any red tag should be addressed immediately. Waiting to ask questions after the wedding day may be too late.

2. Foreclosure

Some of my friends would argue that it best not to open the closets to inspect the skeletons within. "Let the sleeping dogs lie," they say. But they forget that the sleeping dogs will one day wake and cause havoc and the skeletons in the closet will start to haunt you in the dark. "Are there out of wedlock children? Do you have any addiction problems? What are your principles on fidelity? Have you had a criminal record? any history of violence against the opposite gender or children? What do you when totally pissed off? Are supporting another family?” etc. This will help the two individuals to know who they are going to marry and what baggage they are bringing into the relationship.

3. The Change Factor

If you marry with the hope of changing your spouse to become what you dream for, your dreams will most likely come crashing down. In relationships “What you see is what you get” is the rule of thumb. the exceptions are rare and far apart. Just as you would not want a spouse whose goal is to change you into something or someone they dream of, you should not make this your goal either. If your spouse speaks or even in the slightest, hint, about changing you, take the next flight to be as far away from that person as possible. Be with someone who loves you for who you are, who treasures your potentials without coercing into frustrations and stressing demands. It is important to realise that as people grow older, they may change in terms of preferences regarding hobbies, sports, or friends etc, but the basic personality remains the same. If you do not like your fiancé’s personality and are not willing to put up with it, then avoid crossing over to the next stage together.

4. The Future talk

There is nothing more discouraging as a couple that gets married with no future plans. This is the second frontier of compatibility, after the personality frontier. If your fiancé is not talking solid plans about the future as you would wish he/she did, this will definitely be a thorn for the rest of your relationship. Just like a business, if there is no strategy, the relationship will soon crumble or just fizzle out. There will be no excitement or anything to look forward to after the wedding ceremony. Sit down with your future life partner and chart out a sound course of action that will govern the rest of your relationship. Most relationships end being boring and monotonous because the couple did not cultivate a culture of planning their future together and pursuing those goals together. A team that works together stays together – and the same applies to married couples.

5. Respect

If your fiancé does not respect you as a person, shows signs of potential abuse or demeans you in public or in private, I would strongly suggest against marrying that person. The reason is that there are more challenges in the marriage that would really push the will to respect your spouse further up the wall. Challenges in marriage will put your respect and love for each other to the test, and if one of these two is missing, the marriage may not survive the tests. Dare I say that if there is no respect in any relationship then, then it is not worth an ounce of your time. R E S P E C T.

Therefore before saying "I Do", be sure you understand perfectly what you are going to be doing on the other side of relationships.

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