The 3 Most Important Things To Know Before You Ever Consider Getting Married

Western society has bought into some really dumb ideas as to what marriage entails

Benjamin Sledge
7 min readApr 19


Photo of author and wife on their wedding day | Photo courtesy of author

“No one stands in front of friends and family on their wedding day and thinks, ‘God, I hope we can end this thing violently and hate each other within a few years.’”

My friend chuckles at the jest and takes another bite of his omelette before washing it down with coffee. We’re among a handful of people in an eclectic diner in Colorado Springs at 6:30 in the morning. Both of us are products of divorce; mine happened in my 20s before I remarried at age 30. His occurred a few years ago, and he is once again dipping his feet into the dating pool but just experienced a breakup.

“That’s the thing about dating and marriage,” I continue. “There’s no in-between. You’re either heading towards the altar with the person…” I trail off and muse, “Well, I suppose you can end up in some type of domestic partnership where you’re essentially playing house.”

“Or?” he asks.

“Or you break up. Those are the options.”

My friend nods, and as we continue our banter, he asks me how I’ve managed to make my marriage work for 12 years. Although my divorce was painful, it taught me vital lessons that both my wife and I now take to heart. As you age, you want other people to avoid the heartache and mistakes you’ve made, and these days my wife and I help mentor young couples and provide premarital counseling. Recognizing that dating is really just a test to see whether you’ll end up together long-term, many people assume that if it works when they’re dating or engaged, it’ll work out for the long haul. Not so. Every successful long term couple will tell you it’s work and despite the relationship going smoothly during courtship, it just might implode the second you say “I do.”

Given this reality, and our experience coaching couples, my wife and I are frequently asked, “What’s the most important advice you’d tell someone before they get married?”

Here’s what we’d tell you.

1. Marriage is not a contract. It’s a covenant.



Benjamin Sledge

Multi-award winning author | Combat wounded veteran | Mental health specialist | Occasional geopolitical intel | Graphic designer |