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So, you want to get married? The freedom to marry is a recent achievement for the gay and lesbian community. For some, marriage is not an option worth considering; for others it is an option that means everything. The truth about marriage is that it is not as easy as it appears. Gay people are increasingly entering marriage at a time when ‘divorce’ rates are on the rise. Marriage can’t be taken lightly; it has all sorts of consequences that have to be carefully considered.

Consider pre-marriage couple’s therapy as a place to start questioning whether you wish to get married. It is important to ask ‘why am I wanting to get to married?’, ‘why am I wanting to marry this person?’ and ‘why am I wanting to marry this person now in my life?’ Start to develop a sense of the importance of this person in your life and whether this person can be trustworthy, reliable, respectful, and a host of other values that you wish to have in another person (good sex is NOT a sufficient criteria). Ask yourself if this is someone who shares your values and basic principles and whether you can envisage spending the rest of your lives together. Consider the possibility that you do NOT know someone well enough to get married (no matter how well you may think you know them) and ask yourself what you should know about them in order to make such an important decision.

Possibly the hardest question to answer is the following: ‘what do you know of your partner?’ (as opposed to ‘what do you know about them?’). When asked, we can tell our friends many things we know about our partners, but it’s often harder to think of our sense of them or what we intuitively understand about them without them telling us. It may be our sense of their consistency, kindness, trustworthiness, respectfulness, sense of mutuality and equality, their basic belief in the fundamental right to respect and dignity for all others or whatever else it is that we pick up about them. No-one is ever completely consistent or totally predictable, or even totally knowable, for that matter. No matter how well you think you know someone, there is always more to learn about them. Consider the contradictions and inconsistencies about your loved one, marriage is not a fairy tale, its hard work; but hard work that can be well worth the effort.