Written by: Meghan Moylan

There is no denying that getting married is a bit of a gamble. You truly cannot know who this person will turn out to be as the two of you grow and change throughout life. But as all gamblers know, you want the odds in your favor. There is a big difference between gambling with a 1 in 1,000,000 chance, and gambling with your odds favoring you by 99.05%. Yes, marriage will be a gamble. But the foundation of the relationship (before you are committed for life) will be a pretty solid indicator of your odds.


There are pros and cons to marriage that we are all aware could happen. Here are some examples:

Possible Pros


  • Someone who listens to you
  • A healthy financial partner
  • Someone who respects you
  • A best friend
  • Emotional support
  • Strategic support
  • Fun, laughing, joy
  • Healthy parent for your children
  • Good, connective sex life
  • Healthy lifestyle
  • Someone you enjoy spending time with
  • Better habits
  • Affirmation
  • Healthy communication
  • There for you on your bad days, gracious
  • Someone who cares about your success
  • Someone who is fully committed to you

Possible Cons


  • Fighting constantly
  • Someone who disrespects you
  • Growing bitterness toward the other person
  • Dreading coming home to them
  • Someone who talks down to you
  • Terrible financial situation
  • Terrible sex life
  • Unhealthy parent to your children
  • You are “stuck” with this person
  • Risk of messy divorce
  • Demanding spouse
  • Unfair Expectations
  • Spouse could cheat on you
  • Marrying into an unhealthy family
  • Being with a lazy person
  • Spouse being addicted to something
  • Someone who doesn’t care about the future


The items listed are not an exhaustive list, but it covers a lot of people’s hopes/ fears when it comes to marriage. So, how can we change the odds for the gamble of marriage? How can we be more likely to have more of the pros, and fewer of the cons?


First, remember that everything that someone does says something about who they are. Of course, people are allowed to make mistakes; we are all human. BUT, if there is repetition of any sort of red flag, that should NOT be ignored. For example, you don’t want a marriage that includes constant fighting? You don’t want your arguments to blow up? Here are some questions to ask BEFORE you get engaged that will tell you a lot about where your relationship is headed:

  • How does the other person act when they are angry? Do they have control of their emotions?
  • How do I act when I get angry? Do I have control of my emotions?
  • Do they genuinely apologize when they are wrong?
  • Do I apologize when I am wrong?

Let’s say you don’t want to be with a lazy or disrespectful person. Well, if you are with a person for a year+, you can observe their behavior and see if they show signs of the things you want to avoid. Ask yourself before you get engaged,

  • How often do I think about the other person being lazy?
  • Have I talked to them about work ethic? What is their view of hard work?
  • Would I feel comfortable telling my friends everything they say to me? How would they respond to the way my partner talks to me?
  • How do I view myself differently now vs. before I met them?


You don’t want to be with an addict? Or someone who is short sighted, and has no life goals? When you first get to know a person ask yourself:

  • Does this person use substances (alcohol, pornography, drugs, etc.) to make themselves feel better when they are having a hard time?
  • What healthy coping mechanisms does this person have?
  • Is this person able to do difficult things that are healthy even when they don’t want to?
  • How often do they talk about their future self and what they want for their future?
  • Are they a complainer?


To avoid being with someone who will use all your money with unhealthy spending habits or not make any money themselves…

  • Does this person save money? Do they say no to things that they want, but cannot afford yet?
  • What is this person’s view of credit cards?
  • Does this person work hard at their job?
  • Does this person give excuses when something goes wrong at work or do they blame everyone else?


Another way to make sure this person is quality and not that you are just infatuated with them, is keeping sex out of the relationship until you are fully committed (marriage). If you are sexually active, there are emotional bonds that form between the partners that can blind them to each other’s faults and red flags. So, engaging in sexual activity early can make you feel connected, when it is not GENUINE connection, it is just the sex. This bonding that happens between sexual partners is why it is called “making love”; this is often why “makeup sex” exists. This is why some people feel like they have a “soul tie” with a person they are sexually active with. The bond created with sex is undeniable; so the best time to introduce those bonds is when you have already created an authentic emotional bond through shared experiences, working through conflict, making memories, joking around, listening to each other, etc. Then when you have committed to each other for life, then the sexual bonds are an added benefit, not the foundation of your feelings toward each other.


To set yourself up for success, here are some other random questions to ask EARLY in the relationship:

  • How often do I laugh with this person?
  • Do they gossip?
  • What are their daily habits?
  • Do you want this person to parent your children? Are they trustworthy?
  • What five words best describe them?
  • What is their reaction when I succeed at something?
  • When you are bothered by something, can I bring it up with them? How would they respond?
  • Do we affirm/ encourage each other?
  • Do they pull their weight in the relationship?
  • Do they love drama?
  • Do they have respect for authority?
  • When you talk, do they listen?
  • How do they respond when they know I’m having a bad day?
  • What kind of driver are they? Do I feel safe with them?
  • What tone of voice do they use when talking to me when things are tense? 


Marriage comes down to what each person puts into it. If you truly ask yourself the difficult questions, are honest about the relationship and who the other person truly is (and who you are!), then you are likely building a foundation that can withstand any hardship. If a couple has the discipline to work through conflict together, respects each other enough not to have sex before they are married, are both financially healthy, respect each other’s boundaries, listen well, speak intentionally, are genuinely good friends, are both trying to build a life that they love, know how to compromise, stay away from addictive substances and media, can communicate expectations, are not lazy, and affirm each other, then the gamble of that marriage is pretty much a guarantee jackpot.


So, if you are scared of marriage or think that marriage doesn’t work, just remember that the quality of the people in the marriage makes the quality of the marriage. WHO you marry is the most important thing in terms of the odds of success. Every little thing that they do tells you something about who they are. When they show you who they are, listen, and decide if you think the odds are in your favor!