By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
8 signs you are ready to get married
710878320966bd3fff1fcd1f85027ed787d4235fdd3e6f13a791f9cfb8635bd6
Maybe you'd rather gouge your eyes out than get married. The "M" word is a scary prospect, but maybe now is the time to take the leap. - photo by Megan Gladwell
Guys, this is directed to you. Maybe youre sincerely looking for the love of your life. You long for marriage; youd buy the ring and tux tomorrow if you just had the right girl.

But if youre part of that other group, foot-dragging and indifferent to marriage, its time to man up. At the risk of sounding like your nagging auntwhy not take lifes next big step? Dont rush into anything, but do take an active approach to getting married if any of the following describe you.

You want added security.

In the U.S. at least, marriage secures many legal benefits for spouses. There are government benefits like Social Security, Medicare, and military benefits. There are medical benefits such as the right to make medical decisions or visit your spouse in an intensive care unit. Employment benefits, death benefits, housing benefits, consumer benefits and more are outlined here.

Youre kind of lonely.

Do you talk to your goldfish or watch too much TV at night? Maybe nights with your parents or the guys are becoming stale. Start looking for a girl you can see yourself spending your life with. Be open to being set up by your friends, or give online dating a chance.

Your friends are getting married.

So, your peers are pairing off and getting hitched. Maybe their wedded bliss is just the nudge you need to pursue marriage too.

You want to be healthier and happier.

According to this article, the health benefits of being married are so substantial, one sociologist described them as being as large as the benefit from giving up smoking. Research finds that married men and women are more likely to be happier, live longer, be physically and mentally healthier, and recover from illness quicker. Interestingly, unmarried couples that cohabitate do not share the same health benefits, says the article.

Youre tired of feeling untethered.

Undoubtedly, the single life has been fun. College, traveling, nights out with the guys and dating different girls are important stages of life. But now, perhaps the thought of planting roots with someone special by your side is appealing. The emotional and physical ties that marriage provides are fulfilling and will help you feel complete.

Youre buying grown-up furniture and checking out real estate.

Maybe youve outgrown your parents basement or your bachelor pad apartment and started looking at real estate. If you foresee marriage in your near future, its often better to take that step before buying a home. Unmarried property owners are less likely to stick together and can encounter complications if they part ways. Marriage is a lifelong commitment with a signed contract; without the contract, financial arrangements are messy.

You want kids.

It takes a certain level of maturity and selflessness to be a good father, and being married to your childrens mother yields many benefits for kids. Children raised in a family with married parents can expect higher academic achievement, less domestic violence, better emotional health, more time with their dad, fewer behavioral problems, and smaller likelihood of being sexually active as teens.

You met a girl.

If youve met a girl you feel comfortable with and she makes you want to be better, you may have found the one. If youve found the girl, stop making excuses. Maybe youre still in school, unemployed or underemployed, commitment phobic, or just freaked out. Dont let these reasons impede you. Your marriage, if it feels right and you work at it, will succeed no matter under what circumstances it starts.

Be careful not to get married just because youve been with the same person for several years or because its what is expected. If youre in doubt, end the relationship. If you believe she is the right girl, trust your feelings and take the leap.