Why I no longer answer the question, “When will I get married?”

2podhmrvlik-mayur-galaConfession time: One of my least favourite questions to cover in a tarot reading is, “When will I get married?”

I remember the first time it came up with a client. It was at an outdoor event in the summer and the woman was sure I would be able to give her a date. She was in a relationship, but said she wasn’t sure if her partner was ready.

But the cards didn’t seem sure this client was ready herself. All the messages told her to focus on finishing school and building her career first. There was an underlying theme of making sure she was creating something for herself.

It wasn’t the answer she was looking for, but that’s a lesson we all have to be reminded of sometimes: What we want right now isn’t necessarily what we need. Sometimes, there are other things to take care of first.

Since then, I’ve been careful to help clients reframe their relationship questions. I also now have a policy in place that states I will not answer the question, “When will I get married?” unless a client is already in a relationship.

Not that it prevents the question from sneaking through. I’ve had a few clients over time who’ve asked for general readings about what’s to come for them in terms of career and relationship overall, but a few minutes into the reading they’ve stopped everything and said, “I really just want to know when I’m going to get married.”

Here’s my golden rule on the marriage question: If you are single, then my answer is always the same: You will get married when you find someone who you really want to be with, and who really wants to be with you.

Together, you’ll both decide to get married, and when.

Because the first thing to remember is that marriage isn’t just about having a wedding date. It involves mutual love, respect, and will – yours and a partner’s. There’s a journey you both have to be on together, and there’s a process involved in two people deciding to take that next step.

If you don’t have a person in your life right now, then a better question for the cards might be, “How can I foster new relationships?” Or, “What’s most important for me to focus on in the year to come?” Perhaps love will be the answer, but it might be something else entirely.

The toughest thing to remember when you’re asking about marriage is that it’s operating under the assumption that you will get married.

What if you don’t? There are people who go their entire lives without enter into a nuptial agreement. So just as someone else has to want to marry you, you also have to meet someone who you want to marry, too.

Asking the tarot, or any oracle, about when you will get married may or may not be the right question for you.

If the cards show you will be married within a year, they might not show whether you will you be happy about it. How do you know you won’t be settling?

How do you the wedding won’t feel rushed and pressured, because now there’s a timeline involved in having a wedding date? You might both end up feeling like the whole thing is being forced.

Will this be a lasting marriage? This is another question that many don’t consider. Some clients assume that once they’re married, that’s it – as though it’s something to cross off a bucket list.

But your first marriage may not be your last, or your best. Many people get divorced and remarried, some several times in a lifetime.

Which is why I won’t explore this question for anyone who is single anymore. There are just too many unknown factors at play.

Better questions to explore might be, “How can I invite love into my life in the year to come?” “How can I stay open to new relationships?” “How can I love myself, with or without a partner?”

Another question I might put back to someone asking about marriage is, “What are you expecting will happen when you get married?”

What is the end goal? Because there is no finality to marriage – it’s the continuation of a commitment that must already be in place before your wedding day. And all relationships take work.

So what is the expectation around being married? You will still have to respond to another person’s needs. You and your partner will still encounter insecurities about yourselves, your jobs, your overall health and stability.

And…you will still argue, or disagree, or make each other angry. Even the most even-tempered couples will have their moments.

Expectations around finding a soulmate can certainly play into this. A soulmate won’t be able to read your mind, or know your every wish and desire, especially if it’s left unsaid. Communication and patience are going to be major factors at all stages of a relationship.

People need to be given the chance to talk, heal, and move beyond their mistakes. If you’re going into a relationship thinking that The One will be flawless, and every moment will be perfect, then you’re setting yourself up for failure – along with everyone you meet.

Life will still get in the way in a relationship, and you will both have to keep responding to the challenges – and the blessings – and grow accordingly.

If you feel concerned about getting married, and it’s affecting your ability to focus on other areas of your life, you might want to ask the tarot, “Why is this is so important to me?” “How can I open myself up to other possibilities that life may offer?”

tl9dekpndhm-wilson-sanchezThere are also things that can happen in a marriage that you might not see coming, which is why I like to understand what’s motivating this type of question.  

People get sick. They lose their jobs. They have accidents. When I was growing up, we lived next door to a young family that had just started having kids shortly after we moved into the neighbourhood. The woman worked at a bank nearby and was held up at gunpoint in a robbery one day. It was such a traumatic experience that it affected her ability to work.

Then, not long after their third child was born, she was diagnosed with MS and was eventually confined to a wheelchair. They were very young, probably still in their 30s. It was heartbreaking to witness their lives change so drastically, and their plans and hopes for the future to be altered by such unexpected events.

“In sickness and in health” can become a reality at any age, and even the strongest relationships can be tested in the process.

To explore the concept of marriage before there is even a relationship to build upon isn’t necessarily going to indicate whether the fairy tale ending you’re hoping for is actually going to come true.

Which brings me to the next question…

Do you want a wedding, or a relationship? And what does marriage mean to you overall?

Do you want to get married because you think it means you’ve found The One, or are you subscribing to a societal ideal of gender roles, age, and love?

“Look beyond the ‘script’ that relationships are supposed to follow: meet ‘the one,’ date, have sex, get married, have kids, die. It helps to stand back and look at the big picture to see how society is feeding us these models and creating pressure to conform,” says Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins in this excellent article about modern love.

The thing to remember, too, is that we can have more than one soulmate in a lifetime. I’ve had one relationship where I felt absolutely certain marriage would be next for us – boy was I wrong! And in hindsight, I am so glad I was.

I’ve also had a relationship that started off so fast and furious we were giving serious thought to eloping after being together just a few months. I am also highly satisfied that that did not happen. But if you’d asked me at the time, I would have told you 100% that I had found my soulmate.

There are a lot of unhappy unions out there. Asking, “When will I get married?” doesn’t necessarily answer the question of whether you will be happy together, or whether you will be right for each other.

Sometimes, relationship readings end up highlighting personal work that you might have to do first, before you can truly enter into a healthy, lasting commitment with someone.

No one can make you “whole.” At the end of the day, we are responsible for our own decisions, actions, and behaviour. We are also responsible for learning that we are already complete on our own.

If you are looking for a marriage believing that it will fill a gap, or hoping that your soulmate will come swooping in and everything that’s been wrong will magically be made right, think again.

Tarot has a way of pulling up unresolved issues and acting as a mirror to show you where you work still remains. Some helpful questions to explore in this case might be, “What do I need to see in myself?” “How do others see me?” “How can I build my inner strength?”

No matter how much others may support your healing, you still have to present and mindful in the process, too.

Until next time,

Liz xo

Sign up for weekly insights and simple spiritual practices that will help you live with intention, purpose and alignment.