10 Questions that Will Save You from Marrying the Wrong Person

The Runaway BrideThe Runaway BrideBy Yelena Shuster for HowAboutWe

Valentine's Day is fast approaching. That sentence means something unique to nearly everyone who reads it. But according to the stats, for many a couple it means the approach of an engagement-or, at least, a potential engagement.

Whether or not to say yes when someone asks you to marry them-or, once you do say yes, whether or not to make good on your promise-keeps many an anxious bride (or groom) up at night. Last week, the New York Times tried to tackle the issue in a Well column about cold feet. The usually rigorous column often debunks studies to get at a larger culture truth, but this one turned out to be a big tease. According to the Times:

"'Virtually every big, real-life decision requires the decision-maker to resolve 10 fundamental questions, or what I call cardinal issues,' said J. Frank Yates, a professor of marketing and psychology at the University of Michigan's business school. People only feel real confidence, he said, when they begin to address them all, including trade-offs and timing."

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Feeling rather let down by the Times's failure to reveal what those 10 fundamental questions were, we tracked down Professor Yates down to get some clarity on his statement. Behold, the 10 questions a man (or awesome 21st century woman) needs to ask before popping the question (or walking down the aisle, for that matter):

1) Need:

"What is compelling me to make a decision now about whether or not to get married?"

2) Who/What:

"Who can I consult to make sure this is the right partner for me?"

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3) Investment:

"Am I investing enough resources in making this decision?"

4) Options:

"Have I dated enough different women to be truly comfortable that she's 'The One?'"

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5) Possibilities:

"Most of what I envision for the future is awesome. Am I ignoring any potential negatives, and why?"

6) Judgment:

"Will I be able to sustain the kind of income that my partner expects?"

7) Value:

"Certain habits annoy me. Would I get used to them, or would they eventually drive me nuts?"

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8) Tradeoffs:

"My partner is so brillant yet can't figure out when I'm upset. Where does the balance lie?"

9) Acceptability:

"Do my family and friends like him/her? How, if at all, can I deal with that?"

10) Implementation:

"How do I propose so the answer will be a whole-hearted 'yes'?"

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Yelena Shuster asks herself these questions when choosing which coffee to drink in the morning.