When we get to a certain age (usually 20 or 21) almost everyone we see is asking us....so where's the boyfriend/girlfriend? When are you getting married? Aren't you giving your mother any grandchildren? For me, my own mother keeps hinting at wanting me to settle down with someone and get things in motion. All of this pressure leads me to wonder...when do we really know it's the right time to get married? I firmly believe that, as a young woman, I must have certain things in place in my life before I settle down with anyone.

A Permanent Job

It seems as though there are quite a few people who frown upon this idea of the "independent woman" but in today's society it is imperative that a woman be able to stand on her two feet. More often than not a husband and wife have to be a two income household in order to meet the myriad of bills and financial obligations that arise. Furthermore, ANYTHING (illness, divorce, infidelity, death) can happen in the marriage and if the woman is not able to finance her expenses then she is going to end up in serious problems.

Aside from these obvious arguments for the independent woman, I believe that it is important for a woman to be able to take GOOD care of herself for her own self worth and validation. NO man should be able to laud anything over me or make me feel as though I am inferior to him because I don't earn my own income.

An Education

Having an education is crucial for a woman because it not only means that you will be able to apply for some of the best jobs but you will also be able to interact with your man on an intellectual level. A man should be able to look at me and know that I'm not just all about good looks....I have substance and he should have the same in order to be with me.

This is one of the reasons why pursuing my masters is so important to me. I want to be able to get my ideal job but I also want to be able to share this with my partner (whenever I do get a partner) and interact with him on another level.

Healthy Self-Esteem

It is crucial for a woman to be able to love herself completely before entering into a  lifelong commitment with someone. That way she will be able to add more value to the relationship since she won't have to be looking to her husband for constant validation. Women with a greater sense of self worth also tend to do very well in life and can therefore be of greater support to their partners.

Willingness to be Selfless

Some women believe that relationships are all about them and their needs. A relationship is about an equal partnership between two people who love and care about each other...people who are willing to satisfy each others needs. At least that's what it should ideally be. If a woman is not in that place where she can be selfless and look out not only for her own interests but also the interests of her partner, then she really is not ready for a life long commitment.

Marriage is a serious commitment and in order for it to work, I believe that it is important for both parties to be completely positive they want to take this step with each other. I am preparing myself by following the steps listed above....ladies, what are you doing?