Here's a very simple list based on many years of research, many years of counseling couples, and reading and thinking about this issue. The more of these things you are able to do when you are searching for a mate and thinking about marriage, the better your odds will be of making a wise choice.From: Myths About Living Together
* Get to know the person very well before deciding to marry. One thing you can do is take the time to work together through a detailed list of core expectations to see just how compatible you are. (For guidelines on how to do this, you might check out one of the books I’ve co-authored.6)
* Do not make this crucial decision in a period of emotional infatuation.
* Date the person for a long time.
* Observe how the person treats not only you but his or her friends. Learn as much as you can about the person’s priorities and values.
* Give more weight than your heart may want to how closely the person shares your most essential beliefs (including religious) and values in life.
* Wait until you are 22 or older to make such an important decision. What you think you are looking for can change a lot.
* Get the opinion of friends and family who are not likely to tell you only what you want to hear.
* Wait until you are married to live together. It may not increase your risk to do otherwise, but there is no evidence that it will increase your risk to wait.