The right time to propose is different for everyone. Everybody has heard stories of happy couples who got engaged after only one year together. Others have heard of people who got engaged merely months after getting to know one another. And in a few cases, it is just a matter of days before the two decide to spend the rest of their lives together!
Common knowledge dictates that longer is better, because you can really get to know each other and cover the big issues: religion, finances, if and how to raise children, and managing a household. Experts like Ian Kerner, a licensed psychotherapist and author of She Comes First, suggest one to two years is a good amount of time to date before getting engaged.
In the span of these years, couples experienced the ups and downs of each other’s families and lives, like birthdays, graduations, births and deaths. They dealt with problems that emerged. They had experiences that showed them a glimpse of what life would be like once married. Dealing with such a vast range of experiences helps indicate compatibility.
Ask Yourself: How did my partner and me handle things when it got rough? How did they act when times were good? Did I like these responses?
Getting married is a big step. Now you will be managing a household together, and possibly raising children to be good, productive citizens. You will also be responsible for making sure your household stays solvent and in good repair. It’s a huge responsibility.
Even though you may be madly in love, money is still very important. Make sure that you are familiar with the financial situation of your future spouse. Do they have a lot of debt? Do they spend impulsively? How do they handle credit cards and what is their credit score?
The number one issue couples fight about is money. Having money, or having none, may be a point of conflict. If you are able to be open and honest about how much you earn, owe, and save, this is a good sign. Be sure that you both see eye to eye about money to avoid arguments. Opposites may attract, but not in the case of a spender and a saver.
Ask Yourself: Do I feel the same way about money as my partner? What are our goals when it comes to finances? What are their debts? If you can speak freely and easily about money with your partner, chances are good that it’s okay to propose.
There are other things you can look for in your everyday life to see if your partner will say yes or no.
For instance, have you discussed your future in-depth with this person? This can mean anything, from the super-special date you have planned next month all the way to your ten-year goals. If it is easy and free to speak about your future with your partner this is a good sign. Bonus if they have dropped hints about getting married or engaged!
Going along with that, does your partner agree with your ambitions? Does he or she like the idea of starting a small business, despite the risks, or traveling the world upon reaching retirement? If so, you have another good sign on your hands. Look for an equal sense of excitement and support about your major goals.
They say you can judge a person’s character by the friends they keep, so don’t skip your friends over. Do they like the idea of you getting engaged to this person? Is your partner easygoing and accepting of your friends, or is there animosity? If your friends think he or she is a good catch, and support you getting married, chances are you’ve chose correctly.
Ask Yourself: Does my partner support my major goals, or do we disagree? How do my friends feel about my partner? Can I talk freely about my future? Saying yes to all these is a good sign.
In closing, be sure to weigh all options before taking this big step. A few questions and a little reflection will go a long way in deciding if now is the right time to propose.
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