If you’re in love with your partner and are wondering if it’s time to pop the question, you’re not alone. Knowing when it’s the right time to propose is an issue many people struggle with.
And that’s because, when it comes to proposing marriage, everyone seems to have a different opinion on how soon to do it. Some say you should be dating for at least two years, while others say one year is sufficient. Still others say six months is totally fine while others say even three years isn’t long enough.
So, how soon is too soon to propose? The truth is, there is no one answer to this question and that’s because the passage of time is not nearly as important as how you feel about each other, how well you know each other and how compatible you are.
If you’re struggling to figure it out, read on to learn the seven signs you’re ready to get hitched and the seven signs that you’re not.
7 Signs You’re Ready to Pop the Question
Proposing marriage is a big deal — and it’s not something that should ever be taken lightly. To ensure you are truly ready to get married, consider each of these seven major points.
1. You’ve talked about marrying each other
While the actual proposal should be a surprise, the idea of marrying each other should not. If your partner has no idea you want to marry them and you don’t know if they’re interested in marrying you, then a proposal is definitely premature.
If you’re part of a couple that’s ready for marriage, you should both know your respective partner wants to marry you — and not in the far distant future, either. This should be something you’ve discussed together on more than one occasion.
2. You think about your future together
If you and your partner are ready for marriage, you’ll already be thinking and talking about the future as a duo. You abandon the use of ‘I’ or ‘me’ in favor of ‘we’ and ‘us’ when talking about your life, be it a month from now, a year from now or 10 years from now.
And when you think about the future, if you can imagine yours without them in it, then you’re not yet ready to pop the question.
3. You have the same priorities
Engaged couples should know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’re both on the same page on important issues and that you share important values. If you don’t want the same things in life and don’t share similar values, then some major discussion needs to happen before deciding if, ultimately, you’re right for each other.
Issues that you should discuss and agree on are:
- Marriage goals.
- If you want kids (and how many).
- Financial goals and spending style.
- Where you’ll live.
- Spiritual beliefs (and what role they’ll play in your lives as a couple, and, if you have kids, as a family).
- How to divide household responsibilities.
- Lifestyle (Is partying OK? Opinions on alcohol, smoking and drugs)
- Politics (Do you agree or at least agree to disagree?)
If you and your partner have discussed and are in agreement on what matters most to you both, then you’re probably ready to pop the question.
4. You want to get married
If you’re thinking about proposing, that naturally means you want to get married, right? Not necessarily. Not everyone thinks about proposing for the right reasons. If pressure from your partner or family, or a fear of being alone are main motivations for proposing marriage, then you probably aren’t ready for it.
A person who truly wants to get married, would already be imagining a future with their partner and envisioning what their married lives would be like together. If you’re not doing that, and the idea of marrying your partner doesn’t fill you with joy, then you’re not ready for marriage.
5. You can make decisions together
If you’ve never had to make any real decisions together — and no, choosing between pizza and Chinese food doesn’t count — then a proposal may not yet be in your best interests. Knowing how you talk to each other, bounce ideas off the other and make decisions together is pretty important. You should also know how you handle conflict together and be happy with how you deal with and resolve arguments.
If you are unable to negotiate or compromise in a calm and level-headed way with each other, then you probably don’t have a solid foundation for marriage.
6. Your disagreements don’t get out of hand
No couple agrees with each other all of the time, but it’s how you handle arguments that is important. If you’re at the point in your relationship where you can communicate your feelings and discuss them together respectfully, you’re ready for more commitment.
If, however, your disagreements become shouting matches or a chance to hurl hurtful words at each other, then you need to work on your communication and conflict resolution skills before even thinking about getting engaged.
7. You can’t imagine your life without them
If the thought of life without your partner seems unbearable, then you’re probably ready for marriage. And your partner should feel the same about you.
If one or both of you aren’t yet at that stage, then plans of marriage are definitely premature. If you’re going to get married, you should truly want to spend the rest of your lives together.
7 Signs It’s Too Soon to Propose
Even if you feel like you’re head over heels for your sweetheart, that doesn’t mean marriage should be on your mind. Here are seven signs that you’re just not ready to get married.
1. You’re still in the honeymoon stage
Every couple goes through a honeymoon stage; that early part of your relationship where you’re both carefree, happy and passionate. This, however, is the absolute worst time to propose marriage. While the honeymoon stage can last anywhere from a few months to a year or two, eventually it will wear off as you enter a new phase of your relationship.
While there’s nothing wrong with being in the honeymoon phase, it’s not a time when you see your partner realistically. This first stage of love can lead you to see only your partner’s strengths — not any of their faults and certainly not any red flag behaviors.
After the initial passion ebbs a bit you’ll be in a better position to know if it’s lust or true love.
2. You haven’t met each other’s families
Meeting each other’s families is a huge part of any relationship and an important milestone that needs to be met before popping the question.
Not only are you marrying your partner and they you, but you will become part of each other’s families. As such, you should both have an idea of what your individual family dynamics are. It will also give you insight into your partner’s family values and how they handle various relationships.
3. You don’t know if your partner wants to get married
Not only should you know your partner wants to get married, you should know they want to marry you. If you and your partner haven’t discussed marrying each other and you aren’t completely certain they’ll say ‘yes’ if you pop the question, it’s too soon to propose.
A proposal should not be used as an ultimatum or to save a relationship that has stalled, it should be a natural progression in a loving, mature and committed relationship.
4. You haven’t discussed your joint hopes for a future
If you and your partner haven’t had deep conversations about your hopes and dreams for the future as a couple, then it might not be the right time to propose. Not only should your dreams be aligned, but you need to agree on important topics like children and finances.
If your goals aren’t aligned and you don’t want the same things, proposing will only lead you to an unhappy marriage and a likely divorce.
5. You have concerns about a behavior
Sometimes we can love someone in spite of their bad habits or behaviors. But there’s a huge difference between putting up with someone who’s a bit messy and someone who is rude and insensitive to the needs of those around them.
If your partner has any behaviors that worry you, it’s not the time to propose. Getting married won’t magically fix them. Instead, think long and hard about if the behavior is one you can and would put up with for the rest of your life. If the answer is ‘no,’ then marriage is not a good idea.
6. You’re more excited about the wedding than the marriage
Are you excited about the idea of marrying your partner, or are you just excited about getting married? All too often we put ourselves on a timetable of reaching certain goals or milestones by a certain point in our lives. If you’ve always said you wanted to be married by a certain age, make sure that is not the reason you’re thinking of proposing.
If planning a wedding and being part of a couple is more exciting to you than living your daily life — for the rest of your life — with this one person, then you’re clearly more excited about being a husband or a wife then you are about the commitment itself.
Your partner, not all the trappings of marriage, should be the reason why you’re excited to propose.
7. They aren’t your best friend
If you’re going to spend the rest of your life with someone, they should not only be your lover, but your best friend. While it’s certainly important to love and lust after your partner, it’s equally important that there is liking, loyalty and trust between you.
You should be just as eager to talk to each other as you are to touch one another. You should enjoy each other’s company, have fun together and know each other inside and out. If you’re not there yet, then a proposal of marriage is premature.