If you’re reading this, we’re going to assume that you’re all loved up. You’re considering popping the question but you’re not just quite ready yet. Or perhaps you want to know if you’ll really be ready. It’s a big question, so the answer is going to come in a few parts. These are a few ingredients you need to have before you take that next big step.
#1: The lifestyle fit
This is important. Marriage is more than the next step in a relationship. It’s a shared lifestyle, one that’s going to make both of you family. How well does your lifestyle fit another person in their entirety? Are you ready to share your home and your schedule? Do you have the work-life balance that will properly allow you to focus on them? It might be a good idea to give cohabitation a test drive before you jump behind the wheel.
#2: The approval
Part of that shared lifestyle is how your wider circle plays around it. You don’t necessarily need the approval of anyone. You’re two consenting adults. But if you want good relationships with your partner’s family and friends, then it’s a good idea to broach the topic with them. It’s a good way to get them on your side and can show a level of respect that makes them a lot more receptive to you, too. Most importantly, if they’re on board, they might give you an idea of whether your partner will be.
#3: The proposal
Are you ready to propose? It might seem like a small but momentous event, but a lot of people like to go the extra mile to make it special. You need to make sure you’ve done your research on diamond engagement rings and where the most special possible place will be. You don’t want to ruin an engagement by forgetting some of the most important parts of it.
#4: The signs
Before the point that the question is popped, a lot of people will have already been sharing signs that they’re ready. If they’re hinting at a far future with you, at kids, or even how they’d do a wedding, that’s almost a sure sign they’re ready. The most important sign of a relationship ready to go to the next step is consistency. Everyone has their rocky moments and even a break or a break-up. Before you ask the big question, however, you need to make sure they’re ready to stick around by asking yourself how long they’ve stuck around so far.
#5: The future
This is something you can’t read through signs. You need to have a talk about the future. Not just in the relationship, but yours as individuals. What are your ambitions and needs? What are theirs? Do they align or are they contradictory? You can’t sign up to a lifelong commitment without knowing to a degree what you’re committing to.
If you’ve checked and you know that you have all the ingredients above, then there’s nothing stopping you. If you’re not sure, however, it’s a sign you need a talk about it. Spoiling the surprise with a bit of discussion is a lot better than getting the wrong answer in the moment.