Proposing to your girlfriend is a pretty exciting moment in your relationship and in your life in general. The secrecy involved in buying the ring and making the arrangements for the proposal is all very romantic. It’s easy to forget that the question you are planning to ask is actually a very serious one that will shape the rest of your lives.
Many people rely solely on the heart when it comes to getting married. There is certainly something to be said for the cliché "you just know". On the other hand there are many practical things to think about when you’re deciding whether it’s the right moment to propose marriage. Thinking about these will help to maintain the long term success of your marriage once the passionate romance has mellowed a little.
Here are four crucial questions to ask yourself before you decide whether it’s the right time to propose.
Do you want children?
A surprising number of couples don’t discuss their thoughts about having children before they get married. Perhaps thinking they are too young to know what they want yet, or maybe assuming that their partner feels the same way they do on the subject. While you don’t necessarily need to set a date for getting pregnant with your first child, you should at least discuss the matter with your partner before you take the plunge and get married. If one partner is vehemently against having children and the other has always dreamed of becoming a parent it is sure to cause problems further down the line. Of course people’s view can change over time but each partner should be aware of how the other feels about such a crucial matter before they walk down the aisle.
Where will you live?
The romance of being newlyweds will soon wear thin if you start married life living with your parents or perhaps living apart. Many couples do choose to stay with their families while they save enough money for a home of their own, and this could be a good temporary solution, but your marriage stands more chance of survival when you have your own space to grow together as a couple. If you’re sure you’d like to get married, why not delay until you are in a position to rent or buy a place of your own so you have somewhere to call home when you return from your honeymoon.
Do your life plans match?
Talking about your plans for the future is essential if you’re considering marriage. You don’t have to have the rest of your lives mapped out but you do need to consider whether your goals are compatible. Otherwise one person may end up feeling they have sacrificed their dreams for the sake of the other. Perhaps one of you is keen to settle down while the other would like to travel the world and experience different cultures? Maybe one of you would like to study and will need financial and emotional support from the other. It is also useful to discuss important matters such as religion and politics. While it’s ok to have different views, any major points of conflict are likely to cause problems once you’re married.
Can you afford it?
This doesn’t actually refer to the wedding itself. While weddings are usually expensive things they really don’t need to be. It’s far more important to think about whether it makes financial sense to get married. Do you know your partners financial situation and do they know yours? Would you be able to support your wife and potentially children should the situation arise? A poor financial situation isn’t necessarily a reason not to propose but you should be sure that the two of you are open with each other about your finances before you commit to getting married.