So, your girlfriend is ready to get married. Not only that, she is ready to get married to you. Congrats! But are you ready for marriage? And is she “The One”? What about that ball and chain you have heard so much about? These are questions that every man asks himself when his heart is telling him “my girlfriend wants me to propose” and he’s considering marriage. This article will help you understand if marriage is the right next step so that you can be confident in your decision to propose marriage.
Disclosure: I am not a relationship expert, nor am I a therapist. This post is simply meant to offer my personal perspective on what I feel you should be asking yourself when you are considering marriage. You must always make your own decisions and seek additional counsel when you feel it is necessary.
You Are Not AloneMore than two million men will propose marriage to their girlfriend this year. Before landing on one knee, each one of them will ask themselves “Am I ready for marriage?” and “Is my girlfriend the one?”
You’re not the only guy who has ever pondered these questions. You’re actually in great company, and the fact that you have these hesitations is a great indicator that you respect your girlfriend and the importance of marriage.
Deciding to get married is one of the most important decisions you will ever make in your life, but when made correctly it is also one of the best. Take it seriously, but don’t be intimidated. If you consider the points made in this article, you’re making a great first step toward the alter.
5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Proposing
Each of the following sections highlights a different question that you should ask yourself before deciding to propose marriage. Notice that there are no right or wrong answers to these questions. The important thing is that you think about these things and justify that each works for your unique situation.
1. Am I Too Young for Marriage?
Most people will agree that age 15 is too young to get married. But what about age 18? Age 20? Should you wait until age 30 to get married? There is no perfect age that allows you to be ready for marriage, but getting married too young does sometimes present additional difficulties.
Age really is just a number. Several 18-year-olds are more mature and responsible than some 40-year-olds. That being said, think about what you have accomplished so far in your life. Are you working towards a college degree? Are you unsure about where in the world you want to set roots? Marriage will not prevent you from doing these things, but it will present additional considerations as you progress through your young life.
Don’t rush marriage at a young age because you fear that your girlfriend will not “wait around” for you to be ready. If there is enough love between you, she will be there when you are ready.
2. Is Our Relationship Strong Enough?
Marriage very rarely makes bad things better, so the quality of your relationship before proposing is very important. Don’t look at a marriage proposal as a way to add new life to a dying relationship. The excitement of the proposal and wedding will fade away quickly, and you will likely be left with the same tired relationship that you had before.
A wedding proposal and marriage should be an exclamation point on an already thriving relationship. If all aspects of your current relationship are not the ones you want for the rest of your life, work on improving it together with your partner in relationship counseling before deciding to marry and propose.
3. Can We Afford a Wedding?
The average wedding cost $27,000 in 2012 in America. But more important than how much the wedding may cost is how you and your girlfriend handle money. One of the top reasons for divorce in The United States is money fights and money problems.
Are you and your girlfriend on the same page financially? Often one person in the relationship is the spender and one is the saver. That is fine, but make sure that you can work as a team and agree to a monthly budget. You should be having discussions about money, not arguments about it.
Once you and your partner are able to handle money as a team, then you will be able to build a wedding budget together. Don’t be intimidated by the cost of a wedding. Remember that marrying your partner costs very little, but throwing a party for a couple hundred people costs a lot. And the cost of the engagement ring is for you to decide.
4. Have We Been Dating Long Enough?
How long have you been together? Three years? Six months? One week? There is no magic formula or algorithm to determine the perfect time for a wedding proposal, but the length of your relationship does matter. If you feel that your relationship has been through a variety of scenarios, good and bad, and you and your partner were able to work together through them, that is a very positive sign.
Which relationship is more mature … One where the couple has been together for two years, but only in a long distance relationship scenario, seeing each other once every three months? Or one where the couple has been together for 8 months, but have seen each other every weekend and taken a few vacations together? See, the length of your relationship is just one small detail about the bond with your partner.
I do feel, however, that a marriage proposal in a relationship which started less than six months ago should be approached very cautiously. Less than six months is a very short amount of time to get to know someone to the point where you can decide to spend the rest of your life with them. It is possible to know within six months that you have found the person who you will share the rest of your life with, but if you have any hesitations, do yourself a favor and follow-up on them before proposing.
5. Do We Known Each Other Well Enough?
More important than the length of your relationship is how well you know each other. Do you know her well enough to decide without a doubt to spend the rest of your lives together? Does she know you? Is there anything important that you feel you don’t know about one another?
Take the time leading up to your proposal to really get to know your partner, and be brave enough to share your true self with her. If there is a part of your past that you feel she should know about, conquer the awkwardness and share your true history with her. If you enter into a marriage, your past will catch up with you sometime. Better that it be now.
You should also explore key areas of compatibility that are important for a successful marriage. A few areas of compatibility, or at least understanding, between you and your partner are finances, children and family life, religion, and politics. Discuss these lifestyles with your partner and think about if your beliefs align with hers.
If during your exploration of the similarities in ideals between you and your partner you do find an area that presents a conflict, work to improve it and come to an understanding together. Communication is one of the most powerful forces in any relationship. Discuss the issue together, make adjustments to improve, and then move forward.
If an issue arises that you can not improve and move forward from, it may mean the end of the relationship. While disheartening, this is not an entirely bad thing. It is much better to discover an incompatibility before entering into an engagement or marriage.
Follow Your Heart, Decide with Your Brain
After considering all of the above, you should have a strong feeling about whether you are ready for marriage. Listen to your intuition. If it is telling you that something is not right, listen to those emotions. If it is telling you that she is the one, go for it!
What hesitations did you have as you decided if you were ready for marriage? Let us know in the comments.
Read the Guys Guide to Proposing Marriage eBook for more information about planning a marriage proposal.