In today’s post we are going to talk about how soon is too soon to propose, a few things to keep in mind and signs that you’re ready to pop the question.
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Sometimes, you meet a person, and everything just falls into place. You suddenly understand why all the relationships that came before didn’t work out.
You don’t have a single doubt that this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, and you might have even imagined the proposal and their acceptance.
The future unfurls in front of you — however that looks to you.
A destination wedding, an enormous event, or a private ceremony with a justice of the peace. Children or pets.
Buying a home or opting for apartment living. There are so many choices to make that the potential feels limitless.
But is it the right time to propose? How soon is too soon?
How Soon is Too Soon to Propose?
There are many considerations when it comes to popping this very important question. However, most experts suggest that one year is a good minimum for a relationship before considering marriage.
It allows you to get beyond the initial cloud of lust in order to see if you have the basic compatibility required to successfully navigate a long-term relationship.
While the Beatles told us that all we need is love, relationships need quite a bit more to thrive.
While you may know already that you genuinely love the one you’re with, are you sure you have what it takes to be married, to stay married, and to stay happy together?
5 Things to Consider Before Proposing
1. Does Your Vision for the Future Align?
Before you ask them to marry you, do you know if your vision for the future aligns with theirs? Is it something you’ve talked about?
You don’t want to propose to someone who doesn’t even want to get married.
That’s not just a major misstep; it’s a sign you aren’t ready if you haven’t talked about what you both want for the future.
It’s more than just marriage, however. You should be talking about where and how you want to live.
What does the day-to-day look like? Do you both want kids or pets, neither or both?
Knowing that you’re sexually compatible and enjoy each other’s company is just a start — not the whole picture.
Consider if you’re on the same page about the future before you ask them to share yours.
2. Are You Both Financially Stable?
Financially stability is more important than you think. It’s possible only one of you are financially stable or neither of you are, but you need to see if you’re both trying to be.
Do you know their spending habits? Have you talked about how much debt you both have?
When you get married, their debt becomes yours. Are you ready for that?
Talking about money might be uncomfortable, but it’s necessary long before you pop that question. How will bills be sorted? Will you share accounts or keep your own? Are they a saver or a spender?
Talking about these things will help you figure out if this is a person you can marry. After all, if you marry them, you’ll be living with their spending habits.
3. Do You Have Compatible Values?
You might want the same future. You might even have come through the financial hurdles with flying colors. Do you have compatible values?
This is likely the most essential consideration when you think about partnering someone for life. Do your values align with theirs? Are they even compatible?
If they’re wearing a MAGA hat and you are a big-time ally at every Pride parade, you’re going to run into big issues.
If they’re helping prop up the patriarchy while you’re trying to dismantle it, you’re going to be in trouble.
If you really think you want to marry this person, you should have more than a surface idea of their basic value system.
Recommended read: How Soon Is Too Soon to Move In Together? Here’s the Truth
4. Do Your Friends and Family Approve?
You might think that you don’t need anyone’s approval. To some extent, that’s true.
But as a person who has been both married and divorced, I can share this little insight: Your friends and family see your partner better than you do.
They may not know them in the same way, but I can guarantee you that they see the problems you’re ignoring.
If your family and friends aren’t enthusiastically supportive, ask why. Go to the people who will be honest with you and find out why they have reservations.
Perhaps you’ll be able to ease their minds so that they can fully support your choice. But it’s possible that they see something wrong with the partnership that they may not be disclosing to you.
It could save a lot of heartache if you were open to hearing it. It might hurt your feelings. It might even make you angry. But the people who love you best want what’s best for you.
They should be your biggest, happiest supporters when it comes to marriage. If they aren’t, there’s probably a good reason.
5. How Well Do You Communicate and Handle Conflict?
How do the two of you communicate and handle conflict?
World-renowned relationship psychologists of The Gottman Institute suggest that the single best predictor of relationship success is the ability to turn toward one another.
For instance, if you’re trying to get your partner’s attention or affection or need to address a problem, they’re willing to turn toward you rather than turning away or pretending not to see it.
If you don’t communicate openly and honestly and can’t respectfully handle conflict, you’re not ready to propose.
You’re certainly not ready to be married. If you communicate well but they don’t, the same holds true. You need to both be ready for the demands that come with making a lifetime commitment to each other.
5 Signs You’re Ready to Propose
1. You’ve Dealt with Your Baggage
Be honest with yourself.
Have you dealt with any childhood and relational issues? If you haven’t hauled out your baggage and personally dealt with it, you’re not ready for the next stage in a relationship.
However, if you’re working on your issues and self-aware enough to know you have them, you just might be ready.
Look, you don’t have to be completely healed from all past issues to move forward. You just need to be working on them and not making them your partner’s problem.
If you can do this, you can navigate the sometimes-tricky beast that is marriage to another person.
2. You Have Realistic Expectations of Marriage
Do you have a realistic idea of what marriage will look like or do you just have engagement and wedding fantasies? It’s important to know the difference.
If you realize that marriage takes work and are willing to do that work, you’re ready.
If you feel confident that you can love someone through good days (yours and theirs) and bad ones (yours and theirs), you’re ready.
Your expectations need to be aligned with reality. Life isn’t a fairytale, thank goodness. The original fairy tales were very grim indeed.
Yet, marriage can also have grim moments that will give you anything but relationship goals. Can you love your partner when they struggle with a physical or mental health condition?
Can you love them on days when they’re in a terrible mood and take it out on you?
Also, can you maintain kindness and respect even on the days when the last thing you want to do is wake up and love them? If you can, you’re ready.
3. You Have an Interdependent, Healthy Relationship
How healthy and interdependent is your relationship? Do you have time together and time apart, or is it all one or the other?
Is your relationship codependent, or are you both able to be happy even if you’re not together?
If your relationship has a balance that works for you both, you just might be ready to ask that question you’re dying to ask.
You already know that you can live without them — you equally know that you don’t want to do that.
Recommended read: 17 Relationship Green Flags You Should Look Out For
4. You’ve Talked About Your Future Together
You’ve already had talks about the future.
In fact, you know that if you ask, they’ll say yes. You’ve had enough conversations about your future together to know that they want this and are ready for this next step.
They seem comfortable and confident about the two of you together forever, and they haven’t shown any desire to back off and create space from you during these talks.
You’re ready. You know you’re ready because you’ve already brought it up a time or two to test the waters. You know they’re thinking about it, too.
5. You’ve Got a Plan to Propose
If you don’t have a plan, you’re not ready to propose. A good proposal should be considerate of the person you’re proposing to and should keep their preferences at the forefront of your mind.
If you like a lot of attention but your partner is shy, proposing in a very public way could show them just how much you don’t care about how they feel or what they want.
On the other hand, if you’ve planned a proposal perfectly designed for them and what they love, you’re ready. You’ve made sure you’re emotionally mature enough for this step.
You’re taking good care of your health and your heart, and you’ve found a person who makes you want to be the very best version of yourself — but who loves you even when you’re not.
You have a question. What are you waiting for?
Recommended read: 9 Relationship Red Flags You Should Never Ignore
How Soon Is Too Soon to Propose: Final Thoughts
Anyone can pop the question. Gender rules used to dictate that the man is the one who asks, but now anyone is free to invite a partner to share a life.
If it’s been more than five or six months and you just know this person is right for you and you’ve checked all these boxes, it’s time. You don’t have to be perfect.
You never will be and they won’t be either. Yet, you know you’re ready for this step into the rest of your lives.
Proposals can be truly special. They aren’t the start of your story together, but they could be a highlight of a well-lived life and beautiful love story.
Photo by Jessica Rockowitz on Unsplash
Crystal Jackson is a former therapist turned author and the author of the Heart of Madison contemporary romance series.
When she’s not writing or working on her next book, you can find Crystal traveling, paddle boarding, throwing axes badly but with terrifying enthusiasm, gardening, doing yoga, or curled up with her nose in a book in Madison, Georgia, where she lives with one puppy and two wild and wonderful children.
You can find more of her work on her personal website: crystaljacksonwriter.com;