If you and your partner are in love and think you might be ready to settle down with each other, then you’re probably wondering when to propose.
But before you get down on one knee, we suggest reflecting on your relationship and ensuring marriage is the right move for you and your partner.
To help, we’ve outlined ten signs you’re ready to propose, giving you a better idea of when to pop the question. If you and your partner hit all or most of these signs, you may be well on your way to getting engaged!
1. You’ve Discussed the Idea of Marriage
The where and when aspects should be the surprise part of the proposal—not the proposal itself. If you and your partner are ready to settle down, then your discussions should naturally begin to revolve around the idea of marriage, so asking the big question shouldn’t blindside your partner.
Maybe you’ve talked about what kind of rings you’d like or what time of year you’d like to get married. Or perhaps you’ve already started floating the idea around to your friends and family. Discussing your shared future together is a sign you’re ready to propose.
2. Your Future is All About We—Not Just You
When you talk about the future together, your plans include a lot of “we” and not just “me.” For instance, discussing life after grad school, you might start talking about what neighborhood you want to move to together. Or, if your partner is interviewing for a new job, you have conversations about what that next step will look like for your relationship.
When you start planning the upcoming months and years as a couple, this could be a sign you’re ready to propose.
3. You’ve Experienced Some Lows Together
It’s easy to be happy in your relationship when everything is going swimmingly; it’s when times get rough that really show your relationship’s true colors. Therefore, if you’ve weathered a few storms together, then you probably have a good idea of how you both behave under stress, face hardships, and handle grief, which can be eye-opening. If you and your partner have gotten through the low points together and have come out even stronger because of them, then this might be a sign you’re ready to take your relationship to the next level.
4. Your Friends and Family Support This Decision
Ultimately, choosing who you want to marry is your decision, but your friends and relatives may have some helpful insight. If they’re rallying behind you and encouraging you to propose, then it’s a good sign you’re moving in the right direction. After all, those closest to you know what’s best for you, and if they’re supportive of you popping the question, then it might be a sign you’re ready to propose!
That said, if they’re less than thrilled or down-right against the idea, then you may want to slow down and take some time to explore why they’re not happy about it and whether you ought to let that impact your decision.
5. You Share Similar Life Goals
You and your partner should most certainly have your own interests and goals, but when it comes to your future, you should be aligned on the important stuff. For example, if you can’t wait to start having kids, it’s important to ensure your partner is on the same page and wants to start a family, too. Discuss everything from professional goals to financial aspects of your relationship so that you understand where you both stand.
6. You’re Doing It for the Right Reasons
If you think you might be ready to settle down, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Examples of the right reasons include that you’re in love with this person and you can’t imagine spending your life with anyone else. Meanwhile, bad reasons include doing it just because everyone else is doing it or because you want to get back at your ex. Remember, this is a big decision, so try not to go into it haphazardly.
7. You Respect Each Other
Respect is a big one when it comes to determining if you and your partner are marriage material. And it comes in a lot of different forms. For example, do you respect your partner for the person they are, from their personality down to their profession? And do you respect their time and space? If you both mutually respect each other, then you could be ready to get engaged.
8. You Both Feel Like Yourselves In Your Relationship
Feeling safe and secure in your relationship is crucial because it invites you to be your true, authentic self. If you both feel comfortable around each other, then you’re being honest about who you are—there’s no need to put on a facade or pretend you’re something you’re not. Having a shared sense of vulnerability and openness with each other can help put you on the path toward marriage.
9. You Communicate and Argue Effectively
Good communication is the foundation of every strong relationship. So, think about the way you and your partner interact. Do you actively listen to each other, let the other one speak, and come up with thoughtful responses? Or do you interrupt and talk over one another? If you’re comfortable speaking from your heart and having honest conversations with each other, then you might be in a good place to think about proposing.
And the way you argue is important, too. There are healthy, productive ways of arguing or disagreeing and toxic ways. For instance, if every disagreement leads to door-slamming and name-calling, you might want to focus more on how you handle these situations and less on your proposal for now.
10. You’ve Been Together a Little While
There is no set amount of time couples should be together before getting engaged, but you should be together long enough to know each other well. After all, you don’t want any surprises down the road. The more time you spend together, the more you’ll know whether you’re truly compatible and when to propose.
If you and your partner are missing many of these signs in your relationship, don’t call it quits just yet. You may simply need to spend more time on your relationship to help it naturally evolve to a place where marriage feels like the next step.