So you’ve been with your girlfriend for a while, and you two have enjoyed loads of highs (those awesome first dates where you were blown away every time she smiled; that time she got you season tickets to the footy for your birthday) and probably dealt with a few lows (that time she ‘accidentally’ chucked out your prized decade-old footy shorts; that time you forgot her birthday), hopefully met each others’ parents and not balked at the sight of what each other might morph into in 30 years – and you generally couldn’t imagine being with any other girl (Megan Fox aside). So, could it be time to lock this thing down?
Hint: If the thought of seeing her in a white dress makes you want to run away, you might be jumping the gun. Image: SugarLove Weddings
For some men the prospect of proposing induces sheer terror, while others feel compelled to pop the question on the second date (but most hopefully hold out a tad longer!). Regardless of your personality, here are seven ways to be sure you’re ready to propose marriage.
1) You’re open about your finances
Make no mistake about it: despite your undying love and devotion, money matters. Even if you and your girl aren’t swimming through pools of gold, you should at least be familiar with each others’ financial situations (and she’s OK with the fact that your big splurges are video games and beer). If one or both of you are deeply in debt, money (or your lack thereof) could be an immediate source of conflict in your marriage. You don’t need to know each other’s salaries to the cent, but if you’re open about your savings, you’ll avoid any “You owe how much!?” moments.
2) You’ve hit a milestone
If you’ve just made a big professional advance (like a promotion), it may be the perfect time to take the next big step in your personal life too. A lot of guys set goals for themselves, and until they’ve reached a certain level in their careers or feel they’ve stashed away enough money to support a family, they’re just not in the mindset to get married. For Steve, 28, the time felt right when he bought his first house. “I realised my house wouldn’t be a home without her in it,” he says. “I was just ready to move forward with my life.” Your relationship is just like anything else you’ve worked hard toward, and the payoff is equally as rewarding.
3) You’ve discussed your future
Have you talked about your plans for going on holiday together next year, and your plans together 10 years from now? If you and your girlfriend speak naturally and sincerely about your future together (even if you’re not sure where you’ll be or what you’ll be doing), that sort of confidence bodes well for your relationship. “We never spoke of marriage, but we did speak of later times in life,” says Dave, 32, who surprised his girlfriend with a proposal in the mountains. “She had no clue, and, when I asked, she had no doubt.”
4) She’s aware of your ambitions
Everyone has ambitions (your goal to eat your weight in pizza? Sure, that counts too), but make sure your aspirations don’t conflict with those of your girlfriend. If you plan to spend all your savings to start your own business in five years or, better yet, you plan on spending a few months roaming with nomads in the Sahara, your girlfriend should know about that before you ask her to marry you.
5) Your mates are fans
Chances are you’ve dated a woman or two who your mates didn’t like much. Regardless of the root of their disdain, a relationship becomes tough when your friends don’t want anything to do with your girlfriend. A guy’s mates are, in various ways, reflections of his own character, so animosity between friends and your girlfriend can be a definite red flag. If, on the other hand, your guys have given her a resounding thumbs-up, you can rest easy knowing you won’t have to spend your life choosing between her and them.
6) You know she’ll say yes… for the right reasons
This may seem obvious, but if you feel the chance of her accepting your proposal is iffy, it’s probably not the right time to ask. If the ups and downs of your relationship have left you dizzy, don’t try to steady the ship by asking her to marry you. If you propose just because you want a quick fix, she might turn you down or — even worse — she might be blindsided by the moment and accept your proposal, only to doubt her decision later on. Ask her to marry you when you know you’re both on the same page about spending your lives together, not when you’re trying to salvage a relationship gone awry.
7) She’s dropping hints… and that’s OK
Maybe she’s mentioned how she’s really into cushion-cut diamonds. Or that she’d love to honeymoon in Venice one day. Or perhaps her hints are a little less subtle (like when The Knot mysteriously appears open on your laptop). Her mind is on marriage, and she’s feeling out whether you’re ready. If your instinct is to change the subject or cower in a corner, you’re likely not in a position to propose. But if the idea of marrying your girlfriend excites you, the only thing left is to buy a ring and start brainstorming ways to propose (start with this guide on what to say and how to say it).
by Miles Stiverson and Rebecca Hanley