Are you on a path from first kiss to wedded bliss? Maybe you’re trying to pick up on any overt or subtle Will you marry me? signs in your relationship. Those four little words can make the world turn, but how soon should you expect to hear — or speak — them?
You might fantasize about an elaborate proposal complete with a flash mob or helicopter ride while your partner remains blissfully content with the status quo. He or she may have only the most fleeting matrimonial impulse, even while assuming the two of you will get married — one day.
Perhaps you and your significant other are the sorts to forego the bended-knee approach entirely. Your style could be a more utilitarian back-and-forth about the topic: “Thai for dinner?” “Okay.” “Should we paint the kitchen?” “What color?” “Do you think we should get married?”
Regardless of how you get there, if you hope to get engaged sooner or later, we propose you consider the following in your attempt to read the tea leaves.
Timelines & the Language of Love
Do you and your significant other lean toward tradition or spurn it like the plague? Are you both die-hard romantics? Or do one or both of you view unbridled romance with suspicion bordering on disdain? If the latter, Will you marry me? signs could simply be talks about joint bank accounts or five-year financial plans.
If your love language differs from your would-be fiancé’s, you may need to translate their words — and actions. You might pine for love notes or moonlit strolls, but if your person makes you breakfast every Saturday or has started looking after your car repairs, consider whether that’s their way of inching toward engagement.
You may be all-in, confident the way you feel is more than enough to see you through. Your partner, however, may not view love through the same rose-colored lens. You might feel inclined to give up on engagement, but your honey could just operate on a slower schedule.
Knowing how you each feel about marriage is more important than a timeline. If your projection for a proposal is by sometime next year while your significant other has said “someday,” the best expectation might be no expectation when it comes to betrothal.
Everything Else That’s Happening
If you’re finishing school, seeking a job, or shouldering a financial burden, you could be reticent to commit. If you’re miles apart, or you plan to be for any length of time, there may be an overall atmosphere of restraint between you and your partner.
An unresolved discussion about kids can be another incentive to apply the brakes, as can your respective ages. A few years can make a difference in knowing whether you’re ready to put a ring, a necklace, or a watch on it.
Individuals who’ve been married before may choose to move more slowly — or not — knowing now what they do and don’t want from a union. Similarly, people whose parents have modeled dysfunctional relationships may want to look both ways before crossing the commitment threshold.
Influence & Impulse
Engagement enthusiasm can be contagious, and you may easily get swept up by a close friend’s or sibling’s decision to get engaged. But first, step back and take the temperature of your relationship. The Will you marry me? signs could still be faint and fragile and in need of more nurturing before you’re ready for an official engagement.
Even if you’re ready to get engaged, your family may have their own expectations about your wedding. You might find yourself recoiling at the thought of a big wedding with all its fanfare and expense. Pressure regarding the nuptials may lead you to waffle on an engagement timeline. Be gracious, but enlighten others early as to your wedding wishes.
Remember that the decision to get engaged belongs exclusively to the two of you. You’re free to get there at your own pace. You can do a 50-yard dash, a marathon, or go off-road completely by skipping the engagement to get hitched at the courthouse.
Reading the Will you marry me? signs and markers along the relationship trail is certainly helpful; however, being honest with yourself and your partner will clear the most reliable path forward for your relationship.