Getting engaged is one of the most treasured relationship moments a couple will ever experience. It’s a declaration of love, a promise of commitment, and a big step toward creating a future together. But when is the right time to take that step? Is marriage right for you?
We all know couples who have been together for years and wonder what’s taking them so long. We also all know couples who announce their engagement after only a few months of dating and wonder if it’s too soon. So, what’s the right time? How soon is too soon to propose?
The short answer is: There isn’t one perfect length of time you should wait before proposing. Instead of thinking in terms of time, think in terms of relationship milestones.
There are certain experiences you should have together before deciding to tie the knot. But these milestones don’t happen on a set timeline, because every relationship is unique. Read on to see if you’ve met them yet and if you’re ready to take your relationship to the next step, or if you need some more time.
How soon is too soon to propose? Here’s how to know
Make sure you’re on the same page
You need to be able to talk about everything with your future husband or wife. Before you get engaged, you should be on the same page and have a shared vision of your future together. It’s vital that you discuss your finances, careers, hopes, dreams, and plans for having children.
Yes, those topics are serious—but marriage is a serious commitment! They’re all things you should be able to discuss in a healthy relationship. You don’t want to wait until after you’ve already tied the knot to find out you want drastically different things out of life.
Know how to argue
Even the happiest couples fight. Disagreeing isn’t necessarily a bad thing; when done respectfully, it’s a moment of learning and growing together. Just as you need romantic chemistry, you also need argument chemistry to get through fights together.
When a fight starts, successful couples know how to handle it in a way that works for both partners and comes to a resolution. It takes time to find and hone this chemistry, but once you do, it’s a sign you’re ready for marriage.
Move in together
Traditionally, couples used to wait until marriage to move in together. But today, living together before getting married, or even before getting engaged, is common. And with good reason: You think you know everything about your partner and your relationship, but things change when you live under the same roof.
It’s important to experience each other as roommates before getting engaged. Otherwise, you’ll be in for a shock when you clash with their late-night hours or disagree with their definition of clean.
Be prepared to weather the storm
It’s not mandatory for couples to experience tough times or tragedy before tying the knot. But if they have, they’ll be more prepared. If you’re wondering how soon is too soon to propose, try to recall times when your partner had your back and made you feel fully supported. Marriage is a lifelong commitment, and life will deal you plenty of ups and downs.
The couples who have experience weathering the storm and tackling challenges, like a financial crisis or the death of a parent, firmly understand what it means to support your partner during hard times.
Don’t rush into things
As we said, there isn’t a specific length of time you should wait before proposing. When you know, you know! That said, it’s best to wait at least three or four months. The early stages of a relationship are exciting and passionate; you’re still getting to know each other, and every little moment is thrilling.
That can blossom into a lifelong love, but it can also be lust that fizzles out. Make sure you settle into the realities of the relationship before getting engaged and aren’t just acting on the impulses of new love.
How long you wait to get engaged has no bearing on how successful your marriage will be; a couple who gets engaged after five years can have the same chance of staying together as a couple who gets engaged after five months. If you’re still wondering how soon is too soon to propose, re-read the traditional wedding vows closely.
Are you prepared to be with your partner “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, ‘til death do [you] part”? If so, you’re probably ready to pop the question.