While I’ve never proposed to anyone, I can only imagine that planning to do so is both exciting and terrifying. You may be wondering when your girlfriend is ready to take the next step… from girlfriend to fiancée. She seems happy with your current relationship, but is she ready to commit to a lifetime? This post is dedicated to knowing how to know when she’s ready for you to propose. (We recently wrote about seven questions guys should ask themselves to know when he’s ready to propose.)
There are a number of aspects to consider before popping the question. Though I’ve never proposed to anyone, I have been on the receiving end of proposals, so please read on for a few ways to determine if she’s ready to say, “Yes!” (and mean it… more on that below)
First and foremost, do not rush this process. Maybe you and she have had a connection so spot on that you are afraid of losing it. Proposing will not stop a true connection from being lost. Some believe that rushing into marriage will keep their love from slipping away, but the opposite is true. If you don’t take the proper time to build a deep foundation, which often comes with arguments and unpleasant moments of growth, then your relationship is more likely to crumble than if you do take the time to grow together. When relationships crumble after marriage, they are significantly more life-altering and painful than break ups that occur before marriage. It doesn’t pay to be hasty when it comes to an impacting, life-altering question.
Additionally, women know when time and thought has been put into their proposal. A rushed proposal screams: “I just want to get married because I’m insecure and don’t want to lose you.” A well-thought out proposal says, “I have thought about this from every angle, and I would be honored if YOU, above all other women, would be my wife. I’m offering my commitment to you for a lifetime.” Which kind of proposal do you want your future wife to remember?
Here are a few other questions you’ll want to answer before buying a ring:
- Does she seem to be at peace in our relationship? If she often shares doubts and concerns about your relationship, she is not ready to move forward to engagement. Engagement will only magnify these concerns. Even though she still may go through with the marriage, beginning a marriage on a foundation of doubt and fear is like building a mansion on a sandy beach in Florida – if it doesn’t completely fall after a strong storm, it will inevitably incur expensive damages.
- Has she sought the advice of mentors on topics such as being a wife, how to run a home, and how to raise children? Reading books on the topic from respected authors is great as well as gleaning from the experience and knowledge of other respected women. If she has not been talking to older ladies in the church about marriage and raising a family, you may want to encourage her to do so before asking for her hand in marriage. Obviously, women who enjoy “husband bashing” and mothers who appear to be continually irritated by their children should be avoided as possible mentors.
- Has she remained in a consistent relationship with me or have there been multiple breakup cycles? Relationships that break up and get back together repeatedly are prone to continue the pattern after marriage. If she (or you) get going every time the going gets tough, it is not the time for her to consider marriage. It is either a sign of immaturity (on either of your parts), that your relationship has too many red flags, or that there are still issues to work through.
- Has she completely let go of old relationships or do they still seem to have a presence in her life (physically or emotionally)? If she is still hung up on an old flame, it is not the time to “secure her love” via engagement. Don’t assume that by putting your ring on her finger that his presence will automatically leave her life and heart – it does not work that way. Engagement and marriage do not kill feelings for other people. She has to be willing (and determined) to let go – and, if you have old feelings lingering in your heart for another woman, you need to make sure they are put to death before proposing. She is to be your one and only.
- Have the two of you discussed getting married before now? It may seem romantic and culturally correct to have six months of fun and games to be followed by a surprise proposal on a mountaintop on Christmas Eve; but, it is important to discuss the possibility of marriage before deciding to propose. You don’t need to tell her when or where you will propose – and be sure to plan something awesome – but, don’t propose out of nowhere without her having any notion of your plans. She may be so overcome with the excitement of the moment that she says, “Yes!” without giving it much thought (and then regrets it later… and tells you… or worse, doesn’t tell you). Get to know each other and talk about all the ins and outs of getting married and life together before popping the question. Losing a few surprise romance points (which only Hollywood would take from you) to gain life-long peace points is an invaluable trade.
- Is she comfortable leaving her parents’ home and protection, or her single lifestyle, to begin a new life with you?If she’s not, you can expect drama. When you marry her, you will be joining a new family, but your relationship will need to be its own, separate family. If she is not comfortable making decisions without her parents’ advice – or, if she’s so used to living on her own that she’s not comfortable making decisions with you – this WILL be an issue in your marriage. Watch how she normally makes decisions (does she make them independently? Is she overly influenced by others?) and if you see some warning signs, work through this before moving forward with engagement (some counseling sessions may be helpful).
- Could you picture her being a mother at this point in her life? Can she picture you being a father at this point in your life?You can plan to wait all you want, but unless you are choosing celibacy, there is no guarantee that you won’t become a parent sooner than you plan. When going into marriage, it is important to be comfortable with the idea of parenthood. Babies often come against all odds. Is she ready and mature enough to be the mother of your children?
- Does she have a full, realistic understanding of your financial situation, and is she comfortable with the change in lifestyle she will assume once married? You may think that love is all you need, but you will eventually get hungry and need new clothes. Money fights are common in marriages, but they can be few and far between if both people go into marriage on the same financial page. If she is used to a comfortable lifestyle at home, and you know that it will be a while before you can achieve a bank account similar in size to her father’s bank account, it’s important that she understands what to expect (and that she’s willing to live a more meager lifestyle than she’s used to). This is not the time to be vague or overly optimistic. Tell her the whole financial truth (and you need to know her complete financial detailing – this should be near engagement, not a topic to discuss near the beginning of your relationship…). If she’s making her own living at this point, it is still important that she understand what your family’s finances (yours and hers together) will look like after marriage.
Women look forward to this time of engagement in their life for years prior to it occurring. Many girls play wedding and house while growing up. Some plan out their weddings before boys are even old enough to notice them. It is in the heart of a woman to dream of being loved and cherished by a man. Take this into consideration when you propose.
If she is going through a really stressful time in her life, be there for her, but wait until she can see the sun again before you propose. For example, if she’s grieving the death of a loved one, wait until she’s had some time to heal before proposing marriage. It is more tempting to make emotional decisions when you are grieving than at other times. Plus, when she looks back on her proposal, she will want to remember it being a happy time in her life. Another stressful life example would relate to schooling. If she is so stressed with college, wait until there is light at the end of the tunnel. Her sophomore year of nursing school is likely not the best time. An engaged student is usually a distracted student. Married couples can complete their degrees, but in many cases one, or both, don’t due to life circumstances.
This post has given you a number of angles to consider her state of preparedness of marriage before getting down on one knee. Ladies, if I’ve missed something, please add it below in the comments! We wish you all the best as you plan for your futures! Let us know if you have any questions and contact us!
How do you know when *she* is ready to be proposed to?