Considering whether or not he’s the one? Or are you past that and see wedding proposal on the horizon? Either way, you’d be wise to take a step back to evaluate your partner and your dynamic to determine if you two have what it takes to live happily together in the long run. Check out our favorite advice on what you need to know before send marriage proposal, including wisdom garnered over the years by some of our favorite relationship experts.
Do you agree on your future location?
Much like you should agree on your "big picture" items, you should also agree on roughly where you would like to physically be in the first few years of your marriage. If you want to move to a different city or embark on a career that may uproot you, your partner should know these things before you think about marriage.
Don’t forget to discuss how and where holidays will be spent, especially if you have family in different places.
Is there open communication in your relationship?
“Before getting engaged make sure you're comfortable discussing difficult and often avoided topics. If there's anything you haven't discussed, now is the time. Open communication is key to a healthy and long lasting relationship.”
Can he compromise?
How well does he compromise on small things? How he handles little compromises may not feel like a big deal, but expect his ability to compromise on small things to translate to bigger issues. He needs to be able to compromise, and how you react to his compromises (or lack thereof) will set a precedent for your dynamic.
Is he clean or messy?
If you’re not living together yet, chances are he tidies up a bit before you come over. If he’s secretly a quasi-hoarder, or perhaps, bleaches his tiles every other night, those will be traits he’ll be bringing into your new home. And if you aren’t cool with it, we promise that it’ll quickly start wearing on you. On the flipside, you need to make him aware and comfortable with your threshold for messiness.
How do you handle chores?
It may seem trivial, but guess what? If your partner is still dropping laundry off at his mom’s house, he’s certainly not going to be washing his own clothes when you’re married—you will. Make sure you agree on chores, helping around the house and meal preparation routines.
If you don’t see yourself as a “suzy-homemaker” type, don’t lead your future husband on to make him believe you will be one when you get married.
Are you excited or anxious?
“It's normal to have questions and mixed feelings. The key is that you feel excited more than anxious. As long as you do, know that you're on the right track. If not, allow yourself the space and time you need to get clear on what's best for you.”
Does your partner have a healthy family relationship?
“Does he have a healthy relationship with his family? Do you? If not, do you feel that you can handle the unhealthy relationship for the life of your relationship?”
Does he have a jailbird past?
You love your boyfriend for the man he is now, but you need to know if he has ever spent time in the slammer before you sign-up for marriage. This should matter to you because if your boyfriend has been arrested, it may hold back what college and graduate programs he can attend, what jobs he can get and thus what future you two can create.
Do you have fun?
“Make sure you have fun together and you bring out the best in each other. These two things will keep the love alive for years to come!”
How does he treat the women in his life?
Take a look at how your partner treats the top women currently in his life—his mom, grandma, or sisters. It can be a good clue as to how he treats and respects women, and in turn how he will treat and respect you.
Do you agree on children?
It’s not as simple as, “Do you want to have kids?” You also need to discuss how many kids you want to have, when you want to start having them, if you think you should be a stay-at-home mom or not (or if he should be a stay-at-home dad), how you will treat discipline with your children, etc. If you’re of different religions—or even denominations—you want to make sure you’re on the same page as to under what religion the children would be brought up.
Are you on the same page about sex?
“Have you talked about sex and intimacy needs so that you are both clear about them?”
You should be comfortable enough with your partner to discuss your needs in and out of the bedroom. A good sex life is a crucial part to maintaining a healthy relationship and marriage.
Are you happy when you’re together AND apart from your partner?
“Do you feel good both when you are with him and when you are apart? Do you feel centered and grounded in your relationship or do you feel insecure?”
If you’re not happy with yourself alone, you won’t truly be happy with your partner. You should feel comfortable with your relationship whether you’re miles apart or hanging out on the couch on a Sunday afternoon. Be content to do things separately from your partner so that you don’t lose yourself and your unique, shining qualities in the relationship.
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