There are many factors to consider when deciding when is the right time to get engaged. Getting the foundations right helps build a framework for a long and happy relationship.
Many couples wonder when they should get engaged. At one time the conventions were very clear, but today a variety of influences affect when a couple gets engaged. Couples can get engaged at many different stages of a relationship, including couples who are enjoying their first teenage romance through to couples who have already set up home and are living together or are getting married for the second time. Therefore, when deciding when is the right time to get engaged, a couple needs to consider their own personal circumstances and any special factors that need to be taken into account.
Why Get Engaged?
Before deciding if the time is right to get engaged, it is worth identifying why they a couple is getting engaged. There are a few basic questions to ask before getting engaged. This will help to determine whether the time is right and whether they both share the same view of the status of their relationship and long term goals. Couples get engaged for many reasons, including:
Preparation for Marriage
The most important reason a couple gets engaged has traditionally been to prepare for marriage. An engagement changes the status of a couple and demonstrates their commitment not just to each other, but also to a change of lifestyle. For many couples, married life will be the first time they permanently live away from their parents' home. The engagement period gives a couple time to save money and prepare for the wedding and their new life together.
An engagement shows commitment. Many couples feel that an engagement is important to demonstrate to family and friends the depth of their relationship. Some couples get engaged without any intention of getting married, using the engagement to show that the couple have long term plans and that the relationship has moved beyond casual. An engagement ring is a tangible symbol of a relationship. Getting engaged and wearing a ring is important to many couples. While the wearing of a ring is not generally considered reason enough to get engaged, it does demonstrate the status of a relationship. A promise ring can be a useful alternative for couples who want to demonstrate their commitment by wearing a ring, yet are not ready to get engaged.
Determining When Is the Right Time to Get Engaged
When a couple is determining when is the right time to get engaged, they need to make their decision based on their own personal circumstances. Many external factors can influence a couple and this can sometimes result in a couple getting engaged for the wrong reasons. Family pressure, getting engaged as a result of an emotional trauma such as after a major argument or through peer pressure (for instance if a couple's closest friends are all engaged) are examples of external influences that can negatively affect a couple's decision of when to get engaged.
Often couples will instinctively know when the time is right to get engaged. They share a common view of the way their relationship is developing and what they want both as individuals and as a couple in the future. Major differences, for instance when or whether to start a family, must be identified early on as this can have a significant detrimental effect later on that might result in a broken engagement or marriage.
An engagement is the first step in a long and happy relationship that, for many couples, will last a lifetime. It is worth spending a little time early on to make sure that the time is right.