So, you have been dating your boyfriend for a while and the relationship seems to be getting serious - you may wonder "When should you expect a marriage proposal?" The most important thing to remember is that the only right time for a marriage proposal is when you are both ready to be engaged, and there is no specific chronological time at which you should expect a proposal.
When the Relationship Gets Serious
Most relationships go through natural stages of evolution. Generally, a couple begins dating casually and then may decide to date exclusively. As a loving couple spends more time together, they move past the enthralled passion phase and start to share more facets of their personalities. They go from having dates, to actually spending their lives together. Once this happens, it is natural to consider the bond of marriage.
However, the tricky part is in the timing. While some people are sure they have found their life partners after only a few dates, others take much longer to commit. For some couples, the right time to get engaged is only a few months after they start to see one another; other duos take years to get to the altar.
Once your relationship is serious, at least one of you may start thinking about engagement. If marriage is on your mind, you may wonder if your boyfriend is also hearing those wedding bells. Some people feel pressure to get engaged because they have been dating for a certain time period or are at a particular age, however these things really have no bearing on when the time is right.
As exciting as it might be to get engaged, it is important not to rush to this stage of your relationship, despite your desire for that diamond ring. Instead, enjoy dating one another, and take time to learn about your partner's values, goals and style in all things to ensure long term compatibility.
Signs a Proposal Might Be in the Offing
While signs that your boyfriend is considering popping the question may let you know the direction he is headed, nothing can tell you definitively when you should expect a marriage proposal.
However, these indicators can at least help you identify whether he is serious:
- Have you discussed your long term financial plans together? Not only is it important to understand one another's financial goals and to have compatible spending styles, but sharing monetary information is a good sign that your boyfriend considers you a partner and not just a girlfriend.
- Is he talking about long term plans that include both of you? Discussions about purchasing a home together, career planning and other important decisions that he shares with you may be signs he is picturing a future with you in it.
- When he discusses his plans, does he usually say "I" or "we"? In other words, when he gets invited to a barbecue, is his response "I'd love to come, I don't know about Mary" or "I'm sure we'd love to, I just have to check with Mary to make sure we're free." If he is thinking of himself as part of "we" he is already committed to your partnership.
- Do you spend time with each other's family and friends? Are you already doing the holiday shuffle to make sure you see his family on alternating Thanksgivings and yours on Christmases? This merging of lives is an important step toward long term commitment.
- This may seem like an obvious clue, but has he mentioned engagement, marriage, or children? Has he asked your opinion on premarital counseling or prenuptial agreements? While discussion of these events doesn't make a proposal imminent, it certainly points to what might be on his mind.
So, When Should You Expect a Marriage Proposal?
First, you probably should not ever expect one. On the other hand, if you feel ready to get engaged and he is showing signs of readiness, you can certainly be encouraging and let him know the feelings are mutual.
Of course, if you think the timing is right, you can gently broach the issue with your boyfriend. It is certainly okay to tell him that you love him and hope he sees himself in your future.
What you do not want to do is force the issue. Even if you are feeling frustrated by the seemingly snaillike pace of your boyfriend as he ponders marriage, pushing is unlikely to get you engaged. Often men respond to pressure by trying to escape the relationship. Alternately, if they do succumb and propose, they end up feeling resentful of their fiancee's efforts.
If you allow your relationship to develop gradually and naturally, it will strengthen it for the long-term. So, relax and enjoy the romantic time you are spending together and when that marriage proposal comes, it will be as special as you always hoped.