HOW SOON IS TOO SOON TO PROPOSE?

We’ve all heard stories of couples who married within days of meeting and other couples who married after years of dating. Both couples have the same potential for a lifelong marriage or one that doesn’t last. Which begs the question – how soon is too soon to propose? Rather than adhering to a hard and fast timeline, look for signals that make love the key to a successful marriage.

Love at first sight versus a love that builds over time. Immediate chemistry versus a slow and steady burn. Opposites attract versus learning from and appreciating each other’s differences. No two couples are exactly alike, so no two love stories can be exactly alike, either. What attracts any given couple to one another varies from man to woman. At what point in your relationship is marriage the next step? Determining the right time to marry is as unique a question as what makes each couple tick.

How well you know your mate and how well they know you is important. Some couples take a deep dive and get to know each other quickly, while others take their time letting their relationship develop. When you’ve reached the point where you can freely share daily mess-ups and long buried secrets – because we all have both – and still love and respect each other, that’s a marriage pro. Similarly, your reaction in anger is a good indicator of your ability to withstand each other’s company for the long haul. How you handle trying times and successfully navigated them together matters. Is one or both of you prone to explosive, violent anger versus earned anger that leads to a mutual solution?

Does your partner root for you to reach your dreams? How far along you are in life, your goals and ambitions, and your attitude in the face of failure are good indications. A younger person might still be eager to explore the world on their own. An older person, though, will have more life and relationship experience to draw on. Of course, when couples marry young, they learn to grow and navigate life together. Older couples may each be set in their ways and have a more difficult time finding compromise. Age is a serious factor in a decision to marry, but maturity is of far more importance.

Peer pressure, watching weddings and babies happen in your friend group, preconceived notions of how long a relationship should last before it leads to marriage, parental and family pressure – these events can trigger a proposal, but they shouldn’t. Period. In fact, avoid all marriage triggers like the cliché that the other person completes you or vice versa. Instead, opt for becoming the whole, complete version of yourself that you love – then offer that love to your partner. Only one trigger matters – love. Above all else, remember that love makes more of you, not less.

A place of agreement when marriage just feels right for both of you is the key. A commitment to each other, a commitment to your life together, and a commitment to keep your love and passion for each other alive – these are the secrets to a healthy, long lasting marriage. When is the right time to propose? When you simply cannot imagine your life without her.

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