You have a good relationship, you love her, you’ve been together for a while and you’ve started thinking (or she’s started hinting) that maybe she could be the one, maybe you should pop the question.
But you’re not sure… it’s a big step, a major change in your life. It’s one of the biggest decisions you can make in life. Even if you get a divorce, the marriage will be part of you, and part of how people think of you.
So how do you know? How can you be sure that she’s the one?
A lot of things go into compatibility… it’s impossible to list them all. What follows is a list of some of the most important factors, things you should consider very seriously before proposing.
After you read and answer all these questions, you should have a pretty good idea as to the answer for the question “Should I ask her to marry me?”:
Do you love her?
This one is simple… don’t get married to take care of her, or protect her, or because you feel sorry for her. Only get married if you do, in fact, love her.
Do you miss her when you’re away?
If it’s easy for you to be distracted and not think of her, if you don’t miss her pretty much all the time when you’re apart (it can be more and less consciously, but you should definitely feel it any time you think of her), you’re not committed enough to marry her.
Does she understand you?
If you feel like she doesn’t understand you on a regular basis, the two of you are not ready to be married, plain and simple.
Can you easily picture growing old together?
If you can’t easily picture getting older together, if you have to work at it, then she’s not the one for you, at least not at this time.
Do you share the same taste?
This can be in many areas… if your tastes in clothes, music, food, etc. are not generally compatible, it’s likely to cause problems down the road. This may not be a deal breaker, but deserves real consideration.
When you compare her, overall, to other women, do they ALWAYS lose?
She doesn’t have to come out ahead in every specific trait, but overall, there shouldn’t be anyone who even comes close. If she ever loses, or even ties, you’re not ready to marry her.
Is one of you a big spender and the other a penny pincher?
Financial differences are the biggest killers of relationships… they cause conflict, so you don’t spend time together, so you grow apart, which causes more conflict, and on into a downward spiral. Let me emphasize this: if you are not financially compatible, think REALLY seriously before you ask her to marry you!
Is one of you a neat freak and the other a slob?
Disagreements over keeping things clean can really wear a relationship down. Even if there is no other conflict, this one tends to be present enough to make the relationship go sour. If one of you is a neat freak and the other a slob, again, you need to think really seriously before proposing.
Is she controlling?
Even if you don’t think it’s a big deal right now, if she’s controlling it’s almost certain to become one eventually. You can only handle being controlled for so long… at some point you are going to want to be out from under her control.
Be honest with yourself… if you are controlling, work on that before proposing. It isgoing to cause problems down the road if you are controlling, and getting rid of being controlling is a HUGE personality change, so you should give her a chance to make sure that you’re still right for each other after doing so.
Do you both want children?
You really need to discuss children before discussing marriage. If one of you wants more children than the other (I don’t mean the difference between 2 and 3… though the difference between 0 and 1 is huge), it will almost certainly cause significant problems in the relationship at some point down the road.
Does she have anything she seems to consider more important than you/your relationship?
If there is something that seems more important to her than your relationship, and it’s not a child she already has, that’s a huge red flag. If you and your relationship are not the most important thing to her now, chances aren’t very good for that changing after you get married.
The same thing from above applies to you, too… if there is something that’s more important to you than her and your relationship, and it’s not your child, you really shouldn’t ask her to marry you. Having other things you value over her is a recipe for disaster in a marriage.
Are you hiding anything from her?
Trust is critical in a good relationship. Not important, critical. If you distrust her enough to hide something from her, work on that first… then you can come back and think about proposing again later.
Do you feel like she’s hiding something from you?
Again, trust is critical. If you don’t trust her, and feel like she’s hiding something, even if you don’t think it’s that big of a deal, be careful. You really should trust her before you propose… and you should be pretty certain that she trusts you, too.
Do you have to change something important to you to make her happy?
Is there some part of you that you would have to change in order for her to be happy? Is that part of you important to you? If the answer to both of these is yes, be very, very careful. You may come to resent her for it, and that’s a horrible thing to have in a marriage.
Does she have to change to make you happy?
If there is something that she has to change in order for you to truly be happy with her, even if you think she will, be careful. It’s very easy to be in love with the idea of someone, rather than who they really are, and you can’t make her change… so if you’re not happy now, don’t ask her to marry you now.
Can you imagine getting a divorce?
If either of you can imagine getting a divorce, and it is absolutely something you should discuss before proposing, then you really shouldn’t get married. Marriage is too big an investment of your time, energy, attention, and to be honest, you for you to get into if you are already not sure it’s going to last.
Has she ever cheated on or left someone before?
This might be something you don’t really want to think about, but it’s important, because it’s much easier to do the second time than the first… and each repetition makes it easier. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t propose just because she hasdone one or the other, it just means that you need to take extra caution, and be even more certain than otherwise that you trust her.
If another woman who was beautiful, smart, sexy, funny, and had a lot in common with you showed interest in you, how would you feel?
This one sounds harsh, but it really is important. If she really is the one, the one that you are going to be with for the rest of your life, then you should be able to answer this easily and honestly. You know the answer to this, and if you would be “interested” in that other woman, you are not ready to marry your current girlfriend.
All of these things are serious questions you should ask yourself before proposing. Marriage is a huge deal, one of the most important things you will ever do, so don’t rush into it… make sure that you really think about it and make sure that you’re ready first.
If you have any other questions, please leave them in the comments. It’s the conversation that makes blogging fulfilling.