Relationships are complex and based on several variables that grow and change with you. So, how do you tell when to take a good dating relationship and convert it into an engagement or marriage? You should ask yourself and your partner some tough questions on finances, family dynamics and future goals before you try and mesh those things together.
How Does Your Partner Handle Work and Money?
The question of how you and your partner handle money and work is critical before searching for “how to buy an engagement ring” because the answer will be a significant factor in your ring budget. For instance, if your partner is frugal and works long hours to save a nest egg, you might want a lower budget for rings or propose with house keys instead. If your partner has an opposite attitude towards work and money, you may want to reconsider combining finances.
Can You Live Together Well?
Not every couple wants to live together before engagement or marriage, and you do not necessarily have to live in the same home to answer this question. You can consider your living habits, such as sleep routines, tidiness levels and meal planning skills and how they compare to your partner’s. This is easier to do if you each have or have had roommates with different living habits, so you can reflect on how you deal with a messy housemate as a neat freak or vice versa. Be sure to discuss how chores are best broken up and which bills are your responsibility to ensure you are on the same page before moving in.
How Do You Communicate?
How well you communicate with your partner is often phrased as whether or not you can argue well or have disagreements while maintaining respect and civility. The media often portrays quality relationships as not having arguments or conflicting communication habits. Genuine relationships do not work this way, and the higher the pressure and stress in a situation, the more critical it is to have good communication skills.
Do You Agree On Childrearing Topics?
The questions of whether or not to have kids, when to have them and how to raise them are essential to ask before getting engaged. Not agreeing on things like screentime or enrichment activities are questions that can be addressed when you get to that point, but rules and punishments, the number of children and how long to wait between each one are more critical to know from the outset. It is a good idea to talk about these topics with friends or family members who have children to ensure that you have thought about some of the most critical issues.
Can You Discuss Religion and Politics?
Two critical issues to childrearing and living well together are religion and politics. If you and your partner get into yelling matches each election cycle or attend different religious ceremonies each week, then it is going to be harder to maintain quality communication, a unified childrearing attitude and relationships with family and friends. In particular, knowing what religious or political topics you can agree on and which are dealbreakers before you propose is vital to a quality marriage.
What About In-laws and Exs?
People come with baggage, whether they know it or not. Some of that baggage is how they maintain relationships or do not maintain them with their family members, friends and past partners. If it bugs you now that your partner’s ex is their best friend and always around, it will annoy you as much or more after the wedding. The same goes for their relationships with parents, siblings and extended family.
Most people understand that going from dating someone to being engaged will fundamentally change the relationship, and they struggle to determine when it is a good time to propose. It is critical that you can talk to your partner about money, religion and childrearing after marriage, so it is vital to make sure you can talk about those things before getting engaged.