Once you’ve been dating the same person for a significant amount of time without running into serious problems, you start thinking about your next step as long-term lovers: engagement. I know because I’ve been there, and I had all kinds of questions running through my head before my fiancé proposed. I wondered about having kids, making investments, relocating, dealing with our families for the holidays, and so many more details that I can’t list them all. So even if the duration of your time together has you thinking about marriage, there are many other factors to consider when it comes to engagement.
What exactly should you think about? There are plenty of topics to mull over, but answering these five important questions for yourself can help you assess your relationship. You might not be automatically convinced one way or the other about getting engaged, but you’ll be better prepared to bring up and answer the right questions when the time comes.
1. Are You Content & Self-Sustained?
Before you bring another person into your life, you need to make sure that you’re well grounded in your own career, social circle, home, finances, and – most importantly – your ability to accept yourself. Try to put yourself into your lover’s shoes: would you marry you? If you have the self-confidence to say “yes” with conviction, you’re in a good place for engagement.
2. Do You Feel Enriched by Your Lover?
When you’re enjoying the company of your significant other, do your friends notice that you have a more positive attitude? Often, when two people complement and inspire one another, it’s obvious to the people who know them as individuals that they’re meant to be. For example, you might act more generous or friendly when you go out with your significant other, and that’s a sign that you have a healthy relationship that could be taken to the next level.
3. Can You Speak Openly?
If there’s something you’re afraid to talk about with your significant other, then your current level of openness with one another leaves something to be desired. Love isn’t always about the easy, fun, or romantic things. It’s also about the tough things that make you question yourself and your relationship. If you don’t talk about your concerns, fears, mistakes, and other negative thoughts as well as the positive ones, you won’t be prepared to navigate the ups and downs of a married life together. Being comfortable with shared feelings, even when they’re difficult, is another step toward a healthy engagement.
4. Do Your Values & Goals Match?
Don’t rely on marriage to change anything about your partner. If there’s anything you can’t accept about one another now, you should work on it before you consider engagement because change isn’t always possible. However, if your values and goals match up, that’s one more thing you can check off the list of compatibility factors.
5. Can You Enjoy the Daily Grind Together?
If you get frustrated or bored with one another when you bring your work home with you or have to do laundry, you might reconsider the seriousness of your relationship. Marriage means that you’ll be living together no matter what happens, and if your life together isn’t always exciting, you still need to be happy to be in one another’s company. If you feel comfortable and positive whenever you get to spend time with your significant other, that’s a good sign that you’ll make a happy couple.
Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she writes about education, online degrees, and what it takes to succeed as a student working towards an online bachelors degree from home. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.