So you think you found the person to spend the rest of your life with and you want to put a ring on it.
Before you go shopping for that diamond ring, here are some questions to ask yourself (and the relevant part(ies) involved). No, we won’t be debating about natural vs synthetic diamond in this post, but if you’re interested, you can read about it here.
The purpose of this post is to (hopefully) help you figure out if you should be popping the question.
Why are you popping the question now?
Whether you’ve been together since you were in Secondary School or if you just matched on a dating app 6 months ago, the first question to ask yourself is: Why now?
In these, are you proposing because you just want to settle former case, are you proposing because “you’ve been together for so long already” or your BTO is coming or you’re just sick of people asking “when are you getting married”? In the latter cadown or you’re just sick and tired of dating someone new?
While getting married for the above reasons does not mean that your marriage will not work out, these reasons are largely external motivations that are driving you to make a very important decision of your life.
Take some time to be alone with yourself and really ask yourself why are you thinking of proposing at this point in time and at this stage of your relationship. This brings us to the next question.
Are you ready to be married?
Although this question may sound duh but hear me out. There are various aspects to being ready for this important decision.
While age should not be a conclusive factor to decide when you should propose (unless you’re under 18), it is nevertheless a good indication of your readiness.
As a matter of practicality, you should be financially stable before you invite someone else to commit to spending eternity (hopefully) with you. Chances are, you won’t be that financially stable until you have started working for about a year or two.
Another important aspect of readiness is your emotional readiness. Marriage is not a static process. You will go through various life stages and crises as a couple, that is why it is important to know that you and your co-captain will be able to navigate through the storms of life together.
Like life insurance, marriage should ideally be for life. This means that you have to be ready to commit to contributing regular premiums (not just in the monetary sense) to the marriage in order for it to work. However, unlike life insurance, instead of getting a larger payout, the penalty for the termination of a marriage gets heavier as you go along. You don’t just risk losing your assets in a divorce, you also risk hurting the ones that you love (especially if you have kids) in the process as well. That is why you should be sure that you are ready to commit before you bend the knee.
Are your values and goals aligned?
Another important thing to consider is whether you and your partner are aligned on your core values and goals.
Of course you don’t have to agree with everything he/she says (unless and until she becomes the wife, but that’s a post for another time) but there should be some form of agreement or understanding on certain fundamental issues.
Some important issues to discuss, if you haven’t already done so, include: religion; whether and when to have kids; financial/life goals; and your parents.
Of course there are many other things to discuss, but these are four core issues that we think you should discuss before deciding whether you are ready to commit to a life with your other half.
If you’re going to choose a partner for life, you would want to be with someone who shares your views on these issues or at least both of you have an understanding about your respective stand on these issues. Otherwise, it will be very tiring for either of you to have to revisit these issues time and again without being able to resolve them.
This brings us to our next consideration.
How do you resolve conflicts?
It is impossible for couples not to have disagreements. Even if your fighting does not involve screaming and yelling, disagreements and conflicts will take a toll on your relationship over time if they are not properly resolved or managed.
It is one thing to avoid conflict and another to know how to resolve or manage them. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all method to do so. However, we do have some conflict resolution tips that we think might help.
Listen. When your partner is speaking, don’t wait for your chance to speak or plan your rebuttal. Seek to understand his/her point of view and resist the urge to pre-judge the validity of the point being made.
Watch your tone/volume. Arguments can quickly spiral out of control when one party starts to raise his/her voice or adopts an aggressive/accusatory tone. If you catch yourself doing this, pause (and apologise for your tone or raising your voice, if necessary) before continuing. If you notice him/her doing so, seek to deescalate the tension by calmly requesting him/her to not address you in this manner.
Address the issue. Talk about the issue, don’t attack the person. There is no place for ad hominem attacks unless you’re a six-year old bully at a playground. If you have never accepted someone else’s viewpoint after they just insulted you, we don’t see how you will be getting your point across by attacking him/her.
Pick your battles. There are some fights that cannot be resolved. Instead of picking these fights over and over again, which will inevitably cause a strain in your relationship, learn how to manage them as a couple together (especially when you’re not in the heat of the moment). If these fights revolve around core values and/or goals, then you might really have to seriously consider whether or not this relationship is the right one for you.
Don’t generalise. Two words to avoid here are “never” and “always”. It may be tempting to make sweeping statements like “you never do romantic things for me” or “you always leave the toilet seat up” even if you think that they are true. However, consider if such sweeping allegations were made against you during an argument. It is likely that you would start becoming defensive and before you know it, you start fighting about the use of these sweeping statements or how he/she doesn’t remember the times that you did or did not do such a thing or does not appreciate the effort that you have put in to change. Focus on the immediate issue and don’t bring in irrelevant issues.
At the end of the day, different couples have different dynamics and before you commit to a lifetime with your partner, it is very helpful for both of you to establish a conflict resolution / management process which works for you. It is impossible to avoid fights but ultimately, it is how you fight (and make up) that really matters.
Have you spoken to the relevant part(ies)?
Getting married isn’t just about spending the rest of your life with him/her. You also need to consider his/her family.
Generally speaking, parents would like to have been informed / consulted before you pop the question. Although it might not be necessary to ask his/her siblings, I have personally heard of people who expressed their disappointment of not being consulted before someone proposed to their sibling.
Of course, this is not a requirement and there are no hard and fast rules about this. However, it’s always good to maintain a harmonious relationship with his/her family members and it really doesn’t take much to just tell them that you’re about to pop the question. They might even volunteer to help out at the proposal.
Go forth and get engaged!
You can never be fully prepared for married life. Don’t treat whatever we’ve written above as the rules of engagement (hur hur). The purpose of this post is to help you to consider various aspects of your relationship so that you can prepare yourself to take the plunge.
It’s not difficult to have a wedding but it is not easy to maintain a marriage. If you think you are ready to pop the question, then go put a ring on it!
After you have done that, you might want to consider these 4 things before your wedding.