Whether yours was a whirlwind romance or a love you’ve been cultivating for years, deciding that you're ready to get engaged is a big step. Sure, you may have casually mentioned how many kids you want or discussed where the two of you want to live, but talking about marriage? That’s a doozy. We asked our experts to break down the best way to have the conversation, and to hopefully keep your nerves intact.
Discussing getting married is a life-changing conversation, so be sure to treat it as such. Don’t bring it up as you’re heading out the door for work or when you’ve got plans later. Instead, pick a time when you’re both free and can really focus. It might be over dinner or sitting on the couch, but try to pick somewhere you’re both comfortable. And hey, we won’t blame you if you open a bottle of wine!
There are two ways to approach the situation: A more open-ended discussion, or a direct and to-the-point conversation. The former might come about if you have a few friends who’ve recently gotten engaged. A simple “Wow, it seems like everyone I know got engaged this weekend,” is a good place to start. It gives you a chance to gauge your significant other’s response, and to more openly talk about things like how long the couples in question were together.
The latter would start out with a rather blunt statement (which is great, if it’s your style!). Try something like, “I know I want to get married one day, not immediately, but I know it’s in my future. How do you feel about marriage?” This gives your S.O. a chance to respond without feeling like you’ve decided that you’re going to marry each other (since there is always a small chance this discussion leads to the two of you realizing you want different things). Are you confident you’re on the exact same page, having casual conversations about how cute your future children will be, or what type of wedding cake you’d like to have? Don’t be afraid to be extra blunt. “Marriage seems like it is in our future together, but we haven’t really talked about it yet. How do you feel about us building a life together?” might sound straightforward, but if you both know, the hardest part will be getting the words out of your mouth!
Just remember that this doesn’t mean a proposal will be imminent. Even if you go look at engagement rings the next day, it could be months before the proposal happens, so be patient! Enjoy the fact that you’ve overcome this relationship hurdle, and don’t be afraid to have similar conversations about your future together, now that you’ve established a baseline. And of course, listen! Hear one another’s thoughts, concerns, and feelings, and address them together. That’s a huge part of what marriage is, after all!