You’re happy with her. You love her. She loves you. But are you ready for marriage? These 5 signs point to yes.
So you’ve been dating your bae for a few years now. You live together — or you’ve talked about moving in sometime soon. You’ve both met each other’s families, and though not necessarily identical, you mostly share the same long-term goals for your lives. Maybe she hasn’t actually sent you the link to her “My Wedding One Day” Pinterest board, but… you’ve seen it pulled up on her computer a few times. Some might say you’ve figured out the science of relationships.
Experts agree that there is no hard-truth, fail-proof time when you should get married or pop the question to the woman you love, but there are a few signs that you’re probably ready. And that she (definitely) is, too.
Here’s how to know if 2015 should be the year that you finally put a ring on it:
You Agree On The Basics
It might not seem like a big deal while you’re dating if neither of you are ready for kids (um, good-bye all-day Sunday beer-and-wing fiestas) — but what about in the future? And you might not be church-going regulars while you’re building your careers and lives in your 20s or 30s, but you might want to raise those kiddos in that environment. Robyn Swider, matchmaker at ThreeDayRule.com, says it’s important that you and your possible wife-to-be agree on the fundamentals. She suggests to consider long-term location (where will you live?), finances, children and religion before you decide to take that big step down the aisle. “There are topics that a couple may be able to brush under the rug while dating, but they will certainly become a reality once you’re married,” she says. “Also, don’t assume that the other person will change in the future. Consider whether you are accepting of each other’s bad habits or quirks.”
You’ve Figured Out How To Communicate – Even When Fighting
Makeup sex is really hot after you had a silly spat over who cleaned the toilet last, and you can laugh about how ridiculous you both were. You’ve found new romantic things to do now that you live together. But as your relationship takes the next step into marriage, your arguments will be more serious. Even the happiest and healthiest of couples fight (in fact, it’s good for your relationship because it improves your ability to communicate!)— but if you are both taking low blows that end in nasty behaviors or words, you need to figure out how to disagree without it being one hell of a mess. “The best couples are able to constructively work out their problems,” Swider says. “It’s important that both parties know how to express themselves while also listening to the other person and, when needed, make compromises to help the relationship.”
You’re (Mostly) Financially Ready
The age-old rule of what to spend on a ring is three months of your salary — before tax. Though you don’t have to follow this guideline, engagement rings are only the start of the expenses of getting married. And though you might be fine with eloping (and your girl might be, too!) — you’ll be really surprised when your parents, her parents and nearly everyone you know, has an opinion about what you should do to tie the knot. Swider suggests to start saving right away, and start planning the proposal. “Proposing can be nerve-wracking, so think ahead to make sure it goes smoothly,” she says.
You’re Happy On Your Own, But Happier With Her
The idea of one perfect partner is misleading — even if you did always imagine yourself ending up with that Victoria’s Secret model. But before you can pledge your love, affection — and ahem, the rest of your life — to your girl, you need to make sure you can stand on your own two feet first. This doesn’t mean you should take a break to “figure it out” — but consider yourself as a whole person that’s marrying another whole person, not two halves coming together. “The relationship is ready for the next step when both people live happy, full lives that are only made better by the relationship,” Swider says. “It’s important that neither party is too dependent on the other, but that they can lean on each other.”
You Want To
Here’s the easiest way to tell if you’re ready to pop the question to the woman you love: you want to. It’s really that simple, and more than anything else, you have to trust your gut. This is the person that you’ll share the majority of your major life events with, and she should be the partner that you always needed and the girl you want to go to bed with every night. She might not be perfect, and your life together might not be either, but if you want her by your side through all of it… then go ahead. Put a ring on it already!
This article originally appeared on Ask Men