Preparing Yourself for the Proposal (When You Know It’s Coming)

A woman and man standing on chalk conversation bubbles to signify conversation.

It’s easy to get extremely excited when you know that you might be engaged any day now. Perhaps your future fiancé has mentioned ring styles, taken you ring shopping, or simply indicated a time by which he thinks you’ll likely be engaged or married. Or, you could also just have a sixth sense about when such an event will occur. However, there are a lot of ways that you can work to prepare yourself beyond simply daydreaming about a wedding. You can make plans now that will help you and your partner to be more prepared for your new and exciting step.

Be Open and Available Whenever Possible

One of the first things to think about is that being extremely busy or over-scheduled is going to get in the way of a proposal. Obviously, every time your partner asks to hang out, you will likely be expecting them to pop the question, but if you know that it’s probably coming, consider clearing parts of your schedule when they might be free. It’s fine to do your own thing as much as you like, but being able to say “yes” when they ask to go on a hike or have a romantic downtown date is a good idea. This would be a good strategy for building your relationship even if you weren’t hoping for a proposal.

Ask Good Questions About His or Her Life Now

Two hands holding coffee cups on a wood table, signifying conversation.

A great way to handle the time between when you might receive a proposal and when it actually happens is to focus on what you can control: you can continue to get to know your partner! Ask questions about what matters to them, what they are up to at work, what kinds of travels they wish they could do… anything that is deep and focused on something other than a particular wedding or marriage timeline. These questions remind your partner that the relationship itself is on solid ground and that you are excited to continue learning from each other forever.

Give Him or Her Space to Breathe and Take Their Time

At the same time, being willing and available doesn’t mean making your expectations obviously clear. Most people who have indicated that engagement is a possibility know that there’s a bit of a ticking time clock activated. They know that you are probably expecting it and, if anything, mentioning and hinting at it is likely to put them off or make them nervous. You know your partner best, so there’s a chance that talking it through in a super direct way might work, but most people seem to do best in such circumstances if you let the person who is going to propose take their own time with it.

Invest in Great Memories and Memorable Experiences

A couple in ski gear kissing in front of a car with snow around them.

Another good way to prepare yourself to be engaged is to do your part to create great dates and experiences together. One thing that many couples encounter after being together for a while is a lack of effort (on both people’s part) in trying to continue to experience new things together. By doing your part to keep the excitement and positive experiences alive, you free your partner to do some real thinking about when to pop the question. Obviously, this can be little things like going for a walk in a new park—not just big trips or fancy dinners. Figure out what you and your partner love most and see how you can contribute to making time for more of those things.

Be Patient with This Season of Your Life

It may seem strange, but being patient can be one of the best ways to prepare yourself for a proposal. After all, the proposal is not the end of the waiting game: most couples go through many periods in life where there is waiting involved. There will be hurry-up-and-wait times during wedding planning, if you want to have children, and as you each advance in careers or other pursuits. Learning how to trust the process and trust your partner to take the time he or she needs to prepare for this decision is one of the best lessons you can learn before getting engaged.

That being said, there are certainly delays in the process that can begin to seem like something else is going on. You don’t want to ask over and over, but a check-in once or twice a year makes sense. This check-in should be specifically about roadblocks: what is getting in the way of an exuberant proposal? Sometimes, it’s a tough family situation or a financial worry, and those are things that you two should be working together to solve anyway if you really want to get married. Rather than turning the conversation into an ultimatum, make the conversation all about addressing the problems and being a part of the solution.

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