So you’re thinking of getting engaged. The funny thing about getting engaged is that it involves two people. Although you may be planning a surprise or hoping to be surprised by your partner, there should still be some kind of discussion about it. You may not be ready to go out on that big of a limb and you need to at least know where your partner stands on the subject. How do you start? Marriage is a big deal. So how do you even begin to broach the subject?
Ya’ll Ready for This
Seriously, are you ready? Is your partner? Before you ask “will you?” maybe you should ask if they’re even ready to say “I do.” Think about where you and your partner are. It’s time to actually analyze and sit down to think about the relationship. This is hard if you’re one of those spontaneous, I-want-to-just-do-it kind of people. Try your best to determine where the relationship is located. Are you pretty close to marital bliss or are you closer to commitment phobia?
A good way to judge this is by time. How long have you been together? If you feel like it’s time to get engaged and you’ve been together for a long time, you’re probably right on track to discuss it with your partner. Chances are if you’ve been together for a long time, your partner is expecting a talk about engagement at some point. Knowing where the relationship is in terms of readiness can help get the conversation rolling. This way you know where to start. If you’re worried it’s too early you can start gentler versus when you’ve been together forever. In the latter case you can be a bit more open and forward with the talk. Make your decision on how you approach the topic based on your personal situation and relationship.
When to Talk
Another tip to talking engagement is planning the talk at the right time. You know your partner better than anyone. What do you think the best talk scenario is? Are they likely to be receptive to a conversation about marriage while they’re swamped at work or stressed? Probably not. There are other times that may stress your partner out just as much so steer clear of those. The best time to bring up the engagement subject is when you’re already talking about your relationship. Even bringing it up on a date is a good idea. Just make sure you don’t bring the subject up out of nowhere. If you’re trying to surprise or be surprised, you’re not making a very good go of it by bringing it up so non-casually.
Make Little Hints
The way most people discuss engagement readiness is to talk about it without really talking about it. By this I mean they make hints. These hints range from subtle to completely glaring. You can pick whichever you feel is right for you. This route is mainly advisable if you’re trying to make the whole thing surprising. If you’re the partner hoping to be engaged to, you can make comments that hint you’d like to be engaged. If you’re the partner hoping to surprise the other with a proposal, try giving your partner little verbal cues about your readiness to marry and see how they react. Give just enough information that you can get their general feelings on the subject, but not enough that you completely give it away.
Phone a Friend
A great way to start the engagement conversation is to start the talk with your partner’s friends or family. Start inquiring with people they’re close to. Have they ever said anything about getting engaged? How did they feel about it? This way you can gain information from the beginning. Be careful though and use this method only as a starter to the conversation. Always take your partner at their word even if it differs from what they’ve told their friends. Either way, putting feelers out first is a great way to start the conversation.
Bring up Rings
Rings are the traditional scapegoat of real engagement talks. It’s a beautiful thing. A couple can discuss rings without ever really having to say anything about engagement. Talking about rings is so handy because you can easily work them into average conversation. You could see a ring commercial on TV and simply ask your partner if they like that one. If you’re the partner hoping to be proposed to, you can simply point at the TV and say you like that ring. Use rings almost as a metaphor. And if you want a more in-depth conversation, use the ring talk to launch yourselves into a full-blown engagement discussion.
Marriage is the Word of the Day
A great way to start talking about marriage is to just start talking about it. Don’t start close to your relationship. Instead talk about marriage in general. Get a feel for how your partner feels about marriage at this point. If you start from a more general point you can slowly and easily work your way towards discussing your engagement and how they’d feel about that as well.
These important conversations can really freak us out. But there’s no need to panic! Give yourself time to feel out how your partner feels and start there. Work your way towards the scary engagement conversation one step at a time so it doesn’t seem so big. Giving your partner a heads up or working the conversation in casually is the best way to make sure they don’t feel ambushed.