So when you get to your mid-twenties, your friends in long term (and sometimes short term ) relationships start doing this weird thing. The people who not too long ago were throwing up out of taxis, peeing on national monuments and doing other irresponsible things (that mostly tend to involve the loss of bodily fluids), yes these same people, start deciding that they are old enough and mature enough to devote themselves to another human being and get married.
This is a total disaster for you.
Firstly, it will cost you hundreds of pounds in hotels, clothes, and transport to attend these religious ceremony, awkward dinner party and grown-up school disco hybrids.
But secondly, and what brings me to the subject of this post, these events shine a nice bright light on the status of your own long-term relationship. Family members will say things like “It will be you two next!”. You’ll sense your girlfriend mentally evaluate the wedding you’re currently attending and compare it to the one that she’s been planning in her head for years. Finally, you’ll watch her morph into a goalkeeper as she literally puts her life on the line to catch the bouquet.
By the end of attending a few of these things it becomes clear, there’s a burning question now hanging over your relationship. You may discuss it, you may not, but it’s there.
The question is “When are you going to propose?”
As a guy currently in this situation. I thought it would be worth sharing a couple of things that I reckon guys should think about before we take the next step.
Am I doing this for the right reasons?
Firstly, if at any point of time your thought is “well I guess, since everyone else is doing it I should get this over with” then no, no you aren’t doing this for the right reasons. Weddings are expensive, do you really want to spend thousands of pounds on something that you’re doing just because you feel you have to? But forget the money, marriage itself is supposed to be a life-long commitment, doing it just because everyone else is doing it, or because it’s expected of you is not really enough justification for probably the biggest decision of your life.
The second thing is pressure. Are you doing it because you’re getting pressure from your family, friends, her family, her friends, her? This pressure could be real or self-imposed, but either way, it doesn’t matter. Screw them, you can take as long as you want to decide. We literally spend around 12 years studying subjects to choose what topic we want to specialise in at university for a measly 3 years. You can take as long as you want to decide if you want to commit to someone for the rest of your life.
The right reason should be that you genuinely want to do it. You not only want to spend the rest of your life with this person, but you want this person to be your wife and critically, you want that now. I know that sounds stupidly simple but it should be, and deep down you’ll know the difference between doing it for this reason, and doing it for the wrong reasons.
Am I ready to be a husband?
I feel like in some cases this is heavily overlooked. We spend so much time trying to find the right person then convince ourselves we want to marry them, that we forget about what comes after.
Are you ready to have that level of commitment to someone? Being a husband is totally different to being a boyfriend. Being a husband means you’re her number one, you’re her primary family, her main friend, the centre of her support network. Before then you could be selfish about things to an extent, think about what’s best for you in life. That all changes with marriage. Now it comes down to “what is best for us?”. You may be doing elements like this as her boyfriend but this is another level. You’ve vowed to do these things as you have made a legal promise to this person.
Is this the right person for me?
Finally, I know I’ve mentioned this before but this is a life-long commitment. You need to make sure she’s the right one for you. I’m not going to dwell on how much do you love her etc because those things are subjective. Instead, I’m going to focus on more tangible things.
A marriage is a lot like running a business. Can you see you guys functioning almost like business partners? Can you run a household effectively? Would you be able to create and raise another human being well together?
Finally, life is tough! Some of the worst moments of your life are yet to come (isn’t that a lovely thought?). You’ll lose loved ones, go through financial issues, get made redundant etc. Is this the one person you want by your side through all of this?
I think people focus too much on the good times in a relationship; when things are nice and easy: first dates, going on holiday or moving in together. I want you to focus on the tough times, the times when you’re going to make compromises, the times when life is going to suck. Will your relationship be strong enough to handle this?
If you think you are doing it for the right reasons, you are ready to be a husband, and they are the right person for you, then maybe, just maybe, you are ready to get married.
What are your thoughts? Anyone currently going through this situation and have insights to share? Any married guys willing to impart wisdom? I’d love to hear from you.