How do I know if we’re ready to get engaged?

Last week, a family member text us asking for some guidance. He had been dating his girlfriend for over a year and was thinking that engagement was the next step for them.

To his credit, he didn’t want to rush it. He wanted to totally make sure he was ready to propose. We got on a Zoom call with the two of them and we shared a few ways they might know they’re ready to get engaged.

If you’re reading this, what we shared with them might benefit you, too.

With that said, here are three ways you might be ready to get engaged.

1. You’re ready for total commitment

If you got engaged today, would you be ready to get married tomorrow? In theory, that’s the level of commitment and readiness you need to have before you get engaged. Thankfully, your engagement probably won’t be 24-hours and you’ll have some time to prepare for marriage, but you should be confident in having that level of commitment to your future spouse.

On the contrary, if you find yourself breaking up and getting back together, questioning whether or not they’re “the one,” or you just have days where you can’t see yourself spending forever with your significant other, you probably aren’t quite ready to get engaged.

2. You’re financially ready

Marriage is expensive. Your bills pretty much double overnight… grocery bills go up, phone bills go up, etc. We see so many young couples think they can get married when they aren’t financially ready. Do you both have a job? If not, can you live on his/her income alone? These are super important questions to ask.

As a general rule of thumb, one way to tell you might be financially ready for engagement is when you can buy the ring in cash. No financing. No loans. No credit. Straight cash only. This shows that you have good saving habits and you’re able to prioritize and plan your money. For what it’s worth, you don’t have to get a huge, expensive ring either.

If you don’t have a stable job, you have lots of debt, or you can’t yet buy a ring in cash, you might not be ready for engagement.

3. You’ve worked through all of the “deal breakers”

Dating is a time of understanding the foundational parts of your relationship that could make or break your marriage. These are the big, tough topics that might cause you to break up. And honestly? That’s okay. It’s better to end a relationship with huge differences while you’re dating than while you’re engaged or married.

Here are a few topics we’d recommend discussing before you’re engaged:

  • Do you want kids?
  • Do we have the same faith foundation?
  • How do we each handle money?
  • Do we communicate well?
  • Do we handle conflict well?

If you don’t like the answers you’re getting from your boyfriend/girlfriend, you should press pause and work on those things before you move forward. Don’t overlook these deal breakers! It’s so much easier to talk about them while you’re dating instead of once you’re engaged and married.

Once you’ve talked about all of these tough topics and feel good about moving forward, you might be ready for engagement.

Remember, it’s not a race to marriage. It’s a slow, hand-in-hand walk with your future spouse. And with every step you’ll learn more about each other, grow in intimacy, and prepare for a marriage you love.