Ok, so maybe you've been dating for two years. Or six. Or, in my case, 10+...(we were young when we started, give us a break!) The inevitable is looming out there. Girlfriends are asking. Your mom is hinting. Tiffany rings are being Pinned left, right and center.
But before you even think about answering the big question, I think there are a few to ask yourself:
Do you trust him? And I mean, really trust him. Will you leave him at the club with his friends and go home to the comfort of your own bed without thinking twice? Does it ever cross your mind to check his Facebook/text/voicemail? Do you cringe at the mention of ex-girlfriends and/or new female co-workers? I can remember the point in my relationship (several years into dating and several years pre-engagement) when I woke up and realized I had nothing to worry about. I fully and completely trusted my man. And our relationship completely evolved for the better after that point, it was like a weight had been lifted off both of our shoulders -- and we've never felt it again.
Are you doing it for the right reasons? The party is fun. The dress-shopping with your girlfriends is amazing. The walk down the aisle is everything you hope it will be. But eight years into marriage, I can tell you that none of those things matter in my marriage. You have to get married for everything that happens after the big day, not on it.
Have you had those tough talks? Religion, money, politics, organic chicken, divorce, where to spend Thanksgiving each year. Not necessarily fun Friday night fodder right now, but you need to be on the same page about important matters of the heart, the head and the bank account before you merge your lives together. I was shocked last year when a friend of mine, one year into marriage, realized she and her husband didn't share the same ideals about having kids and which religion they would practice. One year later, they are no longer married. Take the time before you commit to share your opinions and listen to your partner's. They may change and evolve with time, as will your relationship, but don't wait until you get to that bridge to cross it.
Have you made your wish list? No, not for flowers, photography and save-the-dates. For life. Have you outlined your goals, dreams, bucket list, inspiration board, and more? I don't mean have you accomplished everything you want to, but have you defined it in some way for yourself? Have you shared it with your partner? Because once you are married you will need his/her support and encouragement to do it all -- and more. Want to live in New York some day? Start your own business? Learn to cook? Share your wishes with him now so he can help them come true later. If he undermines any of them, think twice. Or maybe even three times.
Are you comfortable in your own skin? Is your partner? I know we all want to lose 10 more pounds before walking down the aisle, it's our right to feel and look our best on our wedding days. But here's what you need to ask yourself: are you doing it for the photos, your girlfriends and the hopes of being featured in Martha Stewart Weddings? If yes, great. Skip that Kit Kat. If you're doing it for yourself or your husband, put down the carrot sticks. You are going to set yourselves up for a lifetime of "10 pounds too many" if you go into this union striving for something you are not. Love each other as you are. On that day, the day before, and for many days after.
At the end of the day, how long you've been dating, your age and your Pinterest board cannot dictate whether or not you and your significant other are ready to take the next step...but the state of your relationship with not only your partner, but yourself as well, can.