- Gender and Relationships»
- Advice & Tips for Women in Relationships
Yes, Timing is Everything in a Relationship
It all starts with you meeting someone you want to ask out on a date, because you are romantically attracted to the person. During the first few dates the butterflies start fluttering around and it eventually grows into something special. After a few months of dating either the guy or girl realizes this is something special and decides to take it to the next level of becoming mutually exclusive. There are always milestones during a relationship when key decisions need to be made such as when to become mutually exclusive, when to say, “I love you”, and when to talk about marriage.
However, after dating for some time, the topic does come up at some point—MARRIAGE. Usually this topic is looming on a woman’s mind well before her guy is considering marriage. Since she was a little girl she dreams of having the wedding and family of her dreams. Once a woman starts to contemplate marriage with her guys she wants to know if her guy feels the same way!
Talk About It
At what point do you start to have the conversation with your significant other? I say you have the talk when you know you are absolutely sure that you are considering taking this step with your guy. You should ask yourself is your guy really husband material? Does he have the attributes that you are looking for in a husband? Can you spend a lifetime with him through the good, bad, and ugly? These are all questions that any woman should consider when she starts to date a guy. Remember, you have to accept the entire package, which includes the behaviors you could do without. Make sure you love him instead of loving the idea of getting married!
Some could argue that you should start having the conversation once you become mutually exclusive and I would agree to a certain degree. I believe it is important to feel him out by asking a few probing questions. It doesn’t hurt to have a few conversations to get a sense of how he feels about the subject of marriage before bringing up the main attraction. You are still in the stage of getting to know him and building your relationship, so it is okay to interject small doses of the topic to know if you have the same aspirations. You should ask questions to see if he is secure with his current status in life and your relationship, finding out his goals, and his perspective on marriage and kids. This is a life changing decision, so you need to make sure you have similar values and ideas; and that you are confident with the direction of your relationship!
Set the Mood
Once you make the commitment to have this conversation, it is important to set the right mood and tone. I would suggest not having this kind of conversation in the middle of a restaurant or around friends. It is important to create a warm and inviting environment where he feels comfortable, relax, and open up to you to discuss such an intimate topic. You can easily make him a nice dinner or order in, pop open a bottle of wine, and put on a sexy outfit to set the right mood. Never start the conversation with “we need to talk,” it can really set off alarms for any guy. Also, you should not catch your guy off guard, so he is not prepared to talk to the topic. Many times, women spring the marriage conversation on their guy and he becomes uncomfortable and nervous very quickly. Most men are definitely more afraid to have this conversation with you than for you to have the conversation with him. You don’t necessarily have to be direct by saying, “I want to discuss marriage and kids. Instead, you can lead off with I would like to discuss our future and goals in life. He knows exactly what you are driving at when you start the conversation off that way!
Now keep in mind once you have the conversation, it does not mean he will go out and buy a ring right away. Ladies, I know we want him to make it magically appear, but for many reasons (e.g., financial) that is not how it normally works. However, he most likely will provide you a firm response of whether he sees marriage in the future with you or not. If he seems non-committal then you can take that as he is not comfortable in having that conversation with you. Also, if he tells you he does not see marriage in the near future, then you need to start to consider what are the next steps for your relationship. I would suggest you come up with a timeline of when you would like to continue the conversation. It does not have to be an exact date, but at least a window (e.g., 3-months, 6-months, or a year). By setting a timeframe it allows for you to give him time to think about it, and come back to you within a timeframe you can live with. Keep in mind, this is not giving him an ultimatum; there is a clear difference between setting expectations and forcing his hand. Attempting to force a guy into a commitment usually backfires!
I brought this up with my girlfriend, who is now married; we were talking about marriage and she said to me she told her now husband that she would like to have a family someday and she wanted to know what were his intentions. He stated, "He planned to settle down with her, but he needed time to complete school and become more financially secure. Also, he expected to achieve his goals within a year." By the following year, he popped the question at the top of the Empire State Building. During that year, she did not continuously bring up the subject, but every so often she would check in to make sure his feelings and intentions did not change. He also checked in with her to reaffirm his love and commitment. Although, my girlfriend experienced a happy ending this does not happen for everyone. Some woman will not have a clue that a proposal is coming their way and others never see a ring!
Happily Ever After
Communication is key to a successful relationship, because it allows for you to stay on the same page as your partner; and understand each others needs. Not everyone wants to walk down the aisle, but everyone wants to make sure they are on the right path to achieve happiness. In the end, everyone wants their happy ending!