Preparing to Pop the Question

So you think you’re ready to pop the question.  Whether you and your partner have just met, or you’ve known this is the person you’ve wanted to spend the rest of your life with for years, this is a monumental moment.  If you’re planning on going a more traditional route, there are a few things you might want to consider before you ask your partner to say “I do”—either while you’re down on one knee, or later, at the altar.

As every couple is as different as the love that they share, there may be aspects of the engagement-preparation process that you may find archaic; or there may be aspects that you’re considering that aren’t necessarily the first things that most consider.

For example, let’s say you and your partner’s family aren’t exactly on the best of terms.  Asking their permission may seem out of the question, but you’re already making a tentative appointment at your favorite tattoo parlor in case he or she says yes to immortalize the moment.  Only you will know what is right for you and your soon-to-be spouse, but here are some items that you may consider including on your to-do list.

The Conversation

So you’re positive that he or she is the one.  You both root for the same football team—or can at least settle on some friendly rivalry—and you’re both on the same page when it comes to life’s bigger issues: kids, religion, future aspirations, etc.  But do they feel the same way?

It’s important to at least broach the topic of marriage, both to you and in general, before you get down on one knee.  If you’re confronted with a partner that avidly protests the idea of marriage as whole, it’s important to know that before you decide to ask for their hand in front of a handful of friends and family.

The Details

Some potential proposals come with a lot of responsibility.  You have to have the right job, the right amount of money saved, and all of your life matters in order.  Forget about just health insurance and keeping current on all of your bills, you’ll need your life insurance policy to be intact and well-funded, be in the perfect place in your career, and be prepared to support the both of you for x amount of months should catastrophe strike.

Let’s face it; we’re rarely in the perfect place in life when important things happen.  Your proposal should be no different.  While it helps if you’ve accomplished all of the above, if you’re consistently waiting for the next big turn of events to take the plunge, you may find that you’ll be waiting forever.  Every accomplishment will be seen as a steppingstone for the next until you’re waiting for your individual retirement account to pay off before you’re ready to pop the question.

The Family

While a little old-fashioned, it’s still a considered a sign of respect to ask close family members before asking for your soon-to-be’s hand in marriage.  Depending upon their background, their approval may mean the world to your upcoming nuptials—and the difference between the answer you’re hoping for and every proposer’s nightmare.  What if the family says “no?”

While it rarely happens, there may be instances when a potential-betrothed’s family might reject your advances.  The best bet is to put them at ease and throw yourself on the proverbial fire.  Plead your case and be prepared for either answer.  Chances are that even the attempt will be seen as well received.  If not, it’s up to you how you’d like to proceed.

Now that you’ve covered all of your bases, you’re ready to ask for your beloved’s hand in what is sure to be a long and happy marriage.  If you haven’t found the perfect ring just yet, take your time; this is an important decision.  Firstly, you’ll need to think about your partner’s style.  While a platinum-set, solitaire diamond is a beautiful selection, it may not be for everyone.  He or she has probably been dropping subtle hints along the way, so scan through your mental Rolodex and try to remember the specifics.

If classic options are not quite what you’re looking for, jewelry shops are more than happy to show you a wide range of wonderful options. If worse comes to worst, enlist his or her best friend to help if you’re planning the engagement as a surprise, or take your soon-to-be-spouse with you to shop around after they’ve said yes

The when and where are up to you.  Your proposal can be as informal as a random moment that just feels right to you or as formal as you can imagine.  The important thing is to make it personal, and to make it memorable.  Ideally you’ll only have one shot to get it right; so best of luck and congratulations!