Fellas, it’s time to review the 10 things to do before you propose, so sit back and relax as we examine what you should before popping the big question!
Know Thy self!
Before bending the knee for a final covenant commitment, I would strongly advise that you know thy self! The worst thing you can do is ask someone to spend the rest of their life with you and neither of you know the real you. Establish your priorities, define expectations, understand your purpose, and make sure your mature. No one wants to marry someone whose still trying to figure out what they truly want.
Have a plan
You have heard the old adage; those who fail to plan, plan to fail. The same is true as you embark on this journey towards marriage. You must have a plan and chart it out. What happens in the first year? Or how about after 2 years? 5 years? You need to have a full proof plan for both you and your spouse which is not exhaustive or all inclusive but is at least a roadmap.
Check your wallet
Plans are great but you have to be honest with what’s in your wallet and what you can afford. Set yourself up for success by getting your credit report and attempting to settle some debts. Get those credit cards paid off and up to date. Now is the time to drop as much baggage as you are able to handle before marriage. It’s unfair to carry all this baggage into your new phase of life. This step will help you make a budget for what you can afford leading up to your union.
Have “The Talk”
Each culture is different and in the 21stcentury the family dynamic has drastically changed, yet one thing remains the same – RESPECT. It’s just respect and common courtesy to consult with the family, which in most cases is the parent or legal guardian of your bride to be. If you want to take her hand in marriage you have to have the talk. That talk may be nerve wracking but it shows that the first three steps are in line;
You know who you are and what you want
You have a plan
You are financially able to pursue that plan
These foundational points can’t be ignored as you seek the blessing of the family upon your marital union.
Check your relationships
This is the “put some people in their place” moment. If you are going to get serious and on the path to pursue engagement, don’t wait until after marriage to align your relationships. That means deleting the ex’s phone number and blocking/unfriending certain people in your DMs. Relational alignment extends to removing yourself also from the toxic single friends that may keep you slipping back into bad habits that are not conducive to a fruitful mature you. Finally, aligning relationships means to start the points of separation and independence from your parents because once married they are no longer #1 – she is!
Communicate clear expectations
Failed expectations lead to future disappointments. Between now and the time you propose, your expectations of this relationship should be clearly communicated. This can be done through one on one interactions, counseling, date nights, reading plans, couples work books, mentor couples, pre-martial counseling and much more. These settings sometimes pull those expectations out of you and it may allow you more time to work on an area before committing to getting engaged. Neither of you will find out each other’s expectations until you are forced to dig deep and ask the tough questions.
Know her style
With everything in the clear, if you’ve been with her for a while you better know her style. What type of food does she likes? Does she like to travel or stay local? Is she an introvert or an extrovert? Does she like things planned or prefer surprises? What is her favorite color? What is her preferred flower? Does she have a dream proposal on Pinterest? What is her ring size and band preference? How does she like the cut of her stone? Does she prefer modest or extravagant? These are just a few things to consider and much of which you can learn about her in casual conversation which I like to call covert discovery. When it comes to the finite details use her friends and her mother, they love spilling the deets!
Seek wise counsel
Everyone needs somebody to help them along their journey towards marriage. Whether via dating or courtship, this is certainly one thing that you need wise counsel through. It is your responsibility, before you propose, to have in mind where your “wellspring” will be. In other words, where you and your significant other will draw strength from, look for answers, seek advice and work through issues as you prepare for marriage. More importantly, however, who you will go to for pre-engagement counseling to make sure you are in alignment and ready to make the first big step.
Ball on a budget
Be honest with yourself. Everyone can’t afford to propose in front of the Eiffel tower or at a five star restaurant with the ring at the bottom of a champagne glass. That, however, does not negate the fact that you can’t be creative, match her expectations, and make the experience as memorable as possible. If you know her style and you are able to plan it out accordingly, she will love it. Keep on a budget but make it fun, exciting, and eventful for both you and her.
Breathe – Be ready
Relax and just breathe. Sweaty palms and murmuring is cute and funny afterwards, but beforehand try to keep it as casual as possible. Events and speeches don’t always go as planned. She might even scream or cry the whole time and may not even hear you. It’s ok –bask in the moment, put the ring on the appropriate finger and celebrate your new fiancée.