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Before You Pop the Question

By Elliot Caleira

After several blissful years of dating, one night at a romantic dinner you have a stunning revelation: You’re in love and you think that you’re (finally) ready to marry the glowing angel staring into your eyes from across the table. This is awesome because you never would have imagined finding someone so amazing. It’s also terrifying because of the feeling of uncertainty that surrounds you now. As the pressure begins to build, you find yourself wondering what’s happening to you as you watch your bachelor-hood flash before your very eyes. Preparing to spend the rest of your life with someone can be both terrifying and exciting. As you work through the process of getting ready, you will find yourself being challenged as you prepare to start a whole new life with your greatest love.

Time to Grow up

Before you pop the question, take a long look in the mirror and reflect on the type of person that you are. It is crucial that you are completely honest with yourself and your character. Are you sure that you can handle the immense responsibility of having a wife? Are you ready to let go of (most of) the late nights on the town with the guys? Have you truly gotten rid of the little black notebook that contains the phone numbers of all those “good friends” from college? If so, that’s great. You have the right mindset to move forward. If not however, be honest with yourself (and her) to ensure that you aren’t wasting time for the both of you.

Show her that you mean it

It’s cute to simply bring up the idea of proposing, but actually following through with it is an entirely different matter. Never acting on it will end up being a colossal waste of time for the both of you. Why bring up the conversation if it will merely be an unattainable pipe-dream for her? Few things are worse than having to go through the dreaded “where are we going?” conversation that most men are unprepared for. If you’re really serious about her and the future you may have together, then you will be sincere and earnest when approaching this subject.

Build Rapport with Her Family

If you’re old fashioned and you would like to ask for her father’s blessing, you’ll need to show him and the rest of her family that you’re the real deal. This can be intimidating and stressful, but if done properly, it can go a long way toward earning their trust. Some things that you can try would be to seek opportunities to spend time alone with her parents in order for them to get to know you. Perhaps having dinner or participating in an activity that they will enjoy can help you earn their good graces. It takes time to accomplish this, but it will help your relationship in the long run to have their support. If they give you a hard time about the subject or they are completely closed off to the idea, give them time to digest the situation and continue to demonstrate your sincerity.

Have Your Career in Mind

One of the things that your future in-laws are going to grill you on is your ability to provide as a husband and potential father. Be ready to have a strong answer for this question. If you aren’t able to articulate your career plan in a way that will ease his concerns, in all likelihood you’re going to be tossed out of their front door. This situation is never personal. They are is simply making sure that his little girl is bonding herself to a capable human being and not someone who doesn’t have his ducks in a row.

Have the Tricky Conversations

As you contemplate this pivotal step in your relationship, you can also gage your readiness to get married by having deep conversations. Do you both want to have children? This is not an common as a match.com study suggests that “51% of men and 46% of women want to have children between the ages of 21 and 34” If one of you do not want to have children, then you must decide if this key subject will be a deal-breaker for the relationship or not.

Have the Future in Mind

When considering getting married, you must try to imagine the two of you decades into the future. You must be sure that she is the kind of person that will still be there after you’ve put on some weight and your body starts to change. At some point, you may need a testosterone booster. Will she still love you no matter what? Leave no doubt in your mind that this is the woman that you are willing to go through these types of things with.

Go for It

After you have had difficult conversations, earned the trust of her family and prepared for the future as best as you can, then it’s time for you to make your move. You have some doubts during this process, you may even wonder if you’re making a mistake. When you truly examine yourself and what your relationship means, if you decide that you cannot live without this person, then by all means take the next step. In the end, only you can decide what’s right for your heart.

Elliot Caleira is a freelance writer in the self-mastery and health and wellness spaces. When he's not writing you'll find him cooking or teaching Portuguese classes. More articles by Elliot.
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