According to research, Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular times of the year to propose.
2016 is also a leap year, so we can expect to see even more proposals on February 29.
Commitment means different things to different people.
A recent survey by Relate, Marriage Care and Relationships Scotland and Marriage Care found that sharing problems, exclusivity and marriage were the top three signs of commitment in a relationship, with sharing problems coming out top across all age groups.
But if you are considering proposing to your partner either this February or any time in the near future, how can you be certain that they are the right person for you?
Relate Cheshire & Merseyside and Marriage Care have put together some tips to help you decide whether you’re ready to take your relationship to
Stress and anxiety
Relate counsellor Susie Woods said: “Getting married is wonderful and exciting but for some people, making the actual decision to propose can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. One of the problems is the huge emphasis we place on finding ‘the one’. If there’s supposedly only one person for us, we sometimes worry that the odds are stacked against us and we probably haven’t found them.
“If you’re having doubts, it may help to focus less on the idea of that perfect person and ask yourself how your partner makes you feel. If they make you happy and support you then the chances are they are probably the right person for you. If not, then think twice about proposing or you may regret it later down the line.”
Marriage Care’s Bridie Collins said “A marriage calls for a deep level of commitment, come what may, and a decision to love during the tough times as well as the good times. Couples wanting to take that next step towards commitment, you may find our FOCCUS course helpful in exploring how well matched they are in their hopes and expectations for the future.”
Things to consider before popping the question
- Ask yourself why you want this - Do you want to get married because you want to spend the rest of your lives together or are there other motivations like the fact that all your friends are getting married?
- Remember ‘the one’ is a myth. It can be tempting to think there’s someone out there who is perfect for us – who can fulfil our every need and complete us. But the truth is, that perfect person doesn’t exist – you need to work at relationships.
- Ask whether you can be yourself around them. It’s important to be able to relax around the person you are marrying. You shouldn’t feel like you have to be someone else or hide parts of your personality.
- Ask if they show you love and support. You need to know the person you are marrying cares about you and will be there for you when you need them most. People show their love and support different ways so think beyond whether they give enough kisses and cuddles.
- Understand that some doubts are normal. There are no guarantees in relationships – and some degree of doubt is inevitable. If you are having strong doubts, be sure to listen to them but remember they can come from all sorts of places, including childhood. It might be a good idea to speak to your partner and/or a relationship counsellor.
- Listen to your partner. Have you talked about your future together? Has your partner mentioned that they would like to get married? It’s best to have had these kind of chats before you propose. You could even ditch the proposal altogether and make a joint decision to get married!
- Take into account the time you have been together. The beginning of a relationship is often full of lust and intensity. It can be tempting to get caught up in this and rush into things but marriage is a big commitment and it’s better to wait until you really know the person.
- Don’t feel like you have to get married. Not everyone wants to get married. Whether you cohabit, date but live apart, enter into a civil partnership or a marriage, the most important thing is the quality of your relationship.
Relate Cheshire &Merseyside offers information, advice and counselling for all stages of your relationships. Call us on 0300 330 5793 or visit www.relatecm.org.uk for more information.
Marriage Care offers relationship education courses for couples who want to strengthen their relationships and counselling for those who need some support. Call us on 0800 389 3801 for a local appointment or visit www.marriagecare.org.uk for more information.