There is no such thing as the perfect way to ask for your partner’s hand in marriage. Nor should you be quite as fixated on finding it. When you pop the question to the lady in your life, what matters more than anything is that you’ve popped it. You can craft your special context around it, but rather than being worried about meeting some insane standard set by no-one in particular, you should ask yourself the big questions and look to yourself for the answers. Here are the big questions that you’re going to want to ask yourself before you get on one knee.
Is it the right time?
This is, of course, the biggest question of them all. Your timing matters greatly in what answer you’re going to get. Sometimes, a gut feeling might feel like enough to go on, but you have to consider what marriage means to you. Is it just a way to more deeply express your love or are you truly prepared to make the commitment to spend your whole life with this woman? She needs to have answers to the same questions. You can know she’s ready by seeing if she’s at peace in the relationship and not distracted by the trials of other parts of her life. If there’s been a consistent relationship, even to the point of being pre-engaged. If she’s started talking about a shared future. Those are all good signs. Signs of a bad time are familial or social strife she’s currently having her time taken up or the presence of any past relationships, physically or emotionally. Marriage is not a way to try “lock her down”.
Should you talk to her family?
Some families are big on traditions. Others aren’t. But you shouldn’t talk to her family just because it’s the “traditional” thing to talk to her father. Asking the family’s blessing is your opportunity to start a closer relationship with the others in her life, too. They might even get involved in the engagement if you want them to.
This is where all the pomp can really get in the way of what’s important about a proposal. If you want an elaborate setup, you’re free to go for it. Choosing a deliberate time and a spot are important just to show that you’re taking the time out to make this an occasion. But all you really need is you, her, and the ring. As for the ring, don’t believe the old schemes that you have to spend so many months’ wages on it. You can get beautifully crafted, custom made 2 carat diamond engagement rings from wholesalers who can cut you a much better deal than that. In fact, that tradition only began as a marketing ploy by, surprise surprise, diamond salespeople. The design of the ring might have some special meaning to you or your spouse, but the price should not.
Where, oh, where?
Perhaps the biggest decision to make beyond getting a ring is where you pop the question itself. There’s no doubt that choosing the right environment can make the experience all the more memorable. In particular, you want it to be somewhere that you can happily enjoy one another’s company after. That’s why people pop the question, for instance, at the location of their first date. While high on emotion, you can spend the rest of the date gazing into one another’s eyes. Or if you do it on vacation at some of the best proposal spots in the world, you can begin to piece the future together in privacy and luxury.
So, what comes after the question the (hopefully positive) answer? The wheels of the plans might start turning in your mind immediately. However, a bigger question for a lot of people is how to announce it. You’re free to do it as you wish, but you might want to consider those nearest and dearest to you both before you make the announcement over social media. Some people might take offense they weren’t personally informed. Of course, you can hold onto the news and arrange a party. If there’s a birthday for one of you that you’ve invited everyone to, for instance, that can be the perfect place to do it to surprise and delight everyone.
Remember, at the end of the day, nothing matters more than the question you’re asking. Not the place, not the elaborate setup, not even the ring. Don’t get lost in the distraction of the ceremony. Put some thought into what you’re going to say instead.