Engagement is a big commitment. It is just one step away from marriage, a lifetime with this person. Knowing when to get engaged is on that fine line between following your heart and letting your head take over. Finding a balance between head and heart is the right state of mind you want to be in when making this decision. In order to come to a somewhat balanced state of mind, try following these simple steps.
Step One: What has you contemplating engagement in the first place? Is it pressure from peers or your loved ones? Do you feel that age is pushing you in that direction? Is there no other step in your relationship? Or are you genuinely wishing to spend your life with this person? It's a big question. Keep following the steps to help you answer these questions.
Step Two: Have you and your intended fiancé talked about marriage? What about life and all the hard decisions one faces, like kids, finances, where to live, parenting style, female and male role expectations, and sex? These all seem like subjects that are obvious when contemplating engagement; however, a surprising number of married couples get caught up in the whirlwind of the courtship and these topics often get overlooked. Ask these hard questions before proposing or accepting an engagement.
Step Three: Many people don't realize that being engaged is a huge financial responsibility. There are a number of things to consider once the question has been popped. Are you going to have a small or big wedding? Can you afford a ring for the engagement? Depending on yourself and who you are marrying, this could be the easiest question to answer.
Step Four: Who else do you need to consider when making this decision? Do you have kids? Does your intended have kids? How will they react? Are there special circumstances in either of your lives? Will relocating be involved? Meaning, is your loved one currently living in another town?
Hopefully this arms you with more information about not only yourself and your wants, but how well the two of you will work as a married couple. Entering a marriage with this knowledge under your belt will ward off future misunderstandings.
Once engaged, try attending a pre-marital counseling session or sessions. This will further help guide the two of you in the right direction: a happy marriage. Try exploring different options for talking about what life will be like after marriage. There may be some hard discussions but all of them need to be covered. Talking over these will help you feel assured that the right decision was made. If there is any question about making the decision, take more time.