6 Relationship Milestones That Should Happen Before Getting Engaged

Marriage is a big step in a relationship, so it makes sense to wonder if you and your partner are headed in the right direction. Unfortunately, there is no secret or exact timeline to getting engaged. Like most things surrounding your relationship, it’s entirely up to you and your partner. While some people might feel like total strangers after a few months, others might be ready to take it to the next level. That being stated, there are certain milestones that can help you learn a lot about your relationship before tying the knot. Read on to see which markers to look for when thinking about getting engaged.

1. Spending a major holiday together

The holidays are a time of joy, excitement and…quite a bit of stress. Sharing old traditions with one another as well as creating new ones can be an exciting step in your relationship. Plus, if you’re thinking about starting a family together, you’ll get a glimpse into what that might look like during these special moments.

2. Getting sick

Tissues and coughing and mucus, oh my! While catching a cold is certainly not a fun time for anyone, being around your partner when you’re ill (and vice versa) can help you to learn a lot about that whole “in sickness and health” part of your vows. Is your honey a complainer? Do they love to take care of you when you’re feeling under the weather or prefer to keep their distance? It’s good to recognize how you both act when you’re not at your best – it tells you a lot about how you’ll be throughout your potential marriage.

3. The first big fight

If you and your love are still in the honeymoon phase of your relationship, the idea of having a fight might seem like something you don’t need to worry about. But even the best of couples end up knocking heads on occasion, and how you deal with conflict has a huge impact on how your relationship will fare in the future.

4. Going on a trip

Nothing says “committed relationship” like traveling with your partner. Learning how your loved one deals with the stress of traveling, plane rides, packing and exploring new places can tell you a lot about how you will get along in the future. And while taking a vacation together can be fun, it’s important to also travel for less-fun reasons, like visiting family or checking out a potential new hometown.

5. Meeting each other’s families

Whether you come from a close-knit bunch or don’t see your family much, it can be helpful for you and your partner to meet each other’s ilk, at least to get an idea of where you both came from. There’s baggage that can come attached to family and it’s good to experience what it might be like when your two families become one (before they actually do, that is).

6. Having “the talk”

If there’s one piece of advice we can impart, it’s know where you both stand on marriage and future goals before you decide to get engaged. Does one person want a quick wedding and a big family, while the other would prefer a big affair and a nomadic lifestyle? Is one of you super thrifty while the other more of a spender? These are all important questions to ask yourselves – and, more importantly, to talk about with your partner, before making any big life decisions.

Want to learn more about engagement and marriage? Check out some of our other blogs on The Loupe and read up on the benefits of marriage here.

26 comments
  1. We married on the third day after we met each other. We did not have wedding party and loud guests , rings and veil. Just a stamp in our passports. We are together 41 year. Having adult kids. And we never fought.
    Secret is not in numbers. It is in your hart.

    1. Agreed. Asked my wife to marry me 1st day I met her. Got married next day st JotP. 3 months later small wedding. 40 guests, one of the Best Day of my Life
      Immediate chemistry. Marriage is always a work in progress. Agree that a discussion on each others expectations of each other is helpful., but both need to be committed. w’ve been married 46 years now.

    2. Thank you so well said. I’m only nearing the first year of my marriage, but we got married after 6 months. You know when you got the right one.

    3. That’s beautiful. Congratulations on such a long & happy marriage! I can only hope my hubby & I make it as long as you & yours. Thank you for sharing your story!

      1. I’ve been with my significant other for 20 years,and have not gotten married. We got engaged in 2001. Instead of paying for a wedding , we decided to cancel a couple months before the wedding was to take place. We thought it was better to use the money we had saved to help us buy our first home,instead of feeding our friends and family and getting everyone drunk. All In all I guess it was maybe the right decision. It does kind of bum me out thinking about all the stuff we missed out on, honeymoon,anniversaries,etc. But we do still have our home,and now the kids are grown and moved out. So maybe now could be a good time.

    4. There are ALWAYS the exceptions to the rule. You are blessed. This is still very good advice for the majority

  2. We married on the third day after we met each other. We did not have wedding party and loud guests , rings and veil. Just a stamp in our passports. We are together 41 year. Having adult kids. And we never fought.
    Secret is not in numbers. It is in your hart.

    1. I sure hope that mine and my husband’s marriage has that many years of happiness. Only difference is we have fur- babies- congratulations on 41 yrs of marriage- I sure hope we get there too- so far we’re living proof that you don’t have to know someone for years and then get married- when you meet the right person, anything is possible and worth taking a chance on. Best decision of my life still..

  3. Me and my husband were married after 2 1/2 months of dating- he proposed after 1 1/2 months and we were cohabitating after 2-3 weeks- now almost three years later we are still going strong- and trust me we have had trials and tests of our marriage- and we haven’t regretted anything once- sometimes you need to just go with it and say to hell with anyone who tries to intervene. He had been the best decision in my life and I’m glad we did things our way. To each there own- when you know it’s right, you just know.

    1. My question to those who married after a short time is that; if it’s ‘the real deal’ and you’re meant to last, why the rush? It’s more likely to end in disaster if these decisions are made quickly as you learn over time about the baggage not presented in first impressions. Someone with major baggage is more likely to want to move quickly. I’m a fan of informed consent.. ie; know your partners issues so you can decide if they are deal breakers or not. What is gained by rushing into “forever”?

  4. The reality is MOST people aren’t going to meet and get married after 3 days and stay in it for 41 yrs!! Congrats to this couple for doing it, that’s amazing; but those 6 things mentioned are valuable heads up potential indicator signs for the other 98% of us!!

    1. I totally agree. I’ve been in a relationship for a year and seven months. It’s been great. We’ve met the 6 things mentioned. We’re both on the same page. We don’t live together so we’re in the process of finding a home together, then we’ll get engaged. I have a son that is not biologically his and my son has special needs so I had to make sure this man is the one. Not only for me but for my son as well.

  5. WOULD YOU DIE TO PROTECT YOUR MATE?
    Love is a very important part of life and it has to be understood intensely ❤️

  6. In general a good list. Marriage isn’t about love. It is a corporate merger. A space to rear children and a retirement plan. I was married for 13 years and dated 4 years before. We probably didn’t talk enough about money before marriage. Also, I never met his family before marriage because they lived 1,000 miles away. Big mistakes. We were in college and just assumed it would work out and it didn’t. With my current partner, we dated for 5 year before cohabitating. We are too old for children so we may or may not get married. There are pluses and minuses for us with each option.

  7. Being married now for 20 years and 6 yrs pryor to us tying the knot, I’ve learned a thing or two. The things I feel are most important is to marry someone who is first & foremost your friend & not just someone you lust for. Lust is great as long as friendship is the base. Someone you can totally be comfortable around while just being yourself. Respect. You must have respect for the other. Name calling seems to be the norm in relationships. But its THE WORST THING YOU CAN HAVE IN A ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP. There is NEVER a good reason to call someone a name or cuss them out. If you did that to a friend, all the time, that person would NOT be your friend. Remember sharing a life is not easy so dont take each other for granite. Dont name call and dont be called names. Words can do as much damage as being physically abused. Value the others opinion as well as having your opinion valued. VERY IMPORTANT. Do kind things for one another & let each other know OFTEN that you appreciate them. Dont talk behind each others backs or gossip about one another to others. Always, talk about each other respectfully to others. LISTEN to each other, be open to each other & by all means never let communication stop. The saying “Treat others the way you want to be treated” is not just a old silly cliche. It is a Golden Truth a RULE that needs to always be in your relationship. Most importantly SHARE FINANCES. Discuss money. Dont buy a big ticket item without first discussing it with the other. Sit down & put together a budget you can both agree upon. Think of your income as our income & Visa versa. Have a strategy put together for future goals & a retirement plan. Put money aside for emergencies & other monies for savings that neither of you ever touch. DONT have separate accounts, always make money visible to both. When your spouse comes home no matter your day, greet them happily & ask them how their day was, then listen. Always try and look nice for the other. Be clean and look nice as much as possible for the other. It’s nice to have someone on your arm that doesn’t look like they crawled out of a gutter. Keep a healthy sex life. Make the other feel attractive & wanted. Don’t keep secrets & NEVER think it’s ok to do something wrong with the idea that it’s ok as long as other doesnt know it. TRUST. Dont go over that line with major things. Like a new car that gets wrecked, you can repair it, make it look good but it will never be like it was. Forgiveness is important. We are all human & make mistakes. Take responsibility for your actions & be able to admit it and apologize for it. But dont constantly say your sorry for every little thing. That is not genuine and holds no weight plus its gets old to hear it or to say it all the time. Noones life should be a sorry existence! But remember think before you act. Doing something against the other knowing that if they found out could be a deal breaker & destroy the relationship is a huge sign NOT to do it. Think “will this action if found out make the relationship better. If the answer is No then DONT DO IT. There is no pain worse then losing an awesome person because of your own deliberately bad decision. I say all this not because I have a great marriage but because I have a horrible marriage & I always think about how I would do it different knowing what I know now if I were ever to marry again. And if I didnt have all the aforementioned things in a relationship then being single is a far better option. God Bless you all in your relationships and in your life.

    1. Taking each other for the hard rock of granite may just be a deal breaker unless of course you are a chisler; then you can sculpt your relationship in stone.

  8. Brant, you had really great pointers in your post . Thanks for taking the time out to write such an in-depth analysis of what marriage should look like. In an ideal world, you could have done all the right things but at the end of the day your past partner needs to be on the same level as you, in order to make your marriage work. Don’t be too hard on yourself regarding not doing all the right things to save your marriage. Life is one big lesson . You Live You Learn. Although, you might not be together with your wife now, there’s always room to work on yourself, then begin to let your partner now how much they mean to you and work on plans/ways on getting back together. I wish you all the best on your relationship journey.

  9. For some, it may we’ll be about choosing the right partner. But it’s lucky rare. For most, it’s about deciding to be the right partner for the person you chose. We’ve been choosing to be right for each other for 48 years.

  10. We have been married 61 years this year. We went together a year and a half. Have raised 4 boys and one girl. We have never really had a fight some disagreements. We agree some times you need too lau. gh if it isnt that serious. Some times count too ten. It sounds stupid.but it works for us.

  11. In the 45 years we have been married there have been ups and downs but I still think I made the right choice. With two daughters and five grandchildren we have molded a loving family. We dated 3 years before marriage and we discuss diterences often. One would not be well without the other, we are a team.

  12. Brant to advice is absolutely terrible about co mingling funds. My Ex Husband did exactly that to defraud me from my inheritance…. Do discuss finances & who will be responsible for what. Sign a prenup & go to marriage counseling. Make sure that your morals & values align with each other & meet each other’s family early on because if you don’t get along with them, the marriage will never work, no matter how much you are in love with each other. Remember you are also marrying his family.

  13. I was married for 27 years, engaged after 6 months for 3 years before we got married. The one biggest piece of advice that I would give to people is to always remember that you are individuals in the relationship. My mistake was letting everything be about him. When we were dating, I was always willing to do things that he wanted to do to spend time with him yet he never wanted to even try things that interested me. But never changed. I longed to do things like attend the theater, listen to live jazz music, go hiking, skiing, anything physical outdoors because fitness was always very important to me. But we never did, we spent every extra penny we had on race cars, car shows, trailers, winter power sports… All of the things that he liked. And I went along with it because we spent time together doing those things even if I didn’t enjoy the actual activity. We both worked outside the home, but when he came home from work, I would ask him how his day was and listen to him complain for the next 2 hours while I made dinner. Every day was the same. He never asked me how my day was or offered to cook dinner while I sat down. I took care of the kids. I took care of the house. I took care of the shopping, the cooking, the cleaning while he played with his guy pals. It built resentment over the years and when our youngest graduate from high school, I told him I was done. I was still young enough to have a happy life with somebody that let me be myself and not just his wife. Somebody commented about not having separate bank accounts… Worst advice ever. I made 75% of our income, which went into a joint bank account. He spent freely from it, while I was scrutinized for every penny I spent. When we divorced, I had to fight tooth and nail for my share of the money that I had earned over the years. I am now engaged to somebody who shares the same interests that I do and I get to be myself, warts and all Every day of the week and he never stop telling me how beautiful I am and how much she loves me. He does equal if not more than his share of the cooking and cleaning because he knows that it is our home and I’m not his maid. Sometimes it takes a couple attempts to get it right ❤️

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