Seven Things to Do Before Getting Engaged

Do you think you have found the one and you are ready to settle down? How do you know if it is too soon to pop the question? Perhaps not surprisingly, how long you have been with your partner isn't necessarily the only factor you should consider. It may actually have more to do with how much the two of you have been through together since you met.

According to professionals, there are certain relationship benchmarks that you and your partner should meet before deciding to spend the rest of your life together. Here are seven emotional benchmarks you should hit prior to getting engaged.

1. Have a blowout fight.

You and your partner may not be the fighting type, but at some point during your time together you are sure to be faced with conflict. All couples have disagreements and even get on each other's nerves at some point.

When arguments happen, you may have a different fighting style from your partner. Maybe
one of you likes to cool off and walk away to think about this issue before discussing it while the other wants to yell and scream in the moment and settle things right away.
Before getting engaged, try to find a method of dealing with conflict that works for both of you so you can sort out the bigger issues that may come up in the future.

2. Go through a life challenge.

Marriage, along with life, is full of challenges. One way to know that your relationship will be successful in the long run is knowing that your partner will always be there for you and support you.

To be sure that the two of you know how to properly support each other through tough times, make sure you go through a challenge together to see if it is a good fit. For example, if one of you has to go through the struggle of dealing with the death of a family member, did the other person duck away for a few weeks to avoid the conflict? Or were they able to support you and be there to lend a hand when you needed it? Make sure that your partner can see how important it is to connect with you during both the good times and the bad.

3. Meet each other's families.

Aside from just being in the presence of your partner's family for a few hours here and there, really get to know them and understand their dynamic to see how you will be able to blend in with them. Maybe you see your family every week but your partner only sees his or her family a few times a year for special occasions. Know what you are getting into before committing to becoming a part of the family so your expectations will be met. Also, make sure to discuss how you will split the time between families for holidays.

4. Discuss finances.

One of the main things that couples fight about is money. Talk about how you spend and save your money with your partner to see if your financial views align or if you tend to spend money very differently. It may not necessarily be a deal breaker if one of you is a spender and the other is a saver, but it is important to make some agreements and ground rules for finances before merging your accounts.

5. Discuss your intimacy.

While your sex life may be very busy at the beginning of your relationship, once you settle into routines that fire is likely to burn out just a bit. Make sure to discuss your expectations about intimacy moving forward and let your partner know what you need in that area of your relationship. Make an effort to maintain your physical connection as time passes by.

6. Live together.

If you don't actually live together before getting engaged, make sure that you spend a lot of nights at each other's homes. Before deciding to spend your life with someone, you want to be sure that you can deal with each other's living habits.

7. Pretend you are already married.

To know that you're compatible for life, live in each other's lives as if you were already married. Go with each other to experience your partner's hobbies and interests and start integrating your lives with each other. Determine how your partner feels about traveling alone vs. together or if they want to continue to travel with their friends. Make sure you are both on the same page and have a clear understanding of the other person's habits and long term wishes.

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