Figuring Out How to Propose
“There’s no formula for finding the right person,” says Craig Michaels, creator of groom411.com and author of Thirty to Wife: The Tell-All Groom's Guide to Weddings. “You have to have both a good sense of self and a good sense of togetherness in the relationship. If you feel good about both these, you can probably weather anything that comes your way in the relationship.”
That instinct came in handy when Keith Lincoln*, a mortgage broker from New York City, met Jessica. He had a reputation for being a “one-date Charlie.” “I usually went out with a woman for one date and then lost interest,” he says. But he knew Jessica was different. “With her, there was chemistry,” he says. “We had a good time together, and I felt a little something inside. The timing was right, and she was the right person.”
If you’re not as lucky as Keith and know right away, talk it over with your girlfriend. According to Barbara Bartlein, author of Why Did I Marry You Anyway?: Overcoming the Myths that Hinder a Happy Marriage, you should “talk about the big-three issues: money, sex and kids. These are the top issues couples fight about, in that order.” Bartlein adds that with each topic, you should work out these issues now, and agree to assess them as your relationship progresses.
Penny and Joe had the “long, hard talks” about these issues before they thought of marriage. “You have to want to wash the guy’s shorts,” Penny jokes. “You have to make sure the other person is worth getting into the nitty-gritty with. And, if you don’t agree completely, you should be able to find a workable solution.”