How to Talk about Marriage When Dating

If there is a topic of conversation that many couples dread, it is “marriage”. It is so easy to talk about anything – food, politics, the weird-next-door neighbor, but drop words like “future”, “moving-in”, “babies”, and the fun stops.

It is almost like there is no sure way to talk about marriage when dating. Couples either 100 percent just avoid the subject, or make the case for a heated, dreaded debate.

This topic obviously requires a great deal of thought, and of course, two people, in love, and on the same page. Tricky! But maybe the suggestions here should give you an idea of how to bring up the “I’m ready to get engaged” conversation.

1. Be mindful of timing

Believe the experts: the last thing you want is to force the heavy conversation of “marriage” with your partner. So don’t mark the date, time, and place for the conversation. Instead, allow this scary talk to happen naturally.

Likewise, a dinner party might not be the smartest setting for such a super-serious topic. Instead of pulling up a chair for “the talk”, consider easing into the topic with a candid chat about your relationship and its future.

2. Keep the conversation hypothetical

Checking whether you are on the same page as couples while maintaining an old-fashioned romance and mystery is not new. The last thing you need is to freak out your partner by referring to them as “husband or wife”.

When talking about the heavy subject of marriage, don’t stress your partner by making the conversation specifically about them. Rather, introduce your partner to their archival, the hypothetical husband or wife – making it about what you are looking for in a life partner.

3. Acknowledge it’s weird

It’s weird, really, really weird. It will feel like so at first, but getting this topic out of the way can make it easier to speak freely. But don’t start with a “we need to talk” statement. There is nothing scarier than a “we need to talk” statement.

There is no reason to be so dramatic. “Marriage” is something to make your blood run cold. Engage your partner when it seems like the time has come, at least from your end, to talk about each other and the road ahead.

4. Identify goals together

Or in other words: express your love. Relationship goals are an ideal, lesson, value, or experience to look up to in your intimate relationship. This is huge for every relationship. They are critical for the relationship to stay fresh.

Trying to do new things together, from pottery classes to dancing lessons, really anything can help lay the groundwork. Support each other’s dreams and passion. This will not only reveal the larger picture but will also make moving into deeper conversation much easier.

5. Rely on your instincts

One of the most beautiful things about relationships is that they are not all the same. Couples don’t all look the same, and the two love birds are not the same either. So, talking about marriage is not going to be the same as well.

Know and understand each other’s love language. Consider this the introduction to the ‘Are we getting hitched?’ topic. You’re welcome! The general idea is to recognize that everyone has a love language they speak- one they’d like to be spoken in.

6. Don’t interrogate your partner

You want to know if you’re shopping for a vintage choice for the bride-to-be and you want to know now! No reasons to back your partner into a corner. Keep it simple to arrive at a sure answer instead of a ‘whatever, I don’t care!’ answer.

Talking about marriage has a lot to do with fishing around to better understand where your partner’s priorities lie on the relationship journey. The answer is a notion your partner will arrive at by themselves and nothing about you.

7. Give your partner time to think

When uttered, some phrases can make you, or your partner's blood runs cold. “Marriage” is the ultimate breakup bomb. Getting a definite answer on this is way easier said than done.

So it helps to keep in mind that time to think about the subject is actually a good thing. Your partner is not asking for time to hurt you, or to make your time difficult. Being respectful of that is the best reaction you can offer.

8. Don’t get offended

If you think that there is nothing short of an “I do want to marry you” to point out a future together, think again. It can hurt especially when you have already identified names for your hypothetical kids and pets.

Keep in mind that you are two independent individuals with different ways of thinking about things. So don’t get offended by mismatched priorities. Priorities change for sound reasons.

Final words

The start of a relationship is usually kind of magical. And because there are so many “feel good” vibes present, the important conversation on “marriage” is often overlooked.

It seems silly to do this, as two people in a relationship are clearly committed to seeing it blossom, right? Yet, it is still an important conversation to avoid surprises.

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