I remember telling my boyfriend, now fiance (and father to our child) that he had 5 years to propose. See, we were only 23 and 24 years old when we met, so there was no rush to get married anytime before that. I strongly believed that, at such a tender age, we needed time to grow as people and as a couple before we made such a huge commitment.
Around year three, we started ring shopping, and continuously spoke about each other in our futures. We made plans and spoke about moving our lives together in a certain direction.
In year four we moved in together and in year 5, one day before our 5 year anniversary, he went down on one knee and proposed. As we entered year six, I gave birth to our son (4 months after I became his fiance) and the rest is history.
Although our journey as a couple is our own, I wish to share how to make a 5 year marriage plan and why it could benefit your relationship:
1. Make a plan and stick to it: Make it clear from the beginning that marriage is a value of yours. Let him know that this is the direction you want your relationship to be going in and don’t compromise that for anything. Now, let’s not make this one of the first things you say after “Hello,” but certainly mention that in the beginning months. Once things begin to get serious, check back in. See if this is still something he wants and make a plan. Get a general sense of how long he wants to wait, and if he wants a family. It’s important to be transparent about what you want, or you’re setting yourself up for unpleasant surprises.
2. Don’t play the role of his wife: This is incredibly important. When my fiance and I decided to move in together, I was adamant about keeping our relationship expectation inline with the status of our relationship.
Let me explain: When I moved in, I made sure that I didn’t do everything. I contributed to the house in ways that I felt were appropriate for a girlfriend. I kept the house clean, and made dinner (when I felt like it). I didn’t feel obligated to maintain a certain lifestyle outside of the bounds we originally created as a couple. Marriage is important to my fiance, so at times, he’d play around and call me his wife. I always corrected him, and reminded him that I was not his wife and that he couldn’t call me that! I didn’t want him expecting me to fulfill wifely duties, if he hadn’t taken the step to make things official. I know this seems crazy, but even when I was pregnant, I maintained the same stance. Once he proposed, I stepped things up. Still, not to wife status, but to what I believed was necessary for a woman (who was now also a mother), to do when she is in transition from being someones girlfriend to being someones wife.
3. Revisit the plan and make adjustments: A Marriage and a future plan should be revisited (often). Have those difficult talks about what you expect from each other. It’s so important to accommodate to change. You both will grow and change throughout the relationship and the plan may need adjustment as long as you both keep the goal in mind.
Why are these three things important?
- It keeps the doors of communication open. Things are transparent and open to change. There is no room for surprises and it also holds you both accountable.
- You both are clear about your values. You’ve made it clear from the beginning and are shaping yourself into life partners, together.
- You can prepare! Although life is complex, as a couple you have made a decision to remain committed and this can prepare your relationship for harder times in the future.
Some things to consider moving forward:
- Depending on your age, 5 years may be a bit too long. With age, comes wisdom and an older couple may execute a plan much faster. However, if you’re 25 and younger, 5 years should be the minimum time frame! Just my opinion.
- This is not one size fits all and what you expect from your partner should be realistic. What works for one couple, may be to the detriment of another. I guess what I’m saying is you should simply be proactive in getting what you want and the first step is to have a plan!
What do you guys think about a 5-year marriage plan?