How to Talk About Marriage with Your Boyfriend

Erin Ollila

Bringing up the subject of marriage for the first time with your boyfriend can be nerve-racking. Even if you think you're on the same page as your partner, you can't actually be sure how the talk is going to go. It's a big deal when you talk about marriage, and you don't want to scare your boyfriend off if he isn't there yet. However, at the same time, if you feel as if your relationship is headed in the direction of happily ever after, you need to do right by yourself by starting the conversation.

But how?

First, it's important to understand that all couples communicate differently. Some may regularly have deep, to-the-point conversations where no subject is off-limits. Other relationships may be very open, yet timid to discuss big-picture topics. The way you'll approach the talk about marriage might be different from the way your sister, mother, best friend, colleague, or a stranger might bring it up, and that's okay. Never let anyone make you feel as if there's only one correct way to do it. The right way to approach your boyfriend is one that respects both of your needs and communication styles.

When you're ready to bring up the big talk about marriage, consider these five tips:

1. Dig Deep Within First

Before you bring up the topic of getting hitched, it's time for you to do a little self-discovery. Set aside some alone time and question yourself. Do you want to spend the rest of your life with him? Think about it seriously before bringing it up, and make sure your intentions are in the right place.

2. Pick the Right Time to Talk

As with any big relationship conversation, timing is important. If your boyfriend is watching the big game on TV, out at a concert with friends, or just returned home after a tough day at work, he may not be prepared for a heavy conversation. You want him to be able to concentrate and not have his mind elsewhere.

3. Bring the Topic Up Gently

Great! You're in the middle of a progressive heart-to-heart with your partner. Now is the right time to check in, just to make sure you slowly approach the conversation. Frame it as a question, not an expectation. For example, asking, "What do you see for the future of our relationship? Have you ever thought about marriage down the road?" is a lot less threatening than, "Why won't you just ask me to marry you already?"

4. Listen More Than You Speak

Of course, you're the person bringing up the idea of marriage, so you may be doing more of the talking at the beginning. However, once your boyfriend starts to answer your questions, sit back and really listen. When you guide a conversation, you're not allowing your partner to share all of his feelings and you may only hear what you like.

The same goes for hearing an answer you don't like. Listen to his reasoning. Maybe he wants to marry you, but he needs to get his financial house in order first. If you end the conversation without allowing him to fully share, you might just think he doesn't want to marry you, which could be far from the truth.

5. Be True to Yourself

While you need to listen, the most important thing to discuss when you talk about marriage is your honest feelings. Is a wedding a priority for you in the near future? If your boyfriend isn't on the same page, don't try to act like you are. Validate each other's feelings, but don't conform to his stance just to make him happy.

Whether this conversation reveals some discord within your relationship timeline or begins a beautiful new chapter in your lives, approaching your boyfriend about his thoughts on marriage is the only way to figure out where he's at.