When Should You Tell Your Partner You Want To Marry Them?

Although once an institution that starry-eyed lovers eagerly entered into, marriage isn't as appealing as it used to be. In fact, in the United States, marriage is at a record low. In 2018, there were 6.5 marriages for every 1,000 people. Just two years later, that 6.5 dropped to 5.1 per every 1,000 people, according to the CDC. It seems that while love still exists, marriage is on its way out.

But while many are opting for relationships that don't include marriage, there are still those who see marriage as the truest testament of love. To stand in front of family and friends and announce that you're in it for the long haul — until death do you part — is still the ultimate goal for some because it's the ultimate commitment. 

As they say, when it comes to realizing who you want to be together with forever, "when you know, you know." However, deciding when you should tell your partner you want to marry them is another story. That's why it's best to bring up the topic, generally speaking, once it enters your brain.

"You can definitely discuss your life vision and wanting to be married and/or have kids without implying that your current partner will be the one you choose," psychologist Dr. Paulette Sherman tells Insider. "This is one way to reveal who you are and what you want without putting pressure on them to make any immediate decision about you. Oftentimes when you bring up your life and relationship vision in general, the other person will reveal theirs too. This at least can give you an idea of whether you are on similar pages."

But at some point, you need to drop the generalities and get to the heart of the matter.

When the honeymoon period is over

There are three stages to falling in love: lust, attraction, and attachment. Each stage serves an important role in getting your brain to the next stage — because love is in the brain, after all — and in doing so, a lot of hormones come into play.

In the lust stage, in which you're excited about your partner, testosterone and estrogen are behind those lustful feelings. Once you reach the attraction stage, you can't get enough of your partner. You literally crave them 24/7. You can't sleep at night, and you don't want to eat. As far as your brain is concerned, which is a sea of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, all you need to survive is your partner; everything else is secondary. But once you reach the attachment stage, things start to simmer. It's here that the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin make you start thinking about the long-term and what that means for you and your partner. You have officially, at this point, fallen in love (via Psychology Today).

What also comes with the attachment stage, as you finally feel comfortable in your relationship, is the depletion of the honeymoon phase — which isn't a bad thing! It just means you're thinking more rationally now that the brain chemistry has finally settled down. "I always suggest couples move out of the honeymoon phase before getting engaged so they are going in with eyes wide-open," licensed marriage therapist Elizabeth Earnshaw, LMFT, tells Mind Body Green.

2015 study found that couples who wait a year — or more — before tying the knot have higher rates of successful marriages. And, of course, that's what every married partnership ultimately wants.

When you realize you're ready to be practical

Granted, practical and love rarely look good in a sentence together, but if you're going to spend your life with someone, there are practical things to consider. For example, you're not just open about your finances, but you're ready to possibly share them. You're into the idea of getting a mortgage together to buy a home that belongs to both of you. Your values are aligned, and you've talked about if you have kids and how you'll raise them.

"Are you open to having conversations with your partner about the future?" relationship expert Pareen Sehat, MC, RCC, asks Brides. "If you are, it means that you see them as a part of that future. It also shows that you're not afraid to spend your life with them and are ready for marriage ... A successful marriage is never one-sided. When both parties are willing to put in the work it is a good sign that you are ready for marriage."

Although there's something so very romantic to the idea of "fools rush in," too often, the latter part of the proverb is left out. In its entirety, it's "fools rush in where angels fear to tread." In other words, lack of experience and whimsy are charming, but those with wisdom wouldn't dare to act so irrationally. So, as much as you may be in love, so very much in love, like, at the height of your love for your partner, at least consider some practical business. You want your marriage to last; you don't want to be another divorce statistic.