Not engaged yet after dating
This is crucial because neither of you should have to give up friendships during marriage, and it's so much easier to maintain those relationships if you each get along with the other's crew.
You can picture yourselves standing together at the altar.
We were a bit older when we met and wed so that changed things for sure Dated for nearly 2 years before getting engaged. Went out and let her pick out and customize her own engagement ring.We were married for 20 years before cancer took her away from me. She's amazing and I still get butterflies when she walks into the room. We talked about our life together of course, kids, where we wanted to live and that sort of stuff. Then we were engaged for about a year and married by 24. Our first kid is on the way, and my wife wants to use the name we had talked about going over what we wanted out of life way back in college. It was a mutual decision to get married at that point. I don't hold to that because my aunt and uncle were together for 11 years before marrying and they have one of the best relationships I know, but I didn't want to leave any doubt in her mind or anyone else's that I was serious about our partnership.With my current wife, I knew after a week that I was going to ask her to marry me, but she made me wait until we were together for a year before I officially asked her. I had been thinking about proposing for awhile, but never had an AH-HA moment, so to speak. Honestly a big part of the reason I waited so long was that my wife always expressed a lot of distaste for marriage and tradition, but I think maybe she just did this to protect herself in case it didn't happen.That said it still feels like it happened fast, parts of which I regret. It was in our living room, I was beyond nervous and erratic. And what made me decide to tie the knot was just realizing that we work so well together that I really never want to break up. I'm currently dating a guy for almost 3 years now... He makes jokes about it and to me, it's just not funny.I was talking to my dad one day like "Yeah, I need to start looking for a ring, you wanna go take a look some time? I knew, and my dad reinforced the idea that I'd be a neurotic maniac trying to hide the ring for any amount of time, so I decided I was getting engaged that afternoon. I basically spewed nonsense at her (pausing to set up a rotating fan, seriously) then got down on a knee and proposed. I sorta just tossed the ring box at her, never even opened it. I had "ok'd" it with her parents in the car on my drive home. I don't think it's fair for me to wait for him to propose get married and start a family. And I don't want him to propose out of pressure either...