The Ultimate Prize
It's difficult to give a timeline as to when a couple should get engaged. So much depends on when you met, how you met, how well you know each other, your families, and where you both are in your life professionally, mentally, and emotionally. Some couples are engaged after a year, others after two years, others after five, and others after ten. How long you choose to wait is up to you and your significant other. All couples are different and your expectations can never be compared to the oh so commercialized wedding business. Holding your relationship against those standards can only lead to disaster. It really is all in the timing.
Many men say that they propose because they just knew it was time. This can be extremely frustrating for their significant other, but popping the question is largely instinctual. So why do we get married in the first place? Well, of course the reasons vary, but in my opinion as we age we realize the importance of companionship and the beauty in creating a life with somebody else. I don't only mean literally creating a life (babies!), rather creating happiness with somebody until the very end. I think that Creating a future with somebody else is one of the most remarkable experiences one can have.
One may argue that marriage is not necessary in order to do this. This is true. But as I spoke to married couples before writing this post they all told me that life does change after you say "I do" for the better. It might not always feel that way (marriage is work!), but at the end of the day, it's worth it. Couples told me that the relationship itself (after marriage) takes on a whole new level of respect. That your sense of commitment only strengthens the love you have for one another, and the beauty of being family (whether it be just you two, or more) is the ultimate prize.