While there is no set time or age to discuss marriage and commitment, talking about your plans becomes easier when both of you are comfortable in your relationship.
According to relationship expert Dr Tammy Nelson, questions about background, family and career during the early stages of getting to know each other all subtly imply that you are looking at the person as a potential life partner.
“Asking questions about your date’s home, where their parents live and what they want to be when they ‘grow up’ are all potential mating-for-life questions,” Nelson tells HuffPost Weddings.
She adds: “They say men know after the first couple of dates if the woman they are with is the right partner for life, while for women, it takes almost six months of steady partnership.
And yet both men and women start to check each other out on the subject from the first date.”
*Katlego Malatji (28) and her boyfriend have been dating for seven years and had the conversation about marriage a few years into their relationship.
“While my boyfriend and I both agree that we do want to get married at some point, we’re not really on the same page about the timing. I am 28 years old, while my boyfriend is 30 and thus wants to get married sooner. Other than that, we don’t succumb to the pressures of society that dictates where you need to be at a certain age. There’s definitely no set rule.
“Personally, there are quite a few things I would love to achieve before taking that step, like completing my business degree and making sure that I am where I want to be financially.”
For *Nomvula Khumalo, (30) and her boyfriend, who have been dating for 18 months, the conversation came up at two different instances that she considers less than favourable.
She says: “The first time we spoke about marriage was within the first six months of our relationship when everything was sunshine and roses. The second time was just after a year, when we were at a low. My boyfriend suggested we get married to save the relationship, but I was against the idea.”
Khumalo believes both parties need to be financially stable before they can be ready for marriage. “I can feel like I’m financially stable or my partner can feel like he is, but will we be able to cope as a unit?” she adds.
She also considers it a huge transition that needs to come with mental stability. “We need to ask ourselves: ‘Is this commitment a lifelong one? Am I ready to settle down?’”
Khumalo is currently pregnant, but believes that the prerequisites shouldn’t change as a result.
*Samantha le Roux’s relationship was ready for the next step, after having dated her partner for less than a year.
She says: “After six months of dating, we started speaking about marriage because it just felt right. We prayed about it, but our decision was more an emotional one. Everlasting love was evident from the start. Today, we’re happily married with two beautiful children.”
Le Roux admits, however, that she paid more attention to planning.
“It’s important that you discuss your future,” she says. “Have all those conversations early. When would you like to buy a house? What bracket are you looking at? How many kids do you want? Talk about all of this as as early as possible to avoid finding yourself in a rut once you’re married.”
Remember: comfort levels lie at the basis of deciding when and how you’re going to discuss marriage. According to sheknows.com, you need to know why you want to get married before initiating the conversation.