VALENTINE'S Day is one of the most popular times of the year to propose. 2016 is also a leap year, so we can expect to see even more proposals come February 29.
Relate Bedfordshire and Luton has put together some tips to help you decide whether you're ready to take your relationship to the next level.
Commitment means different things to different people. A recent survey by Relate, Relationships Scotland and Marriage Care found that sharing problems, exclusivity and marriage were the top three signs of commitment in a relationship, with sharing problems coming out top across all age groups.
But if you are considering proposing to your partner either this February or any time in the near future, how can you be certain that they are the right person for you? Relate Bedfordshire and Luton has put together some tips to help you decide whether you're ready to take your relationship to the next level. The national charity have also produced a video which provides a fun but informative take on the question how do you know they're the one?
Diane Whitmore , supervisor at Relate Bedfordshire and Luton said: "Getting married is wonderful and exciting but for some people, making the actual decision to propose can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. One of the problems is the huge emphasis we place on finding 'the one'. If there's supposedly only one person for us, we sometimes worry that the odds are stacked against us and we probably haven't found them.
"If you're having doubts, it may help to focus less on the idea of that perfect person and ask yourself how your partner makes you feel. If they make you happy and support you then the chances are they are probably the right person for you. If not, then think twice about proposing or you may regret it later down the line."
Things to consider before popping the question:
Ask yourself why you want this- Do you want to get married because you want to spend the rest of your lives together or are there other motivations like the fact that all your friends are getting married?
Remember 'the one' is a myth. It can be tempting to think there's someone out there who is perfect for us – who can fulfil our every need and complete us. But the truth is, that perfect person doesn't exist – you need to work at relationships.
Ask whether you can be yourself around them. It's important to be able to relax around the person you are marrying. You shouldn't feel like you have to be someone else or hide parts of your personality.
Think about your values. Do you have the same values and a similar outlook on life? We're not talking about taste in music or films, but the ideas and principles that really matter to you.
Ask if they show you love and support. You need to know the person you are marrying cares about you and will be there for you when you need them most. People show their love and support different ways so think beyond whether they give enough kisses and cuddles.
Understand that some doubts are normal. There are no guarantees in relationships – and some degree of doubt is inevitable. If you are having strong doubts, be sure to listen to them but remember they can come from all sorts of places, including childhood. It might be a good idea to speak to your partner and/or a relationship counsellor.
Listen to your partner. Have you talked about your future together? Has your partner mentioned that they would like to get married? It's best to have had these kind of chats before you propose. You could even ditch the proposal altogether and make a joint decision to get married!
Take into account the time you have been together. The beginning of a relationship is often full of lust and intensity. It can be tempting to get caught up in this and rush into things but marriage is a big commitment and it's better to wait until you really know the person.
Don't feel like you have to get married. Not everyone wants to get married. Whether you cohabit, date but live apart, enter into a civil partnership or a marriage, the most important thing is the quality of your relationship.