It's up to both of us.

So I was talking to one of my friends a few days ago about engagements and how despite all of the "we're equal, yatta yatta yatta" talk many women give, when it comes to one of the MOST important decisions on our lives, we still think it's up to the guy. And by we, I don't mean all of us. I know there are plenty of couples who let go of the stereotypes and make decisions as a team, but sadly, I don't think that is the norm. In our case, I wasn't about to just sit back and let J. decide my future- nor did he expect me to decide his. Instead, we had a serious discussion about getting engaged, and while we both still wanted some of the "surprise" factor, we had a feasible time line of when we could have the wedding, how long of an engagement we wanted etc so neither one of us was completely oblivious to what was going on/just following blindly.

But like I said, that doesn't seem to be the norm.

More often than not I hear of girls who desperately want to marry their significant others, but instead of expressing that desire to them, they share it with their friends and then "hope" that he will maybe possibly propose this Christmas. Or this Valentine's Day. Or their birthday. Or their anniversary, maybe this Saturday... you get the idea. Maybe J. and I have an uncommon relationship, but I have never understood why- in this day and age- women still feel it is "wrong" to talk to your significant other about marriage.

Here are a few excuses I've heard.

Excuse #1- "I don't want to scare him."

Sweetie, this is an easy one. If he is scared by even the prospect of marrying you, then he isn't the one.

(now, if you've only spoken twice, you don't know his middle name, and you're already picking out wedding dresses, well then maybe you're right. That would scare him. Hell, that would scare me. I'm speaking of the timing being right. You're old enough, have been dating for a decent amount of time-whatever that may mean to you, need to make a life altering decision such as where to live, whether or not to take a job, go to a specific grad/med school, etc. etc.)

Excuse #2- "I want to be surprised"

Kind of valid. Some people do need the candlelit walkway, the rose petals, the hidden photographer in the bushes- but the thing is, he can still do all of that after you two have talked about marriage. Like I said, I knew that J. and I were going to get engaged soon, but had no idea how he was going to do it. But honestly, that doesn't even matter. It's not about the candles and roses- it's about the promise you are making to each other. And that my friend, should not be made in the split second he dropped to his knee. That is a decision that you two should already know the answer to because you've both already discussed the lives you want together- including the tough issues like money, where to live, children, etc. Meg mentioned once that you need to discuss divorce too, and I completely agree. If it is not an option to you, you need to talk about that. Discuss what you would do if you two felt disconnected. Would you go to counseling? Throw in the towel? These are things you should know BEFORE you say "I do."

Excuse #3 "I don't want to issue an ultimatum."

True. Ultimatums are never a good thing. If it has come to ultimatums though, maybe there is a deeper issue at hand. Nothing good comes from forcing someone to do something they don't want to- especially when that something is getting married.

With that said though, it is not an ultimatum to say that you want to spend your life with that person and want to make that promise to them, and want to know that they are on the same page. And being on the same page, also means being on the same time line. If you want to be married within a year, and they are more in the "maybe in 5 years" boat, you have to ask yourself if you are willing to compromise there. You also need to see if THEY are willing to compromise, because marriage is all about the compromises.

Then, if they are still dodging the question, refuse to give a solid answer of yes they want to or no they do not, personally I think you should seriously reflect on why that is. Because like every one of my guy friends have told me- "if a guy wants to be with you, he will." (Remember the movie He's Just Not That Into You?) And like my dad has told me (paraphrasing here) "You either want to marry someone or you don't. Either way, you just know."

And I think that is the major issue here.

Are so many of us women just waiting around in relationships, not talking about it, because we're afraid of the answer we might get? If that's the case, then you already have your answer. This isn't the 1800's. Likelihood, no one is going to show up at your door with a glass slipper that magically fits. And seriously? Would you really run off with someone you didn't know because a shoe fit? No, because that would be silly.

So ladies, let's all stop with the excuses. Decide what you want from life and be honest with one another. And after that, allow your partners to be honest with you- even if it's not what you want to hear. Talking isn't going to ruin the surprise, it won't be an ultimatum (unless you say propose to me tomorrow or I'm gone and really? that's not constructive.), and if they are the right person for you, the idea of sharing their life with you shouldn't scare them.