It’s true of any romantic relationship, that there comes a time to step up the game in terms of commitment. Be it the establishment of titles of “boyfriend and girlfriend,” “fiancé,” and even “husband and wife,” these milestones are expected in a natural course of a relationship.

However, sometimes it happens that the couple are not so sure where they stand, or they want to go on to the next level, but one won’t drop the words—this is the case with many situations before the “fiancé” stage.

Proposing is a huge, scary and pressured step for a guy, and even if he may want to do it, he may be scared. You as a woman may be wondering where the problem is. Is it because he doesn’t love you enough? Is he not sure about us anymore? What do I do? Where does he see our relationship going?

Truth is, he probably knows exactly what he wants with you, especially if you’ve been dating for a long time, and perhaps proposing is his next step, it’s just that he’s scared. If this is the case, then he probably needs a bit of subtle convincing and reassurance to take the doubt and worry out of his mind, before he finally asks the question. This is where you come in. There are things you can do to reassure him to take that next step, in a cool and stress free manner.

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Are you sure he’s ready?

This may seem like an obvious question, but many women tend to overlook it and skip straight to the part where he’s supposed to say the words. Truth is, in order for him to say them, he must be ready in the first place. Knowing his readiness is quite simple for a couple who’ve been together for a while. You’ve probably picked up signs and had conversations about marriage here and there, all of which are enough for you to have gathered his level of readiness.

Let him know where you stand

The reason he may be holding back, may be because he’s not sure where you stand on the matter of marriage, and the last thing he wants, is to propose and be rejected. Your job here is to make sure he knows precisely what your take is. You don’t have to say it outright, but if that’s how it works between you, then go ahead. In this situation, the more subtle the hints, the better. Try bringing in conversations about marriage and what you think about it—things like “Did you hear So & So got engaged? What a lucky girl she is!” This way, he’s picking up on the hints and at least he’ll be assured that you’re ready. Now the ball will be in his court.

Are you wife material?

He’s wondered about this over and over, you can be sure of it. If you’ve been in a relationship long enough, he should have an idea if you’re wife material or not.

If you want to prove to him beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’re worthy of the title, start being wife material.

Key here is not to force anything simply because you’re trying to manipulate the impression you’re making, because this will be more detrimental than beneficial to the situation.

Be yourself, but adopt the almost-wife role. Doing things together, helping him solve serious issues, being more involved with his family and friends are some qualities he’s looking for in a future wife.

If you prove to him that you’re capable of being a good wife, you’re pulling him closer to asking the question.

Talk about his fears

Between you and him, make it clear that you understand and emphasize with his fears of taking the commitment to the next level because you probably share the same questions. The biggest doubt going through his mind about whether or not to step up to the next level of commitment is whether he’s good enough and whether he’ll make a good husband that you deserve. These fears are natural, and it’s up to you to share with him that he’s the one and the one you want to spend the rest of your life with.

What it comes down to in getting your guy to propose, is clarifying matters on where you stand, without being too aggressive and pushy because pressure is the last thing he needs. Instead of sitting back and waiting for him to ask the question, become the special woman he won’t want to leave, and his only choice would be to propose and make you his.

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