We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community what experience made them realize they were ready to be engaged. Here are some of the incredibly beautiful stories they shared:
1. He went the extra mile to keep her safe during a hurricane.
"I got pregnant with our first child before we were married or even engaged. I was about five months pregnant when Hurricane Irma hit and we had to evacuate. I was scared, but he drove through the night with me and our cat in tow to make sure we were safe. All night long, we talked about our future and about our what-ifs in the event of a worst-case scenario. The fact that he had my best interests — and our unborn child's interests — at heart truly told me it was time. He proposed two weeks later."
2. She became a one-man search party when he went MIA.
"My fiancé recently proposed and he told me when he'd known he was going to do it. A few weeks prior, he’d gone out with his brother and went MIA for over four hours, which scared the shit out of me. I drove around downtown from 1 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. to find him, and got a flat tire in the process. I finally found him and picked him up at 5:30 a.m. He told me he knew it was time because I’d gone through so much that night to take care of him and make sure he was safe."
3. He knew the two of them were enough.
4. They felt totally comfortable discussing the future.
"I knew I was ready to get engaged when he initiated a conversation about marriage and it didn't scare the sh** out of me. He asked about ring sizes and if I expected him to ask my parents for permission first, and it all felt comfortable, natural, and exciting!"
5. She made a terrifying realization.
"I was driving home from work and realized that if my boyfriend or I were to get into an accident and wound up in a coma, we would legally be nothing to each other. I wasn’t okay with that."
6. They started using the w-word.
"I knew we were ready when we stopped using hypotheticals to talk about our future and instead started using words like 'when' and 'we.'"
7. She realized what life could look like without her best friend.
"My boyfriend had started dropping hints about proposing to me about six months into our relationship, and I was pretty straightforward that I just wasn't ready. However, he was eager to get married, and for a fair reason: He would be deployed to Afghanistan as a combat medic in the near future, and he wanted to make sure that I was taken care of if anything happened to him. When I pointed out that having good insurance wasn't exactly the best reason to get married, he blurted out, 'No, but I also don't want to die without being your husband.'
"A few days later, he left for training and couldn't be contacted. His words rang through my head as I found myself suddenly devoid of my best friend and partner. It was a chilling preview of what my life would be if we broke up (or worse), and I hated it. I slowly realized that this man was the love of my life, and the only reason I was saying no to him was because I had been too scared to say yes."
8. He was young, but made a very mature decision.
"I realized I was ready when we had only been dating for three months, but he called my parents at 11 p.m. because I was slipping into a depressive episode, and he was worried and didn’t know what to do. I knew that if he could do that for me at 19 years old after three months of dating, he would be there for me forever. We’ve been married for 17 years and together for 20."
9. They simply couldn't picture life without each other.
"I realized I was ready when we moved in together and got pets, and I couldn’t picture my life without him. He just makes my life so much brighter, and knowing we could cohabitate and still never get sick of each other made me realize I was ready."
10. She knew she could never be sick of her S.O.
11. She was watching TV when it hit her.
"I've always been very independent and had the tendency to run away from commitment. About five months after my significant other and I started dating, I was watching a TV show where two of the main characters broke up. I've never been a super-emotional person, but I started crying. It hit me that I wasn't crying because I was upset about the characters. I was just completely overwhelmed by how devastated I would be if he were to leave me. It really was an eye-opener as to how much he meant to me."
12. One small action turned out to have a huge impact.
"I was going through a tough time — I hated my job, had some family stuff going on, and was drowning in debt. We lived together, and I drunkenly cried myself to sleep one night. I usually take the dog out on the weekends, but the next morning, he let me sleep in, and then woke me up with breakfast in bed. I got this crazy overwhelming feeling that this was the man I was going to marry. We’re now happily married and I still have that absolute feeling that this is the man for me."
13. He reminded her that panic attacks were nothing to be sorry about.
"I had a panic attack for the first time around him, and he just held me and got me through it. I said sorry about a hundred times after, and he just repeatedly told me I had nothing to be sorry for and nothing to be embarrassed about. Since then, I've had countless panic and anxiety attacks around him, and his reaction has always been the same."
14. She saw how much he cared for her grandmother.
"My 90-year-old grandma became ill and was in need of 24-hour care. We had gone to visit her, and I left my boyfriend in the living room with her. When I came back into the room, he was holding her hand while she was asleep in her favorite chair. I knew at that moment, I was ready to marry him. His kindness towards my grandma when she was sick was so touching and showed me how much he loves me and my family."
15. She felt something she had never felt in other relationships.
"I was sitting at work one day and glanced at a picture on my desk of me and my S.O. This feeling of complete peace washed over me, which I’d never felt with previous boyfriends — I was always waiting for the inevitable end. I realized that I had finally found the man I was supposed to spend forever with."
16. He showed support during a difficult miscarriage.
"My husband and I starting dating in college. We had been together for about a year when I accidentally got pregnant. I miscarried before we were able to come to a decision on what steps we wanted to take next. He supported me through the entire ordeal and never gave up on us. I knew that if our relationship could withstand something so traumatic at such a young age, then we would be able to handle anything that life threw at us."
17. He called her beautiful every day.
18. He did the little things without being asked.
"I got a stomach virus and spent the entire night puking. I thought I had finished at 3 a.m., but ended up throwing up in my trash can as soon as I started drifting to sleep. He instantly got up, rubbed my back, and changed the trash without me asking, and without making a big deal out of it. I knew then that I was ready to marry him."
19. She heard him discussing it with his friends.
"I overheard my S.O. telling a group of our friends at a party one night that he knew I was going to be his wife the week he met me. He didn't know I was listening, and at that moment, I knew I wanted to be his wife."
20. He drove across town in an ice storm for her.
"My boyfriend drove across town in an ice storm to make sure I had a snow shovel for the impending snowstorm the next day. I thought that any man that would do that for me was worth keeping. We got engaged six months later."
21. They could just get lost with each other.
"My boyfriend and I arranged to go to dinner one evening. We went out for drinks beforehand, talked, and pushed our dinner time back further and further with each round of drinks. Suddenly, it was 11 p.m, and all the restaurants were closed! We were quite tipsy, so we got a bag of chips to eat on the way home. As we were walking along eating hot chips under the stars and laughing at something ridiculous, I realized that I always wanted to be with this man, who I could talk the night away with."