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How Long Should You Date Before Marriage?

, and the decision to marry, intrigues me. I was never one of those girls who dreamed about her wedding. Never flipped through bridal magazines and stared longingly at the big white dresses. Not my thing.

But marriage, as a theory and an institution, that’s something I think about. Kinda the way I think about capitalism. Or religion.

Anyway, marriage intrigues me and so my interested was piqued by this post in YourTango, How Long Should You Date Before You Get Married? It mentions a few well-known examples of couples who’ve waited years to marry, and then gives us a laundry list of why people seem to be waiting longer (career, what if someone better comes along…).

But what about that question – how long should you wait? Sure, there’s no one right answer. Although I’ve heard many experts say it should be at least a full year before a couple gets engaged. Some couples meet and marry quickly and then stay together forever. Others date for years before they marry, only to divorce shortly after.  There are no guarantees, it seems.

What do you think?

How Long Should You Date Before Marriage?

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15 to “How Long Should You Date Before Marriage?”

  1. Lena.FM says:

    I know a couple who decided to get married only a few hours after meeting each other. One of the happiest couples I know (been married for at least thirty years – which is not why I am saying they are one of the happiest couples I know, they are one of the happiest couples in addition to being married forever :)

  2. Shannia says:

    I don’t think there is a set period of time. Love can’t be mesured by time. if you’re getting married for the right reasons can it be wrong?

  3. Manisha B says:

    I consider marriage as the next step after being in a relationship…kinda like how education goes, once u finish school, u go to high school, college, university, and so on. So just like education, when your relationship is ready to graduate to the level of Marriage, you should get married. It could be in a few months or ten years.

  4. I think it’s less about time and more about what you’ve seen, heard and gotten through.

    Have you met their family, listened to the aunt with schizophrenia (who’s deaf, among numerous other health issues) eat dinner at thanksgiving and then get sick in the bathroom?

    Have at least one of you been seriously sick (vomit, get the idea) and looked after each other?

    Has at least one of you done something really stupid and douchey and been able to work past it?

    Have you discussed religion, politics, MONEY!, babies, and any non-negotiables?

    Is the sex amazing? Can you talk about it if it ever falters in the amazing department?

    And finally, do you both want the same things out of life?

    Then…then…I think it’s okay to think about marriage.

  5. blueeyes12 says:

    There are multiple steps in a relationship which leads me to believe you should not get engaged until its been a minimum of one year. During a relationship there are many things that don’t even happen until its been 6 months.. 8 months.. etc. such as meeting the family, moving in with each other, etc. therefore I find it impossible to find it okay to get engaged after only, say, 6 months of dating.

  6. just a girl says:

    I really wanted to say there is no minimum, but I just couldn’t because sometimes our first impressions of people are wrong. People who we think are perfect for us…may have some seriously bad hidden flaws. But I guess if you were friends for a while then there is not minimum dating time.

  7. Terry says:

    I met her- I knew. I don’t know how I knew – but I knew. I didn’t believe it- so I waited, I tested it. I saw her again – I still new. I waited – I saw her again – I knew.

    I wasn’t “ready” for it- I didn’t even want a long-term relationship. In fact, I just wanted to be out and about- nothing tying me down.

    In fact, its been one year since we met – kid is due next month (of course, I never thought I was going to have kids).

    I don’t have an answer – and if you would have asked me one year and a day ago I would have said something completely different.

  8. Hi Simone, Well I think in general you should do whatever you feel comfortable with. No judgments! Getting married is an important step. People usually say you should wait from 6 months to 1 year so you can know the other person better. I agree with that but again, there is no rule! You can live with someone for 10 years and still be surprised by the other person’s actions,reactions, or lack of both. You can live with a total stranger for years…or even worse, you can live for years with someone who has no clue of who you are deep inside! I think the difference is that if something goes wrong when your marriage doesn’t work after only few months together you will hear “I told you so” quite a lot. Which I don’t think it should matter anyway.

    Living together is not the same as traveling with your boyfriend; and surprisingly getting married can also be different from living together…

    So here is how I live and breathe LOVE:

    I am here to learn and evolve so don’t give me perfect formulas about how I should live my life because I don’t intend to always do the right thing. Don’t have high expectations about how should I act or react because I will always follow my heart! Don’t try to make me be someone I am not, don’t ask me to be like you are because honestly, I am unique. I don’t know how not to love 100%, I don’t know how to live a convenient lie, I don’t know how to fly with my feet on the ground. I am who I am, but for sure I will not be the same person forever….
    …And to all the loves are still yet to come (or who knows, to the love of my life) here is what I have to say: ” Be not immortal, since it is flame, But be infinite while it lasts…” (Vinicius de Moraes – brazilian writer and poet)

  9. Ann says:

    I don’t think there can really be one way to approach when to get married, since every situation is unique, but in general, I do think that trust and understanding of who a person really is are built over time. If you can get married and build as you go, then it can work to decide quickly, but often, I think that people don’t really know each other and then aren’t able to save what was so valuable to them in the first place. If you really are in love with someone, it seems that it shouldn’t matter how long you have to wait because nothing is going to change the love you have for each other. Rushing into something, for me at least, is often a convenient way to lie to myself.

  10. LadyD says:

    A friend’s mother told us many years ago: “No less than 6 months and no more than 2 years with someone to decide whether you want to marry them or not.” Makes sense to me, especially as you get older, you know more of what you want, and can decide much faster.

  11. MARK says:

    6 years is about right IMO.

  12. Jon says:

    There are some very important things to be figured out before a couple starts thinking seriously about marriage. Among them are how well do they live together; how compatible are they financially (management, etc.), sexually, religiously, politically, etc.; how much do their individual concepts of what marriage is overlap; and on and on.

    To look at any of the things that need to be figured out objectively, the couple is going to need to be over that initial phase of the relationship (assuming it’s a good one) where their brains are pumping out loads of chemical behavior modifiers to make them feel goofy. That can take 6 months to 3 years as it’s been explained to me. Once they’re emotionally stable, then they can start taking an even headed look at all the “compromises” they will have to make in order to make the marriage work and assess whether each is an acceptable cost for what is expected in return from the marriage. Then they need to write it all down in a pre-nuptial agreement so they both know the expectations from the other person.

    So, basically, they need to not be high anymore; they need to communicate openly and plainly about ever aspect of their lives and how they expect those aspects to change or not change and to involve the other person; and they need to protect themselves so that if one person decides to change what they’re going to “contribute” to the marriage after it starts, there’s an equitable “out” for the other person to keep them from suffering in a marriage they won’t be happy in.

  13. arlene says:

    I think the minimum should be a year at least but no more then 2.5 years. So anything between 1.5-2.5 years, but sometimes it depends on where you guys stand in life as far as career wise and age difference and i think you have to feel right and be ready.

  14. Sarella says:

    It’s not about time, it’s when it feels right. When both parties agree, and for the right reasons. When you’re in love, then you should go for it. It’s not about time.

  15. Monalisa says:

    Dear all,

    I have a guy who has been a friend to me for a year and now we are dating. We are not thinking about marriage even if he briefed me about it once a time. All that I belive time will tell but am sure from now it can be 1 and a half year for him to settle. So the right time to marriage is when love+ability to take responsibility = marriage that is full of happiness.