How Long Do You Want To Date Someone Before Getting Married?

May 30, 2017  |  

My husband and I dated for almost three and a half years before getting engaged, and if you count our “talking” stage, add another 14 months. I was 27 when we started dating, so at that point, I didn’t expect us to be in the dating stage for very long. Even my mom shared similar sentiments when she started making random comments like, “It doesn’t take long for a person in his or her 30s to figure out if their partner is the one.” She said all of that to say, “Hurry up and get married already.”

I never gave my husband a deadline or ultimatum, but I did strike up conversations with him to get his thoughts on marriage. In those conversations, he would mention that our courtship would be somewhat long due to the nature of our long-distance relationship. He thought that since we didn’t spend as much time together, once we finally resided in the same city, we would need additional time to truly get to know each other.

I understood his viewpoint, but didn’t necessarily agree with it. I thought the amount of time spent on the phone getting to know each other and speaking to each other on a deeper level was more valuable than staring at each other on the couch. But he felt like the longer we waited, the better it would be for us. For others that I know though, the dating stage was brief.

My best friend and her husband of nine years got engaged after dating for 10 months. My cousin just got engaged after dating her fiancé for only six months. My best friend and her husband are still happily married. As for my cousin and her fiancé, they seem, from what I can tell, overjoyed.

My best friend was in her mid-20s and my cousin is in her mid-30s, so it’s hard to tell if age was a big factor in the amount of time they spent dating before getting engaged. Either way, they both decided not to waste too much of it.

Two researchers at Emory University studied 3,000 married couples to figure out the factors that play a part in divorce. In their study, they examined wedding size, religious attendance, a partner’s attractiveness, honeymoon and the length of the dating period to get some answers.

According to their research, couples who dated for three years or more before getting engaged were 39 percent less likely to get a divorce. But there are more factors to deciding that you’re ready to get married than just the length of time the couple has spent dating each other. And I think a lot of it has to do with a person’s selflessness and a commitment to actually putting forth the effort to make a marriage work. Both partners have to be ready for that.

My human sexuality college professor once said, “Date a person for all four seasons before getting married.” She further explained that this could help a person really get to know his or her partner. And personally, I would recommend getting to know how the person acts or reacts in various situations, around certain people, etc. Do you two complement each other in all areas? Have you discussed important issues that could affect your lives and future together? How do they spend money? How do they treat their family?

Look at your relationship and really evaluate whether or not you and your partner are ready to take it to the next level. Take your time and do it, regardless of how long you two have been dating, and you might figure things out within months or within years. After all, I know couples who have dated for more than six years, only to get divorced in half that time. You just never know who will make it and who won’t.

Image via Getty 

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