How Long Should You Date Before You Get Married?
How long does it take to determine whether the person you are dating is “the one?” One year? Two years? Three years?
There is no hard and fast rule. There are couples who get married “too soon” and stay together for decades and couples who date for decades and then split up in their first year of marriage. It all really depends on the couple.
Is It Too Soon?
Although there is no set timeline for how long couples should date before getting engaged and married, it is possible to know when it’s too soon.
- How well do you know your spouse and how well do they know you? When people are dating, they try to be the best version of themselves. Before getting married, you should date for as long it takes for the two of you to drop the acts and reveal your true selves to each other. Keep in mind that this could take years even in a committed relationship.
- Is there some substance behind all the feelings? There is nothing wrong with being head over heels with the person you want to marry. However, your decision should not be based purely on your feelings. Feelings change but marriage is forever. It is important to date long enough for the initial “love high” to pass. This way you can make a level-headed decision.
Studies show that couples that date for 1-2 years are 20 percent less likely to get divorced than couples that date for less than a year before getting engaged. This is simply because it takes time to get to know each other well enough for marriage.
Are You Taking Too Long?
If you have been dating for more than three years but none of you, or one of you, is still not ready for marriage, you need to evaluate your relationship.
- Are there red flags? One of the main reasons why people wait to get engaged is because they have seen multiple red flags in the relationship and or in their significant other. Therefore, they keep dating until they have invested so much time in the relationship that it is easier to get married than to break up. Unfortunately, whatever issues they had only get worse after marriage.
- Are you already living together? Couples that live together are usually not in a hurry to marry. They are already “together” so why bother. Unfortunately, living together before marriage is not as beneficial as many would like to think. In fact, it makes the couple 80 percent more likely to divorce than a couple who do not live together before marriage. If you have been dating and living together for years and you still do not feel ready for marriage, it may be time for each of you to get your own place. This will shake up your relationship and force you to decide whether you really want to be together.
Studies show that 2 to 3 years is the sweet spot when it comes to how long couples should date before marriage. However, God has given you the wisdom to decide how long you should date before you get married. As long as you get to know each other well, do not base your decision purely on your feelings and do not ignore red flags, you should be just fine.