How Long To Date Before Marriage?

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In many modern cultures, most couples date then live together first before jumping into marriage.

In fact, it’s pretty much the norm nowadays.

In addition to this, you can find a plethora of wisdom about dating everywhere you look.


I can say that there’s one thing I keep close to my heart: the importance of waiting before saying I do.

While I agree that time is gold, I couldn’t agree more with the idea that says couples should only make a move that’s proportional to the pace they’re comfortable with.

The “Perfect” Amount Of Time To Date Before Getting Married

Whirlwind romances are exciting and great and all that. However, you don’t want to make decisions based purely on your feelings.

There are important stages of a relationship and it’s crucial to note that mastering the art of patience in each stage will help your relationship survive and, indeed, thrive.

So is there really a set period of time you should wait for before deciding to walk down the aisle?

I’m sure you’ve grappled with this question as you consider the future of your current relationship.

Last year, wedding planning site bridebook.co.uk conducted a survey with 4000 couples in the UK who tied the knot recently. Here are five of their major findings with respect to marriage timeframes:

  • Couples dated for 17 months before moving in together.
  • Couples lived together for 22 months before getting engaged.
  • Engaged couples were together for 20 months before deciding to marry.
  • The total average time living together before marriage is three and a half years.
  • The average number of serious relationships couples had before marrying is two.

In 2015, Emory University researchers also conducted a study with 3000 married but divorced, and married couples in the US.

There was a lot of interesting information in the study but here are two major highlights:

  • Couples who dated for an average of one to two years had around a 20% lower chance of ending up in divorce court. The likelihood of couples getting divorced decreased by around 50% if they dated for three years or more.
  • The average couple waits almost five years before exchanging vows.

From both studies, one thing is crystal clear: dating your boyfriend for some time before marrying him may increase the chances of your marriage success.

This leads us back to the crucial question: how long you should date before marriage?

Deciding How Long To Date Before Marriage? 5 Rules To Live By

It’s hard to bring up the topic about marriage especially if your boyfriend is yet to propose. However, that doesn’t mean you should just sit pretty and not figure out how long to date before marrying.

1. Focus on quality instead of quantity.

You can be officially dating for a year but the 12 months you’ve spent together may not exactly have been smooth sailing.

On the other hand, you may have been each other’s SO for three months or more but you feel as if you’ve known each other since birth.

Whatever your situation is, rely on the quality of your time together when deciding.

2. Don’t decide until infatuation has faded.

Anita Chlipala, an expert in marriage therapy, advises that it takes about 12 to 18 months before infatuation fades.

For this reason, it pays to wait for at least this long before getting married.

3. Consider the age factor.

They say age is just a number and it’s quite true when it comes to deciding how long to date before marrying.

Younger couples may lack the experience necessary to make major decisions when entering marriage. But that doesn’t mean that older couples are better at navigating such a complex path.

4. Discuss if living together is an option.

Most modern couples move in together before talking about marriage for several reasons.

If you and your boyfriend are considering cohabitation, go for it only if you’re doing it for the right reasons (e.g. spending more time with each other).

Because if you both put your heart into it and your reasons are right, the likelihood of your relationship succeeding is higher than it would be if you’re cohabitating for the wrong reasons (e.g. financial, or to test out if the relationship would work).

5. Marry when you’re ready, not when you’re happy.

Ever sat down to think about why you want to marry your boyfriend? If it’s because you’re happy with him, then you’re in for huge trouble down the line.

Weddings may be magical but marriages are not. You’ll have challenges, one after the other, and it takes more than being happy with your boyfriend to get through them all in one piece.

Because of this, you’ve got to prepare for marriage and all the challenges that come with it. Because once you’re ready, you’ll get through even the darkest days.

Now, regarding personal readiness, just remember that every situation is unique. You may be with him for a few months only but you’re positive that you’re ready to spend the rest of your life with him.

You can also be with your boyfriend for years but you still have doubts inside your heart about marrying him.

Indeed, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. There’s no clear-cut time requirement for how long you should date before marriage.

Keep my advice in mind as you think about your own unique situation. Only you will know when the time is right.

And when it is, you’ll feel it, deep within.

As long as you avoid the above pitfalls, you’ll make the right decision.