How long to date before getting married?

When I recently asked that in the Facebook group, one gal said she’d wait at least 3 years before even getting engaged. Plus at least another 2 years before getting married.

Some others said their hearts would just know they’d found the right person, which could happen any time — even a couple of weeks in.

Even then, I strongly encourage couples to wait awhile.

ESPECIALLY if you’ve been hurt before.

Or if you have an especially trusting heart.

As the saying goes in the business world:

“Trust, but verify.”

After all, you could be dating an emotional Jekyll-and-Hyde guy, who doesn’t fully rear his sinister face until you’re far enough down the road.

One of our group members shared about marrying a guy like this. So sad.

When my first wife left me on her birthday in 1994, plunging me into shock that stripped 15 pounds from my frame in the first week, I resolved to be SUPER careful the next time.

It wasn’t like we jumped into marriage, either. We dated for a good couple of years. We were college sweethearts.

So when that next love came much sooner than I expected (she lived in the same apartment building!), I had my guard up.

As our relationship progressed and felt right in my heart, I still saw certain patterns in her and between us that needed addressing before getting married.

So I asked her to come to counseling with me.

She agreed, though reluctantly.

The counselor helped us weigh, in a neutral way, how wise marriage would be and when.

Yes, this sounds vastly less romantic than letting your heart carry you away into a secret love cove in the clouds.

But it works. Having a third party to help you see what you don’t see and decide on timing can be great.

Because, no matter how intuitive you are, you don’t know everything. You don’t know what you don’t know.

So if the guy you’re with refuses to go, that’s a red flag right there.

Exactly how long do I suggest waiting to get engaged?

At least 6 months.

With marriage coming within a year or two of that.

That way, you know your relationship is growing and glowing. Time flies when you’re having fun anyway, right? 😉

Of course, you may be thinking of a long-term happily-married couple you know who got married fast.

Yes, there are some examples out there like that. They only knew each other a few weeks or a couple of months before deciding to tie the knot.

But they’re the exception.

Because countless couples who do that don’t last.

The unknowns start to surface *after* they’ve walked down the aisle. Then they think, “This isn’t the person I married.”

Yes, it is. Unfortunately.

So, when you’re looking to make a lifelong commitment, play it safer than you might otherwise be tempted to.

Your heart will thank you for it later.

What’s been your experience?

Reply to share. I read every message and promise to reply back.

To sharing your life with The One,