The purpose of dating is to find the right person with whom we want to spend the rest of our lives. Dating gives you a chance to know your partner well and see if you are compatible. It allows you to know if you can accept the other person the way they are or find someone else.
And when two people get married, they become one and vow to stay together; for better or worse, sickness and health till death do them part. Therefore, one has to be completely that this is the person they want to marry.
So how long a couple should date before getting married?
The truth is, there's no specific definition of what's "normal" when it comes to the question of 'how long should you date before getting married?' From friends to family members and even colleagues, almost everyone will have an opinion on the subject.
Julie Spira, an online dating expert and digital matchmaker says: "There are some couples who know on the first date that they've found the one and get engaged quickly, while others take the time to get to know someone well before putting a ring on it."
Most relationship experts will recommend about 25 months of dating. They say that during this period of time, the couple gets ample time to know each other, know if the other person is totally committed to the relationship, how comfortable they are around each other, if they trust each other, and most importantly if they are in love.
Research by Emory University found out that couples who'd been together for at least three years before getting engaged were less likely (39 per cent) to get divorced than couples who got engaged within the first year of dating.
"Everyone puts their best foot forward during the courting stage, which is typically the first three months of the relationship.
"When your relationship is brand new, you haven't gone through the bumps on the road together, traveled on vacation together, or gone through a traumatic event such as the death of a family member or loss of a job," says Julia Spira.
Relationship expert and the author of My Husband Won't Have Sex With Me, Dawn Michael, agrees that couples should take their time to know each other before marriage as it adds to a lasting relationship.
"Each couple is different depending on age and circumstances, but a reasonable amount of time to be engaged is one to three years," says Dawn Michael.
Simply because a couple isn't married yet, doesn't mean they are not creating a life together. In the modern world, it's common to find couples living together as it's becoming socially acceptable.
So, does living together before marriage help a couple have a long-lasting relationship?
According to findings from a survey by Pew Research Centre in 2019, couples who lived together had a better chance of a successful marriage compared to those who did not cohabit.
Marriage and family therapist, Rebecca Hendrix, opines that moving in together is a personal choice. However, she advises that a couple should spend some time living together to establish how they are around each other and, more so, how they resolve a conflict.
"A successful marriage requires a lot of work, and it's like driving a car—you need two hands on the wheel. If one person stops driving, the car will veer off the road. It's not easy to just walk away once you're married, so it's extremely important to be able to resolve conflict in a way that's sustainable," says Hendrix.
I have seen couples who got married after months of dating, and they've remained married for a long time. On the other hand, I have seen couples who got married after five years of dating and still got divorced. Does this mean that the period of dating doesn't really matter as long as the couple loves each other?
If you wonder if it's too soon to start talking about marriage with your significant other, think about all the experiences you've shared, and the memories created.
Have you seen your partner at his lowest and vice versa? Do you know your partner's strengths and flaws? Have you had enough time to learn about his background and family? These are some of the questions you should ask yourself before making the decision to get married.