How Long Should You Date Before You Get Married?

There’s a great discussion going on over in the forums with regard to how long you should date before you get married. I say discussion, because no one is arguing and everyone has his or her own personal experience. I don’t think there is a designated recipe that dictates exactly how long to date prior to getting married.

I’ve known couples that dated for four years, limiting their contact to a couple of evenings out and maybe one evening in for months prior to engagement. I know couples who moved in together after just six months and still others that met somewhere in the middle. My grandparents were married from 1945 until my grandfather’s death in 1971. They dated for six weeks.

My husband’s grandparents were married after World War II after years of correspondence while his grandfather served in the Pacific theater. She had several children from a previous marriage (her former husband abandoned her and their children) and his grandfather was more than happy to become the father figure for his step-children and father to the two children she gave him personally.


The rules for dating seem to have changed since the time of our grandparents. I know very happily married couples that didn’t ‘date’ in the traditional sense of the word. My husband and I started off as friends who enjoyed meals, movies and hanging out. We didn’t ‘date’ until nearly six months after we met and then those dates were similar to what we’d done before.

We lived together for three years before we got married. For more than 11 years we’ve been together and we’ve known each other for 12. In all those years – I can firmly say that our friendship is what we have nurtured and our friendship has helped us cope with the issues that come at us romantically, financially and otherwise.

So How Long Should You Date?

The only people who can answer that question are you and your potential spouse. Lasting relationships can be built in days, some in weeks and others take years. You have to have love, faith, trust and friendship between you and you’ll know when you have those things – no guidebook can tell you that after your first date it will be X number of dates before you should kiss or Y number of dates before kissing becomes cuddling or Z dates before a proposal should be expected.

What do you think? Join the discussion and share with us how long you should date before you get married?

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About Heather Long

Heather Long is 35 years old and currently lives in Wylie, Texas. She has been a freelance writer for six years. Her husband and she met while working together at America Online over ten years ago. They have a beautiful daughter who just turned five years old. She is learning to read and preparing for kindergarten in the fall. An author of more than 300 articles and 500+ web copy pieces, Heather has also written three books as a ghostwriter. Empty Canoe Publishing accepted a novel of her own. A former horse breeder, Heather used to get most of her exercise outside. In late 2004, early 2005 Heather started studying fitness full time in order to get herself back into shape. Heather worked with a personal trainer for six months and works out regularly. She enjoys shaking up her routine and checking out new exercises. Her current favorites are the treadmill (she walks up to 90 minutes daily) and doing yoga for stretching. She also performs strength training two to three times a week. Her goals include performing in a marathon such as the Walk for Breast Cancer Awareness or Team in Training for Lymphoma research. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience through the fitness and marriage blogs.