How long should you date your partner before getting married? A big question that I’m sure most humans would love to know the answer to. Yet here’s the thing, there is no secret of the perfect amount of dating time before getting married. It is such an individual and personal life decision that it would never work to have a one-size-fits-all approach.

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So many factors determine whether a couple is “ready” to get married. So, rather than several months or years to wait before popping the question, a couple needs to ensure that they are on the same page before moving forward about all the major life decisions. Ultimately, the determining factors in whether a marriage will work out in the long term are whether the couple shares an aligned vision for their lives, have similar values, are on the same page regarding major life decisions, and are willing to continually put energy into the relationship so that they can grow together.

Before making the big decision ask yourself the questions below, have the big conversations with your partner, and make sure you’re happy with the answers, then release the “shoulds” and societal pressures of the “perfect timing” and trust your decision.

That being said, some general guidelines can be helpful to keep in mind. For example, research has shown that couples who date for at least two years before marriage are less likely to divorce than those who rush into marriage. This makes sense when you think about it – after two years, you’ve had a chance to really get to know each other, and you’ve had some time to work through any issues that may have come up.

But here’s the thing: just because research shows that dating for two years can be beneficial doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for everyone.

What should you do if you’re trying to figure out how long should you date your partner before getting married? Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Make sure you’re both on the same page.

Before you start thinking about timelines, it’s important to ensure that you and your partner are on the same page regarding marriage.

  • Do you both see yourselves getting married in the future?
  • Do you have similar goals and values?

If you’re not on the same page about the big picture, it doesn’t matter how long you date before getting married – the relationship may not work out in the long run.

Don’t rush things.

As I mentioned earlier, research shows that rushing into marriage can increase the likelihood of divorce. While there’s no hard and fast rule about how long you should date before getting married, it’s generally a good idea to take things slow and ensure you’re both ready for the commitment. Jay and I had been together for six years when we got married. After two weeks of meeting, my parents got engaged and have been married for almost 34 years. Case in point that there is no one-size-fits-all.

Communicate openly and honestly.

Communication is critical in any relationship, but it’s essential when you’re trying to figure out if you’re ready for marriage. Make sure you can both communicate openly and honestly about your feelings, concerns, and goals. If you cannot have these conversations, it may be a sign that you’re not ready to get married yet.

Consider your life goals.

Getting married is a big decision, and it’s important to consider how it will impact your life goals. Do you want to have kids? Are you both on the same page about where you want to live and what lifestyle you want? These are all important things to think about before getting married.

Trust your gut.

At the end of the day, you know yourself and your relationship better than anyone else. If you feel you’re not ready for marriage yet, listen to that feeling. Don’t let anyone pressure you into getting married before you’re ready.

Make sure you like the answers to these questions

  • Do we have shared or similar values?
  • Are we on the same page about kids and family?
  • Do we have a shared vision for our life?
  • Am I sexually and physically attracted to them?
  • Why do I want to marry this person?
  • Do I feel ready to get married? Why or why not?
  • Have we experienced conflict and challenge, and how do I feel about how we overcame it?

So, how long should you date your partner before getting married? The answer is different for everyone. But by keeping these tips in mind, you can make sure you’re making the right decision.