Dating Before Marriage: How Long?

Formidable question, right?

But honestly, there's no magic to it and no definition of what's normal. If you're reading this and wondering what the answer could be because you're about to make what seems to be the greatest decision of your life, then I’ll say - the answer lies within you.

From a decade of years to a couple of weeks or even days of dating, we have birthed many marriages, and while some have long broken up, some are still standing strong (personally deduced from experiences of friends, family members and what's happening around). Though therapists have opined that a year or two is often good enough time to date before getting engaged, there are quite some couples out there who met and fell in love in almost a blink of an eye and are enjoying a healthy marital relationship.

black couple

I probably should reiterate this - there's no magical time frame for dating. The essence of dating is to get to know someone as fully as possible before committing fully to tying the knot. Ultimately, everybody (or almost everybody) wants a lasting happy, successful marriage, and for that to happen, it's important to realize that all couples go through a 'romantic love' phase. This exciting period could be as short as a mere two days or last several months, and then the power struggle or the conflict phase of the relationship sets in. This new period is natural and can probably last forever (bad news!).

But there's good news too! Do you know that conflict in a marriage is not a reflection on whether you're in a marriage that will last? What matters is how we repair these conflicts when they occur. Conflict is inevitable in a successful marriage, but with conscious communication and planning, marriage ties are made stronger.

Important questions to note when considering accepting a proposal - is what you feel towards him deeply rooted in your heart? Can you both accept each others’ flaws without judgment? Are you comfortable around each other? Do you see each other not only as love partners but as best of friends? Do you trust one another? How well do you respect each other's space and individuality?

So here's my point - irrespective of the duration of dating - whether you are engaged, living together or married, if you both stay committed, work on healing your conflicts (don't leave them too long before reparation), engage in healthy communication, your relationship will last for the rest of your life together.

What do you think?