Experts Say You Should Date This Long Before Getting Married

How long do you think is too long to wait for a proposal?


Do you ever have moments when you think of an artist and you devote an entire music listening day to nothing but them? Recently, that's what happened when Brandy came to mind. She recently got honored with BMI's President Award and boy does sis deserve it. Brandy has some hits, you hear me? HITS. One song that has always been my favorite was never an official single. It was off of her Full Moon LP and the title is "He Is". If you've never heard it before, click on that hyperlink and let it richly bless you.


Anyway, whenever I listen to that, it makes me think "This is a perfect song for a wedding" and that gets me all sentimental, so then I go to YouTube to watch some Black Love marriage proposals. The three that I happened to watch this time, they each had a moment that stood out to me in particular.

First was Breanna Aponte and Dre Smith who got engaged this time last year. They have, a movement really, called WorthTheeWait because they are remaining abstinent until marriage. Something that Dre said was, "It's funny how God will sometimes give you exactly what you asked for, just to show you it's not what you need." That was in reference to all of the wrong ones that came before his now-fiancee'. And yes, Dre, that will preach.

Next was Mitchell and Chanel. Mitchell proposed this past May and he decided to do a scavenger hunt for his lady. Mitchell told Chanel in a text that since he knew that she loved reality television, the entire day was going to be devoted to providing her with her own reality television experience (aww). He really did provide her with the royal treatment too.

Then there's Lexi Laure and her man David Jose. I think it went down in June or July. David was out here having different people in Lexi's life handing her red roses before he even said a word. And when he did get down on one knee, he said, "I knew from the moment that I met you, and we started praying together every night, that you were the one. 'Cause I know my mom prays for me every day. And, if it wasn't for a woman like that, I don't think I'd be where I'm at today." Whew.

All of the couples are beautiful. They are also on-time reminders that love is real, marriage remains relevant to many people and, when a man is ready, he'll move the ends of the earth to let the woman who he loves and desires know it.

Now here is where I'll tie all of this in. When I heard some of the couples share how long they've been dating, that got me to thinking about some of the articles I've read regarding how long two people should date before they decide to walk down the aisle. I'm not sure if the findings will surprise you or not. But, at the very least, I hope it provides you with some serious food for thought; especially if you've been seeing someone a while and you're wanting things to go to the next level.

What a Christian Married Couple’s Facebook Survey Said


I'll just say, before even getting into what scientific research reveals about this, I've had clients who dated for two years and got a divorce, and also clients who dated for 10 and ended their marriage. The reason why I think it's important to lead with this point is because, although there is good and valid information out here that can apply to all couples, no two people, together, are exactly alike. There are nuances that makes each relationship quite unique. Now, with that said, I do think that if you're currently in a serious relationship—not just in your mind, but the guy you're seeing agrees with you (see "5 Signs That You're In Love (All By Yourself)")—and marriage is what you desire, some of the data here can offer a helpful perspective.

With that said, before getting into what the experts and their research revealed, I think it would be well worth your time to check out the video "How Long Does It Take For A Man To Know?". The married team, Jerry and Tanisha Flowers, are some of my favorite Christian speakers on relationships. Anyway, they conducted a study of their own that consisted of 200 married men. When they asked them how long it took them to know that they had met their wife and, as a result, they started putting steps towards getting married, guess how long they said? A year or under. Less than 12 months, y'all! Oh, there are some gems in that video too:

"A man knows a wife or wife material when he sees it. And a man knows a woman he'll play with and never marry. And a man knows when there's a woman that he can get all of the husband privileges he desires, and he never has to give her his last name."

"There is a difference in the way the 'counterfeit' pursues and the way the 'Godsent' pursues. The Godsent always has a clear destination, but the counterfeit? He doesn't; his is always cloudy. The Godsent is crystal clear about his destination; he's trying to get you to the altar. He's trying to marry you—that's his pursuit. And he's not just saying that with his lips; he's complementing that with his actions…even when you have hiccups, even when you have hard times, that is not going to detour him; he is your Godsent. This means he is sent to you, he is assigned to your life…when I look at God in the Scriptures, I don't see him changing his mind a lot. What God sends you, it is yours. The counterfeit, he has no destination. He may mention marriage, but he has no intentionality, no consistency of getting you to the altar."

Let the collective Church say "Amen!" I have written a few pieces before that pretty much echo their points (see "Why You're Always The One Who Prepares A Man For His Wife", "Why I'll Never Call Someone A 'Boyfriend' Again" and "One Overlooked Yet Obvious Indicator That A Man Is Husband Material"). Plus, most of the husbands that I know said they knew when they had met their one; they also knew that they had to make some quick moves so that they wouldn't lose her.

Something else that the Flowers shared in that video is that data can't be debated. When there is a general consensus that points to one overall point, there is always some relevancy and truth to that. So ladies, if 200 men said that it took only a year to know who their life partner should be, and your man has been dragging his feet since for-e-ver, at least consider sending this article to him because really—short of him being really young, living in another state or trying to complete a certain life goal in order to make the quality of your life with him better…what's the hold up?

What Research Has to Say on the Issue


If what I just shared isn't enough to convince you that a man knowing that you are his queen shouldn't take a billion years (some would say even five), here's a little more meat to chew on. Penn State University once conducted a study called The PAIR Project. Their findings brought them to the conclusion that couples who were together a little over two years (25 months, to be exact) had the highest marriage success rate. By the way, the two years includes dating and engagement. Meanwhile, according to a study of 3,000 couples at Emory University, those who dated for three years or more were around 40 percent less likely to end their marriage than those who knew each other less than a year. Three years of dating. Hmm. Let's keep going.

I also found an article on Psychology Today's website that said two years is a good amount of time to date before making the next step. Meanwhile, an article on The Knot featured Tammy Nelson—a woman who has her PhD, is a licensed relationship therapist, board-certified sexologist and author. What she stated was, "There is no magic time frame when a couple should date before the engagement, but the rule for any happy and successful marriage is to realize this—all couples go through a 'romantic love' phase. This lasts anywhere from 2 days to 26 months, and then the couple will enter into the power struggle or the conflict phase of their relationship." There goes the two-year mark again. Terri Orbuch, another woman who has her PhD and is also an author, basically co-signed on this in another piece on the topic stating, "Studies show that it takes at least 12 to 18 months before the passion and lust decline and you can finally see your partner for who they really are, faults and all." So, she's clocking in at around a year-and-a-half.

OK, so that is still hovering around the two-year mark. It looks to me like, according to the experts, it takes approximately two years to seriously date, experience life with someone and then come to the decision that you want to spend the rest of your lives together (and once you do get engaged, experts say that it shouldn't take more than about 13 months to plan the wedding and jump the broom). Not 10 years. Two years.

So, there you have it. If you're currently in a relationship, you desire to be married, your partner knows that and has expressed the same sentiment, and it's been longer than 24 months (give or take a couple of months)—again, this article might be worth forwarding along to him. Not so much because the two of you have to follow suit with statistical information, but because it's a good idea to see if there is some sort of forward movement in that direction. Because if you're not careful, it's really easy to let another two years go by, then another two years…and chile, then another.

I've read the comment sections enough across all platforms to be confident that you all have something to say about all of this info. So please, sound off—even though plenty of data states that roughly two years is more than enough time to date and officially prepare for marriage, what are your personal thoughts? Is that too much time, too little time or just enough?

Because honestly, if you're dating with a purpose and that purpose is marriage, there should be some sort of time frame and plan involved, right? I think so. Just make sure that "he" does. Does he? How do you know? What has he told you? Better yet, what has he shown you? Time is tickin', so again, all of this is definitely some real and relevant food for thought...right? Indeed.

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

Love Is Patient. But Is Your Relationship Just Wasting Your Time?

5 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Getting Engaged

9 Signs He Might Be The One

Like, Love & In Love: How To Really Know The Differences

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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