Experts Say You Should Date This Long Before Getting Married

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

Marriage

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.

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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

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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

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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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