General Guidelines

Usually, it takes longer than just a few months to really get to know someone. It is a good idea to date someone for at least a year before you decide to get engaged, and remain engaged last at least another year before you tie the knot. This way you’ll have time to get to know your significant other even better, and you’ll have enough time to plan the wedding.

What about love at first sight?

A quick engagement might not be the best way to a lasting marriage. In the early stages of meeting someone, you can be blinded by infatuation and mistake this for love. Over time, those warm and fuzzy feelings can wear off and you might realize that you aren’t meant for each other after all. That’s why it’s highly recommended that you take time to really get to know each other. That way you will know that your relationship is meant to last. Some people experience “love at first sight” and decide to get married right away. In some cases the relationship may actually work out, but it could also potentially end in divorce.

How do I know for sure?

When you enter into a marriage you’re entering into the most significant partnership in your life. You need to be certain that you know what you’re getting into and whether your relationship will be able to stand the test of time. You need to know absolutely everything you can about the person you intend to marry before you exchange vows. So, how well do you know your significant other?  You will want to discuss many things with your spouse-to-be before you make your relationship a legally-binding one. Here are some things you may want to consider:

    • How long (or short) do you want the engagement period to be? You both need to agree on this.
    • Are you okay with each other’s morals and values? Are you okay with any compromises you might have to make?
    • Do you get along with each other’s families? Do your families get along?
    • Do you know each other’s friends? Do you get along with them?
    • Are you okay with each other’s religious beliefs?
    • Are there any major culture clashes between your families? Do each of you families approve of the engagement?
    • Are there any skeletons in your closet that would destroy the relationship if they were to be revealed?
    • Do your goals and priorities match up?
    • Do you plan to have children? How will you raise them?
    • Have you ever been married before? If you have, make sure you know what went wrong so you don’t repeat the same mistakes twice!

People are always saying “listen to your heart” and you should, but you need to listen to your head as well. Someone who only listens to their heart may end up marrying someone who treats them badly or who they are not compatible with. A situation like that will not make for a successful marriage. In summary, your engagement probably shouldn’t be shorter than a few months, but shouldn’t extend for years and years. Remember, getting a divorce is a lot harder than breaking an engagement, so make sure you have enough time to test the waters before you take the plunge!