Length of time prior to engagement and marriage

CHero asks in the comments:

Soooo….how long should someone do the “boyfriend/girlfriend” thing before a decision to get engaged/be married be? My job’s alright and if I get my act together (and even while I’m still kind of a mess), I haven’t had to ask for hand outs and can support myself (well, I have a roommate I’m not related to. That’s a step in the right direction, yesh?)

I decided that if we’re together for a year, we should definitely be discussing engagement/marriage but I’m basing this off of absolutely nothing.

For me the way I approach things now is with women is that I ask them out on “dates” but then I start vetting them right away in terms of questions to get to know them via contact with text, e-mail, or online conversation. I ask any wide variety of topics including those which I linked in the questions and topics to talk to your prospective spouse article in conjunction with general conversation about life. Masculine behavior and teasing is obviously mixed in with this.

This means that a relationship should always be “progressing” and if it ever is not leading toward engagement or marriage then it would be stagnating. Overall, I think 3-4 months in the minimum period before engagement and should not be longer than 12 months.

I select 3-4 months because people can fake how they are and their attitudes for a few weeks, even up to a month or two. This tends to be normal with most humans: they want to show only an attractive side to the other person. But eventually they will start to show their true personality, and from their true personality you can determine the type of person they are.

I also think that 12 month is the maximum. If you can’t figure out if you want to marry someone within a year then you don’t know who you are and/or you don’t know what you’re looking for. In this case, you should explore all of the passages relating to marriage on the Bible and see if that’s something you want to pursue: Proverbs, 1 Corinthians 7, Ephesians 5, Colossians 3, Titus 2, 1 Peter 3, etc. Likewise, you should read the identity series on this site pre, one, two, three, four, five, six and the mission framework posts — the 19 of the most important posts I believe I’ve written on developing into a masculine Christian. Even distance is no concern now. There are enough ways to get to know a prospective spouse without talking to them in person as I mentioned earlier.

Questions and discussions that are hard and easier to answer especially a mix on feminism, authority, and the like should be mixed in both in “online” and “real life” conversation. This ensures that you can read a woman’s body language to see if they are uncomfortable or potentially skirting around the harder questions when you ask them. However, asserting tough discussions online also allows women to think about them more before answering which is good, especially if she needs to break out her Bible to answer them. I’d rather have a woman know that she needs to look in her Bible for answers (even if it’s a google search of the Bible) than not know what to do and go with her feelings instead. Some of the more sensitive topics should and/or may be discussed with mentors and family present.

Once you’ve decided to be engaged, I think the engagement should be fairly short. Only a 2-4 months as you already know that this relationship is headed toward marriage, and that you both are serious about moving toward marriage. These are my thoughts on this topic.

Wedding and potential rings (not diamond IMO as they depreciate significantly) should be kept at a minimum cost. This will also tell you what type of woman you are dealing with in materialism concerns. The same is true of the holidays like valentine’s day to see what she desires in terms of gifts and presents.

Thus, question to the readers of this blog who are single and seeking a wife: what is the length of time(s) you would consider pre-engagement and post-engagement to marriage?

Any thoughts on any of the other topics that go along with engagement and marriage such as rings, weddings, and relationship concerns?

This entry was posted in Learning godly behavior and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Length of time prior to engagement and marriage

  1. Feminine But Not Feminist says:

    This is a good post.

    As for length of time for an engagement, if you’re Catholic, the Church has about a 6 month length of time that they want you to wait between the engagement and the wedding.

    As for rings, not giving a girl a diamond is a good way to see whether she wants you more than she wants the status/perks of getting married. If she won’t marry you without a diamond, then she doesn’t really want *you* per se. If she is excited to marry you without you giving her a diamond, then you can know that she really does want you.

  2. @ FBNF

    Interesting. Any specific reason for the 6 months?

    Also, are there general guidelines for the Catholic Church prior to engagement that they recommend or is it anything?

  3. Neguy says:

    My view, as I’ve stated elsewhere: six months. If you’re a guy who is an exclusive boyfriend of a woman for longer than that and aren’t having sex, then you’re her beta orbiter. It’s that simple. I also think after getting engaged you should consider a rapid civil ceremony and plan a real “wedding” later if you want. Men and women were simply not designed for long term, non-sexual relationships.

    As I’ve also said, in my personal experience, a commitment to sexual purity by men longer than a nominal amount of time is going to be viewed by a woman (and especially by her Christian friends) as a red flag. They’ll either a) lose the tingles b) assume you aren’t that into her, or c) question whether or not you’re gay. If they are content with a sexless boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, that should be a red flag to you that you’re a beta orbiter.

    Again, I can’t name a single case of a couple under 50 who I can definitively say did not have sex prior to marriage. And by definitive, I’m only requiring a simple claim to that effect by the couple in question. Every Christian couple I know who has made a comment about their pre-marital sexual status admits to pre-marital sex (some even to co-habitation).

    I by no means have an extensive sample, but one would think this would be something people would be telling you about if it were true. If only to encourage you that it can be done. From what I’ve seen, it’s mostly people who did have sex telling you that in order to warn you about the negative consequences in their marriage from having done so. All negative, not positive case studies. Even Mark Driscoll openly admitted he had sex with his wife before marriage.

  4. CHero says:

    This was awesome! Thanks for answering my question! I felt like MAYBE the length depends on the people/situation but then I thought, “Maybe a year would be too long!”.

    After reading this, I feel like I still need to work on myself. I’m worried my sins/weaknesses might get passed down to possible children and if I’m not strong spiritually I can’t help my family properly. I don’t dislike children but I’ve always never wanted children because of that insecurity.

    My longest long-term relationship was seven months. I was “blue pill” at the time but still aware that I was being strung along. She ended it but I remember not feeling so bad about it in the end. Reading this made me realize I wasn’t leading and progressing with questions.

  5. Not sure if you’d like a perspective from a married woman, but I can offer some:

    For the record, I do have a diamond engagement ring. I also have a string of real pearls that was my husband’s wedding gift to me. They are very special to me. I haven’t worn the pearls much due to being in the stage of life in which little hands are tempted to pull them off. The ring is also a huge entertainment for little fingers to twirl it around…and around…and around… It is a small, modest diamond. If the day comes when I become a widow, I plan to sell the diamond and use the money to have the Gregorian Masses offered for my husband’s soul. An alternate situation would be if one of our sons enters the seminary; we will use the diamond to defray the costs of his education in the priesthood. Both of these plans reflect the purpose of our marriage, the first being that we would have children for the greater honor and glory of God, and if He calls one of our sons to the priesthood, then the ring that pledged us to one another so that we could cooperate in God’s creative plan should be used towards God’s service. Our wedding rings are just plain gold bands with our initials and wedding date engraved inside. I think it’s worth that little extra to get them engraved; it means a lot.

    We were engaged fifteen months, which was a mistake of gargantuan proportions. We should have had a much shorter engagement and spared ourselves the family heartache of all the people that had a fit over this and that detail. We were subjected to a great deal of meddling on the part of my immediate family, and at the time I was unable to extract myself from the fear of offending my Mom. I am surprised my husband still was willing to marry me and later on deal with the excruciating experience of me trying to pry myself away from her pervasive influence…it’s a long story. I wrote about my perspective on weddings here at http://momintheshoe.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-expensive-wedding.html

  6. Chad says:

    To answer on Catholic timelines

    The Catholic standard, when followed, is 6-12 months, each, for courtship and then engagement. This is to give enough time for a real relationship to develop, avoid occasions of sin, and not get tied up into the never ending courtship that goes no where and wastes everyone’s time, money, and develop emotional attachment to a relationship that isn’t going to last

  7. Feminine But Not Feminist says:

    @ DS

    Chad pretty much covered it.

    @ Chad

    Thanks! 🙂

  8. Looking Glass says:

    2 years, as the absolute maximum from “Hey, want to chat over Coffee?” to the Wedding night. I’d suggest getting it done within 18 months. 9-12 months should probably be the target. You need enough time to sort out any issues (I know a number of differential nationality marriages, so there are ALWAYS issues to deal with, both personal & legal), but not so much you cause both parties excessive frustration.

    Then again, my brother had a professor that met & married his wife in 6 weeks. At the time (well over a decade ago) they had been married for 35 years. So it can go faster!

  9. stickdude90 says:


    I was a virgin on my wedding night (at age 25). So yes, it can be done, even if it might be very rare.

  10. “As I’ve also said, in my personal experience, a commitment to sexual purity by men longer than a nominal amount of time is going to be viewed by a woman (and especially by her Christian friends) as a red flag.”

    I concur, and that’s more proof that the Church is getting harder and harder to distinguish from the secular world outside her doors.

    Back when I was still looking for a mate, I included the fact that I’d maintained my purity despite several opportunities to piss God off. It’s rather sad to think that that may have scared more women away rather than attract.

  11. Robin Munn says:

    @Chris Dagostino –

    On the other hand, the women that it scared off were ones that you wouldn’t have wanted to marry anyway given their lack of Biblical understanding of sex & marriage. So as a pre-selection filter, it probably worked very well.

    But yes, the widespread lack of said understanding in American churches today is sad, and something we need to remedy somehow.

  12. @ Chris

    Robin Munn is correct.

    From what I’ve experienced talking to women who have been pure themselves or even made a couple mistakes but have received Jesus (for real) they desire purity from you.

    That means it’s basically a red flag on their part that they value a worldly standard over God’s standard.

    If someone is not willing to adhere to the value of God’s standards regarding marriage you don’t want to marry them anyway.

  13. Catherine says:

    I’m glad that you’re discussing this subject. My fiance and I are getting married in a couple of months, and we spent a lot of time trying to figure out when to get engaged, and when to get married. We dated about 7 months before getting engaged, and we’re getting married about a year after he proposed. That is a little longer than would have been ideal for either of us, but we are both very close to finishing our graduate programs and getting ready to move, and this timing worked out better than the fall would have.

    One of my friends viewed marriage and engagement, I think, as relationship milestones. She told me “No, you need to wait at least 3 years.” After talking to her, it sounded more like she had earned her marriage by being in the relationship for a certain period of time. My fiance and I, on the other hand, pretty quickly discussed our goals, our family desires, and our compatibility. After about 7 months we had established that we wanted those things and that our marriage had a religious significance, and that social standing associated with marriage had very little real meaning.

  14. @ Catherine

    Yep, sounds like the timing due to graduate programs is one of the reasons that can be delayed. Then again, I know some that have gotten a civil marriage to live together during graduate program then have the wedding celebration after.

    Glad to hear that you’re not embroiled in what the “world” thinks of marriage.

  15. Pingback: Creme de la Creme | Girls Being Girls

  16. mdavid says:

    I agree with your timelines and methods, DS, except I think it can be faster. An astute man can read a girl fast if he’s outgoing and forthright. If she is too picky for fast marriage, drop her anyway.

    Interesting. Any specific reason for the 6 months?

    Pah. There is no good reason for this, just more churchianity, making things harder for young people. If you look back in Church history, marriage was fast and furious yet there were fewer annullments or divorces. Extending the length of waiting before marriage rarely causes a change of heart anyway, it’s just is an occasion for sin for the couple. Six months? Sheese. We probably have one less kid today because of this stupid idea.

    My fav part of pre-Cana was the priest telling us we a) must see a shrink to see if we were “compatible” and then b) take an NFP course. I told him to pound sand – since we are open to life, why would we need NFP? Was he encouraging us to restrict children? He dropped it.

    The real problem with Chruch marriage today is that 1) there is no baseline religous culture that backs up and supports young people, and 2) men often cannot support a family due to women in the workforce lowering salaries, and 3) the Church won’t preach against feminism and women’s penchent for divorce. But rather than address the real problem with marriage today (that’s hard!), she is offers annulments like candy and sticks a 6 month waiting period in front of kids. In hindsight, I sould have just told the priest we were just going to marry ourselves (valid although ilicit) unless he steped up the timetable.

    Regarding the ring thing: I’m for big ring and small wedding. YMMV. I think the big ring is romantic, but I would drop any woman who wants a big wedding. Fast. That’s danger. How she views marriage…is it you and her…or her and the world? Does she want to marry you, or just get married?

  17. Pingback: Answering questions about engagement | Christianity and the manosphere

  18. Pingback: Barking up the wrong tree | Christianity and the manosphere

  19. Pingback: How long should one wait for marriage | Christianity and the manosphere

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s