How Long Is Long Enough?

When you know, you know; and there's no need to wait...

That was the sound of a new email on my phone. A former colleague of mine had just gotten engaged and she was sending me the e-vite for the shindig celebrating the love birds. There seems to be something in the water these days because the weddings and engagements just won’t stop…’tis the season to be engaged alright! 

Weddings have always been popular and even more so in these times, when social media is a very active player in the game and people want their weddings to trend on all the popular social media pages. Another novelty though, is that the duration of most relationships which lead to engagements and subsequent lavish weddings seem to be getting shorter and shorter.

This led me to wonder: how long should a couple have been in a romantic relationship before getting engaged/married?

How long should a couple have been in a romantic relationship before getting engaged/married?

In the past couple of months all the engagements/marriages I’ve heard of or attended, are of couples who have not been together for longer than 3 months. Of course, you have the usual whispers suggesting that the bride must probably be with child, reason for the hasty marriage. Meanwhile, others would argue that ‘when you know, you know’, so there’s really no need to wait. 

But come to think of it; when you know, you know, right? So why wait? After all, one never completely knows the other before marriage, as true personalities usually reveal themselves only after the knot has been tied. But then again, why rush in the face of uncertainties; it’s a whole lifetime we are talking about! One of my friends once said to me: “Any amount of time shorter than how long it takes for HIV to establish itself in a person is definitely too soon!” Ha! Fair enough.

Honestly, there’s no scientific formula that ensures the success of a marriage.  I know of a couple who had been together 8 years and once they finally walked down the aisle things went downhill from there until they finally divorced barely 2 years after their wedding. Both of them met different people after the demise of their union, got married soon after, and today, are seemingly very happy in their respective unions. I know of another couple who got hitched after dating for 3 years, and they are happy and thriving as individuals and as a couple. I say all of this to say that, there are thousands of such stories out there, and even more which tell the exact opposite. People get married for several reasons; from somewhat wholesome reasons to pretty kooky and dysfunctional ones like family/societal pressure, social status, money, sex (staunch Christians don’t want the temptation of fornication hovering over them…yep yep yep true story!) and for some ladies, they are just too fascinated by the title MRS SOMEBODY and tend to rush into marriage out of desperation, reason being so and so is married, so why not me?

Any amount of time shorter than how long it takes for HIV to establish itself in a person is definitely too soon.

Personally, I am not a proponent of ‘microwave’ relationships. I just think a relationship should marinate for a while before moving into serious territory like moving in together, having a baby, or getting married/engaged. Yes, there is such a thing as moving too fast.🤷🏾‍♀️  Some folks have been extremely LUCKY to meet their significant other and after dating for just a brief period, have had a very long and harmonious marriage with them — I totally get that. But I still stand by the fact that the more you get to know someone, the better, as marriage is a  lifetime commitment and should not be taken lightly.

Now, even though there may be no fixed amount of time spent with someone before saying you know 100% of that person ( because let’s be honest, some people got some real dark secrets in these streets, and some are just experts at hiding their true character and unsavory tendencies for however long, so this argument could be equally moot), my sentiment remains to give your relationship as much time as possible, because there are some things that only time can reveal. It’s seeing how that person interacts with their friends, family, their work ethic, their relationship with money, their mood swings, what makes them tick, etc. It’s during the ho-hum times, the blah times, the low times, the times when the “cute” things in the beginning have become plain annoying. That is the time you both need to have difficult conversations about your non-negotiables, create an unrivaled friendship, fortify the mutual respect and intimacy between you two, weather a few storms together, and pray to God (or whoever you believe in) that as you grow as individuals and as a couple, you should continue to share the fundamental values that brought you together in the first place no matter the challenges that life might throw at you.

So in conclusion, even though there is no exact time spent together that would guarantee a successful relationship, one thing’s that’s an absolute fact is that age and maturity are key factors in this decision, because dating for 6 months at age 20 and at 29 are two completely different things. So whether you date/court for 3 months or 3 years, marriage is always a different ball game, so it is always best to tread with caution.


If you surrender to the wind you can ride it ... Toni Morrison

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