When should I get married?


I’ve been dating a beautiful catholic girl for 3 months now (approaching 4) and we’ve really gotten to know each other. I’m already very happy with her, as she is with me. :heart:
I’m fairly close to finishing school and to start work at the company that I hope would be a long-time supporter.

Now my question is, in this day and age, how long should I wait before I propose to her? How much time would it be wise to allow to pass before we get married? Could I propose by Christmastime and be married by late spring/early summer?

I understand that the church wants 6 months time before the wedding so that the marriage isn’t rushed, but I’m talking about overall length of time (from when I first met her to us exchanging rings :)).

Thank you in advance


Well, there are always exceptional couples that do things more quickly and it all works out (and you’ll probably get some stories Fm people here) but on the average…

I think it’s best to wait at least a year after you start dating to get engaged. You both need time to feel comfortable enough with each other that you aren’t trying to be on your best behavior. It’s a good idea to see how each of you handles life when things go right and especially, when things go wrong. After four months you are still in the initial infatuation stage. Now if you’ve known each other before you ever started dating then that time can be factored into the ‘getting to know each other’ time period.

You can and should certainly speak to each other about marriage and what your hopes and dreams are. You’ll want to talk about children and where you want to live. Do you want to be near family? Do you like each other’s families? Are you both willing to live within your financial means without feeling deprived? Does she want a career? Is she content to stay home with the children when they come or does she expect you to adjust your career plans so she can work?

I know it’s probably not what you wanted to hear but I think you might be rushing things a bit if you want to propose at Christmas time.


Right now you feel like wow I’ve met my soulmate, lets get married, I’m in love. But, marriage is very important, and I think maybe you should wait till you’ve been dating for like 3 years. My uncle and aunt dated for 8, although I think that’s a bit long, I’d say around 3 years is perfect. Don’t jump the gun.


Well, I guess I’ll have to determine if we’re average or exceptional? :rolleyes: :thumbsup:

A year sounds like a good solid amount of time, but could 5-7 months be ok? How did the “exceptional” couples realized they didn’t have to wait too long? Does it depend on how harmonous the relationship is to start?

Good points BTW :thumbsup:

We’ve talked all of the above :), she want’s to be a stay at home mom ultimately, but she can work initially until the kids start coming, then for their sake quit her job to help raise them.

What’s so nice about our relationship is that we are in such agreement: politically, traditionally, morally…We’ve already talked a bit in the last 4 months. We see eye to eye on so many essential things.

No, I know it’s still important for me to hear it. How much longer should I wait? When will the “ah! Now’s a good time” thought come to me?

Thanks for the feedback :slight_smile:


It definitely could/should be 3 years, but maybe certain factors could be taken into consideration, like I’m already ready to support a family, or that our relationship is already so harmonous.

1 years feels ok, but 3 is loooooong (for me) :frowning:

In this day and age people should definitely take their time, I agree. Drugs, Alchahol, etc, are big-time problems/issues in marriage discernment. But I’m so lucky, she’s been so blessed to have not have had any of those issues. She’s so unblemished :slight_smile:


6 months to suggest it (not “propose”), another 6 months to feel her out on the idea, meet her family, see if there’s any skeletons in her closet, trot out your family and skeletons (if any). Make sure you know how many kids she’d like, if she’s open to life, how you intend to educate these kids, how she is with money, if she needs to ask her mother every time she does something, etc. This is if you are in the 21-32 age range.

If you’ve been looking for Princess Charming longer than that, and this would be your first marriage, saw off two months from each phase.


I think that age and life experience needs to be factored into this. For example, if you’re 18 and haven’t previously dated, I would suggest that you wait a minimum of 1-1.5 yrs before proposing.

If you’re 50 and have plenty of life experience, I would say that six months would be the minimum for engagement.

For the past month and a half, I’ve been dating a guy that’s a few years younger than me. This is a first - I typically have always felt pulled to those 3-7 years older. This guy goes against all the stereotypes that I had piled up in my mind about younger men. He’s not immature. He’s sweet, he’s a strong Catholic, he seems to be just as busy as I am in church ministries - all of these are wonderful things, and they make him all the more attractive to me. The major drawback to me is that he’s somewhat suffocating. He calls every day. He sends several text messages per day, and sends an occasional email. I’m used to my own space, not used to having someone that I talk to so regularly.

Although I really like him, and have a lot of respect for him, I would flip out if he proposed.

Marriage must be looked at as a sacrament - pray about it, whether she’s the right person for you. Pray for the two of you as a couple, that if it’s God’s will for you to be with her, that He make it clear to you. Then pray that God reveal the right time to you for a proposal. Don’t forget to pray for your girlfriend, too. To me, that is one of the most beautiful things that could be done for me by someone that I’m dating.

My prayers are with you.:signofcross:


Thank you all very much for your contribution, I guess I forgot to mention a coulple details.

We’ve already began to talk very much about what it will be like living together (within marriage) and how life would fair for us. Our upbringing is so similar (strong, devout, ironclad catholics). We agree completely on the teachings of the church. We both agree perfectly on how to raise the children, and we are in our early 20’s! I’m 23, she’s 22.

Now should the length of time be dependent on how harmonious the relationship is? If we don’t even argue because we are in such unanimous thought of mind, and not have any heated discussions, should I have to wait 1.5 to 3 years?

I guess my questions is: If things are going so well, is there a real need to wait that long?


Good points.

So since I’m 23 and I’ve dated once at least, should I wait only .75-1.25 years?

As are mine with you :signofcross:

  1. Finish your school first. :wink:
  2. Get a job after finishing school.
  3. Work at your job for at least one year and save up your money.
  4. See how your relationship goes.
  5. Then see what happens next. :smiley:

3-month dating is too soon to decide if you should get married. There are a whole lot to know about the person.


It will be finished within the school year, and I’ll also continue going to school while I work at the company.

I actually already have my own sole proprietership business doing professional drawings, and right now I’m making more money then I ever had before :wink:

I’ve started to do this some months ago, a definite must.

So far so very good :smiley:

Comming in a year near you, :rolleyes: God willing.

Definitely, I figured that I’d wait a whole 6-9 months before even thinking about it :). I just may be rather surprised at how fast we learn each other and if in fact less time is needed. There must be the other extreme (i.e. too long of a wait)

I like the checklist you composed for me :thumbsup:


Something for you to consider in a few months is going to an Engaged Encounter weekend. While these are typically for those already engaged, many also attend to see exactly how compatible they are and what issues, if any, they need to work on. You learn about marriage as a sacrament, hear talks from married couples, learn how to dialogue with each other, etc.


That’s a neat idea. Do you have any weblinks for me to view?


Marriage is a vocation.

A priest does not become a priest so quickly. He must prepare.

So must you.

Prepare for your vocation.


** What is the sacrament of Matrimony? **

Matrimony is the sacrament by which a baptized man and a baptized woman bind themselves for life in a lawful marriage and receive the grace to discharge their duties.

And God created man to his own image; to the image of God he created him. Male and female he created them. And God blessed them, saying “Increase and multiply, and fill the earth.” (Genesis 1:27-28)

** What are the chief duties of husband and wife in the married state? **

The chief duties of husband and wife in the married state are to be faithful to each other, and to provide in every way for the welfare of the children God may give them.

Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is becoming in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter towards them. (Colossians 3:18-19)

**Why does the bond of the sacrament of Matrimony last until the death of husband or wife? **

The bond of the sacrament of Matrimony lasts until the death of husband or wife because Christ has said: “What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”

A woman is bound as long as her husband is alive, but if her husband dies, she is free. (I Corinthians 7:39)

** What is meant by the unity of the sacrament of Matrimony? **

By the unity of the sacrament of Matrimony is meant that the husband cannot during the life of his wife have another wife, nor the wife during the life of her husband have another husband.

**Why is every true marriage between a baptized man and a baptized woman a sacrament? **

Every true marriage between a baptized man and a baptized woman is a sacrament because Christ Himself raised every marriage of this kind to the dignity of a sacrament.

** Why has the Catholic Church alone the right to make laws regulating the marriages of baptized persons? **

The Catholic Church alone has the right to make laws regulating the marriages of baptized persons because the Church alone has authority over the sacraments and over sacred matters affecting baptized persons.

**What authority has the State regarding the marriages of baptized persons? **

Regarding the marriages of baptized persons, the State has the authority to make laws concerning their effects that are merely civil.

Then he said to them, “Render, therefore, to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21)

** What is necessary to receive the sacrament of Matrimony worthily? **

To receive the sacrament of Matrimony worthily it is necessary to be in the state of grace, to know the duties of married life, and to obey the marriage laws of the Church.

For we are children of the saints, and we must not be joined together like heathens that know not God. (Tobias 8:5)

**In whose presence do the laws of the Church require a Catholic to be married? **

The laws of the Church require a Catholic to be married in the presence of the parish priest, or the bishop of the diocese, or a priest delegated by either of them, and before two witnesses.

What are the chief effects of the sacrament of Matrimony?

The chief effects of the sacrament of Matrimony are: first, an increase of sanctifying grace; second, the special help of God for husband and wife to love each other faithfully, to bear with each other’s faults, and to bring up their children properly.

** What should Catholics do to prepare for a holy and happy marriage? **

To prepare for a holy and happy marriage, Catholics should:

first, pray that God may direct their choice;

second, seek the advice of their parents and confessors;

third, practice the virtues, especially chastity:

fourth, frequently receive the sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist.

Or do you not know that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought at a great price. Glorify God and bear him in your body. (I Corinthians 6:19-20)

How can Catholics best obtain God’s blessing for their marriage?

Catholics can best obtain God’s blessing for their marriage by being married at a Nuptial Mass and by receiving Holy Communion devoutly.

Sara also said, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us; and let us grow old both together in health.” (Tobias 8:10)



Congratulations and good luck! Every situation is different. I suggest that you pray and seek guidance from God, and talk to your Priest and each other.




I knew I was going to marry my husband the minute I met him. We only dated about 7 1/2 months before becoming formally engaged, but we had discussed it after 2 and both agreed that, if everything continued the way it was going, we were definitely going to become engaged and married someday. We were married 1 year and 8 months after we met, and we had been engaged for 1 year and 1 month.

One thing I would consider, though, is that if there is any reason you will have to have a long engagement, wait to get engaged until that has passed. It is better to have a longer courtship and an engagement that is 6 months-1 year. Long engagements are just asking for trouble, IMHO.


I knew I would marry my fiance shortly after we started dating. However, I would never have even considered it if we hadn’t gone through some really bad times first. You don’t know how someone handles stress, bad news, and trying times until you’ve lived through it with them.

We started out long distance. We met at a New Years party, and talked every day for 8 months as just friends. We started dating while I lived in Boston and him in CT. He moved up here, We have dealt with bad jobs, familial issues, health problems and him being shipped out by his company for months on end. We got engaged a month shy of our 3 month anniv. and are waiting for 14 months to get married.

Three months is nothing, people hide stuff for three months, It’s not til it all hits the fan that you can really gauge the mettle of your relationship.


My wife and I got engaged after 8 months of dating, but we had a long engagement of 1.5 years because she was still in school. A lot of people don’t agree with a long engagement, but it worked for us. I felt it was important to show my commitment to her because like many other people had said, I knew she was the one for me almost immediately. I would typically say that someone should be dating a year before engagement, but the length of the engagement can also be taken into consideration.


I think it depends on the maturity of the couple involved, their understanding of the sacrament of marriage and all it entails, and many other factors. I don’t agree with waiting too long for the sake of waiting. We started dating/courting and were engaged 7 months later. We got married 6 months after the engagement. We actually only spent less than 90 days in the same zip code as our relationship was long distance, but that was enough. We did talk, a lot. We discussed our expectations, raising children, read all the Catholic Church documents we could get our hands on about marriage, read books by JPII and other reliable Catholics on marriage, and did all we could to make sure we were the ones for each other. I spoke with several good priests on the matter too. Despite the fact that our visits with each other were usually only a couple of days, and that my husband had been living in his home alone for a couple of years, we never had that “rough first year” of adjusting people often talk about. Probably because my husband is so loving and patient with me :wink: hehe, definitely made for me. We have been married 3 wonderful years and I love married life. We have been blessed with 3 children (the third hasn’t made his appearance yet, but will in a few months:) ). I can’t imagine waiting until now to marry, I think it would have been a terrible idea in our case.

Maybe it would be a good idea for you to start talking with a good orthodox priest when you feel like you are ready for marriage, not necessarily as marriage prep but as guidance to make sure you have covered all bases and are thinking this throughly.


I agree with this. :slight_smile:

My husband and I got engaged after dating for 7 months. He proposed at Thanksgiving, but because we wanted to get married in June (and needed more than 6 months to plan what we wanted) we were engaged for almost 1.5 years.

There is so much good advice in this thread – pray, talk to a priest, talk to your family, talk with her. Just remember that ultimately you will “know” when it’s the right time. :heart: Every couple is different, so don’t let anyone rush you or slow you – you’ll just know. :wink:

God bless! :slight_smile:

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