Why a Long Engagement Might Be Best for Your Relationship

Engagements are a strange (but hopefully happy!) in-between time in a relationship, and depending on what kind of life you live, they can last anywhere from minutes to years. The sweet spot in your own timeline will depend on you and your relationship, but dating and relationship coach Hunt Ethridge says that when couples give it more than a year before tying the knot, he sees stronger and sturdier marriages in the long run. 

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While that definitely doesn't mean all relationships need a long engagement to succeed, Ethridge says that from his perspective as a relationship coach, it really can't hurt.

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"I recommend taking at minimum a year between engagement and marriage," he notes. "When you have a longer engagement, you can start discussing how you'd like to get married, what each of your thoughts on the ceremony are, what aspects of it are important to you." The rush through wedding planning, he says, can lead to resentment, fear, and annoyance down the line.

To be totally fair, when we say a long engagement "can't hurt," that's not totally true. But Ethridge thinks that if it does hurt, your relationship was hurting anyway.

"It really will only expand flaws that might already exist and might rear their ugly head later," he explains. "Frankly, there's more time for someone to screw it up. Granted, if someone screws it up, maybe you weren't right for each other in the first place."

Ethridge says he likes to think of an engagement as a stage in a relationship, just as much as monogamous dating and marriage are stages before and after. 

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"It's fun to spend some time in each of these areas because each one is different and fun and exciting," he says. "It gives you time to be 'in the moment' without immediately looking towards the future."

In general, Ethridge says he's wary of "wedding fever" and the race to the altar many young couples feel. Taking time to stroll through an engagement generally reduces the stress surrounding wedding planning, and building up a relationship during this stage is usually good in the long run.

So basically, reeeelax. Slow down and take the time to enjoy your engagement as it is -- you'll have many long years of marriage after your wedding, so there's no need to rush through this time before.

 

Image via iStock.com/JenAphotographer; unsplash/Rachael Crowe

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