5 Reasons Marriage Engagements Should Be Longer Than One Year

Rant 59

engagementWhen a couple gets engaged, the first thing that happens is the stress. Planning a wedding is incredibly, incredibly stressful, and many might be tempted to just shorten it all and get the wedding over with so they can move on to being married.

Apparently most couples manage to resist this urge. Huffington Post just ran a survey showing that the average length of an engagement is 13 to 18 months. Despite this desire to rush to the altar (believe me, I remember it), most couples do wait. And they are lucky they do.

A short engagement (six months or less) really only makes sense if you have already been with your spouse for a long time and the marriage is just a formality. Otherwise, especially for couples who have been together a year or less, a long engagement -- more than one year -- is very important. Here are five reasons to be engaged for more than one year:

  • You have your whole life to be married: When you are first getting married, you want forever to start RIGHT NOW. But trust me, 10 years into this whole marriage thing, you are married a long, long, long time if you are lucky. There is no reason to rush into it.
  • Weddings are stressful: It takes time to plan a wedding. If you are eloping or having a small wedding, by all means, have a short engagement. But some venues book up two YEARS in advance. So if you have your heart set on it, it's best to wait.
  • Engagements end: Sorry to burst your happiness bubble, but as someone who was engaged two times before the third one stuck, I can tell you that an engagement is hella easier to call off than a marriage. Give it time. Let it settle. Plan together.
  • It's a fun time: You are only engaged for one VERY brief period of your whole life. People are happy for you and loving and excited. It's a special time in anyone's life, so why rush into the marriage portion of the show that will, if you are lucky, last longer than even the unmarried part!
  • You need to know each other: For some people, six months into a relationship, they get engaged. Six months later they get married and then six months later they are pregnant. Eighteen months together is NOT enough time to know you're compatible as partners and parents. It just isn't. I have heard that it takes three full rounds of each season (three years) to get to really know one another. That's a good rule of thumb.

Did you have a short or long engagement? Why or why not?


Image via Maggiejumps/Flickr



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Flori... Floridamom96

You should only be getting engaged because you are ready to be married. If you are ready to be married then get married. Why delay things with a long engagement? My husband and I were married at 19 & 20 after 8 months together. That was almost 19 years ago. I am very grateful to have found him and married him when I did, although sometimes I wish we had gotten together sooner.

Tracys2 Tracys2

We were only engaged for 3-4 months. We had been together for a while before (2 years? I don't remember, we weren't living together or anything, but it was a while), but the reason for the short engagement was that his father requested it, due to his failing health (we would have married 4 months later). He died just over a month after we were married, which surprised everyone but himself. I was so glad we took the challenge!

FYI, if you are not seeking a specific venue or Catholic wedding (with all the classes before), it's not an issue. We paid less than 50% on the reception because we took one of their cancel/unreserved times so close to the date, and the church was fine about it. It was a Friday or Saturday night in May, that just happened not to be booked, and we had several local options. There were actually no issues, not even with the plane flights, hotel, cake, etc, which we booked as soon as we had the date.

jalaz77 jalaz77

1.5 yr engagement cause we were engaged after 7 months. Now my bro and his girl got married a couple months after the ring however they were together for 17yrs. They decided they wanted kids and would make it official. They had their baby a few weeks before their 1yr anniversary. This is all couple dependent really.

nonmember avatar deena

mostly reasonable advice but judgey as usual on the stir. my parents lived together as roommates for 3 months, dated for 3 months, got married and have been together for 39 years. whereas i've seen a close friend who married her high school sweetheart after a 3 year engagement (after being together for 7 years) divorce 9 months after being married...

i don't think there's a tired and true "divorce prevention" guideline as far as engagement length!

miche... micheledo

:D Well, my husband and I dated for six months and were engaged for less then three.

We were both 27 and not interested in even dating if it wasn't someone we would consider marrying. Our dates and phone calls were a lot of fun but loaded with serious discussions about faith, philosophy, family, and such. We knew in two months time and should have had a shorter engagement! I realized two months into the engagement that it was enough time!

Thankfully we are all different and it worked for us (ten years of marriage and pregnant with our sixth!) Couldn't have dreamed up a better marriage.

nonmember avatar tulip

My husband and I got engaged 7 months after we started dating and got married 5 months later...so our entire relationship was the same length of time you say just the engagement should be! We've been married almost 7 years and neither of us as once regretted doing things so fast. I agree with a pp that said that if you're not already ready to get married, don't even get engaged. And why keep getting engaged to people if you're not even going to marry them?

chigi... chigirl1228

I just got engaged over the holidays. My boyfriend and I have been dating for 3 1/2 years. We have been living together for half of that time and have a child together. We decided together to get engaged and the ring is a family heirloom. The engagement will be short i guess by this article lol. We will be getting married in April. That is 4 months. I am pretty sure I know what I am doing since we have done everything from a long distance relationship to living together in a nearly 4 year period. In the military life we have been dating longer than some people's relationship, engagement, and marriage together.

nonmember avatar Brandy

my husband and I met in December of 2010 we were engaged by the end of January and married in May of 2011 and I still love him just as much as i did when i met him :)

mande... manderspanders

My ex husband proposed 4 days after we met... and we waited 2.5 years to get married.  And now he's my ex-husband....and we probably never should have gotten married.

My husband propsed after one year; and we married 8 months later.  This marriage is WORLDS different; far better, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.  He is my best friend and truly my partner - something I'd NEVER experienced before.

So, yea... waiting to get married doesn't mean god damned thing.

irish... irishmama1007

Dh and I were together 3 yrs before we got engaged and lived together most of that time. Our engagement was about 14 months only because the venue we wanted wasn't available until then. In April we will celebrate 8 yrs of marriage. My inlaws married 6 weeks after they met & are coming up on 44 yrs of marriage.

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