This is the first of 3 questions, that I will answer from my buddies in Twitterville. @Attorney2be asks:
“How long should you date before getting married?”
The Answer: There is not really an exact timeline, but its moreso about what you’ve learned in the time you’ve been together. For example, if you have been together a year, but still don’t know where he works or what he does, then it’s probably not the best time to discuss getting married. By that same token, if its been 3 months and you know his name, social, his mother’s name (and have met her), you know where he works, his dream and aspirations, then it might be conceivable that this relationship could be nuptial-worthy.
Now, before you get excited about the short time period, let me be clear. You should at least be able to write a short narrative on the person that you’ve been dating exclusively. EXCLUSIVELY. If you’re not dating exclusively, then let’s get that part out of the way, before we start picking our wedding song.
Considering that the main dealbreakers for marriage are money, lifestyle, children and spirituality, it is highly recommended that you’ve had extensive conversations–to the point of resolution–and these might take away. My hope would be that you can explain and have a CLEAR (yes CLEAR) understanding of these issues between to the two of you before you move towards the aisle. For example, I am constantly appauled at the couple’s on Bravo’s Pregnant in Heels, who are about to have their first or even, gasp, their second or third child, and haven’t discussed their differences in religion–or how they want their children to be raised. Are you kidding me. We can’t be a Jewish-Muslim household who haven’t discussed our different spiritual methodologies until now. In fact, we shouldn’t be a Baptist-Pentecostal, Pentecostal-Catholic, or Baptist-Southern Baptist household until we have a clear understanding of our spirituality plays out in each other’s lives.
Bottom line, there should be some tough conversations that happen before we start picking bouquets, colors, or calling the minister (rabbi, pope, etc.) to start our pre-marital counseling classes. These conversations could take 3 months, or 3 years, but I admonish you to have answers to the tough questions, before you answer with a swift, “I do.”
Thanks for your question!