It’s hard to pinpoint an exact number of months you should date before deciding to get married. Speaking from my experience, I believe a Christian couple should date for at least two years before getting married and this is why:
The first six months focus on friendship. For the second six to eight-month period, couples identify what they believe in compared and contrasted with each other’s beliefs. The final phase is spent going through premarital counseling as they continue having marriage conversations.
Here are the best resources that go hand in hand with this guide. (Available on Amazon--Start a 30-day free trial here)
- Preparing for Marriage Couples Guide
- Preparing for Marriage Leaders Guide
- The Meaning of Marriage-Timothy Keller
- Devotions for Engaged Couples- Gary Thomas
Not sure where to start with a premarital counseling conversation, start here.
Check out this premarital question to consider before you say I do.
Here is the dating timeline breakdown:
First Six Months- Build Friendship
The first six months are an opportunity to cultivate your friendship and get to know each other without the pressure of marriage. It’s important that you feel confident in your future husband or wife- as you go through this process.
The reason why friendship is important is that it helps you develop a better understanding of each other’s needs, desires, personalities, and expectations.
Additionally, couples that spend time getting to know one another find out early on if they are compatible or not. After the first six months, you will have a better understanding of your partner’s personality and lifestyle. You will also be able to see how they interact with other people, including family members or friends that you have come in contact with!
It is important for a Christian couple who are considering marriage to date long enough so that they can truly know their mate before making the commitment.
Second Six Months- Explore Each Others Beliefs and Worldviews
The second six months is your time to explore the Christian faith together and see what it means for you as a couple.
While this part of dating can seem daunting, it is actually one of the most important parts! Getting to know how someone thinks and believes is very important in shaping your life together.
You may be asking yourself “why is it important for Christians to date long enough so they can find out about their partner’s beliefs and faith?” The truth is, some people are Christian in name only! They might not actually believe Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead- or that he was God’s son! You should know exactly what you’re getting into with someone before committing to marry them.
In this process, you can discuss scripture, pray together meet other believes, get to see and hear how they treat other people. You will also be able to see if they are willing to take time out of their day and make Christian sacrifices.
Next Six to Eight Months-Consider Premarital Counseling
The last six to eight months should be focused on premarital counseling! It’s a great way to learn from each other, strengthen your relationship, and prepare you for married life together- all while reducing the likelihood of divorce in your future marriage!
In this process, you focus on exploring expectations, finances, communication styles, sexual values, and roles. You may find that some couples have different views about these things but it helps them understand how they might work through conflict when those differences arise. I also recommend couples take time to reflect on what Christian marriage is and how Christians should treat their spouses.
It’s important to think about finances during this process- because you can talk about expectations, but it helps if you know the truth of your financial situation! You need to be honest with each other in order for there not to be any surprises down the road when one person may have a higher salary than another.
Some people prefer an informal meeting while others like having counseling sessions professionally done by someone else who specializes in Christian relationships…there are many ways that counselors meet the needs of every couple!
These last six months will also allow both parties to explore different communication styles and learn more about each other before they commit themselves fully to marriage.
This is our opinion consider sharing with your partner and find the best timeline that works for you. Remember to prepare well before getting married, it wills ave you a lot of pain.
If you wish to read a book to help you prepare these are three books we recommend you can find on Amazon.