When dating leads to getting engaged, then married, everyone’s timelines are different; while some people date for years before getting engaged, or decide to stay together but not ever get married, others meet, fall in love, and are engaged seemingly overnight. So if you’re wondering when to get engaged, there’s no perfect answer. “There is no one-size-fits-all approach to successful relationships, as what works for one couple could be disastrous for another,” Dr. Jess, host of the
Drive Your Lover Wild video courses and Sex & Relationship Expert PhD, tells Bustle. “I moved in with my husband five days after we met eighteen years ago — and we’re still going strong!” On the other hand, she says that some people wait years before moving in together or getting engaged, and that works for them.
Dr. Jess says the more important factor is not the length of time a couple has been together, but instead, their
motivations for wanting to get married and the quality of their relationship. “Sometimes, we get engaged and marry quickly because we feel pressure related to society, family, pregnancy, or personal timelines,” she says. “I tell all engaged couples to forget about napkin colors and DJs and focus on the relationship; in short, stop planning your marriage and start planning your relationship.”
Dr. Jess adds that
compatibility is the key. “It’s not defined by sameness, but by a willingness to put in a similar amount of work to make the relationship last and thrive,” she says. “If you’re committed to the relationship and you’re willing to put in the effort to meet one another’s needs, you can make a relationship work after a month of dating or after ten years of dating.” That said, the women below are primary examples of getting engaged sooner rather than later — and they’re all still with their partners today. 1 Jan, 60+
“My husband, Fred, proposed to me on December 25th and we were married on December 30th. We had known each other 23 days! I know some of our friends and family who attended our wedding [...] may have been wondering if our marriage would last. Plus, most were even meeting one of us for the first time since we had such a whirlwind courtship and engagement. But, Fred and I defied the odds and we’ve been happily married for more than 34 years. We are blessed to have two grown sons, a grandson, and a second grandson on the way!"
2 Courtney, 42
“I was always apprehensive about paying for an online dating site. Eventually, I gave in — because the free sites were not working for me. I met my husband on eharmony, right after I joined! It took us a couple weeks to actually meet, but it was well worth the wait. (And we’d lived about five minutes apart for years! It was the length of a song — if a song started while I was driving out of my garage, it ended by the time I got to his house.) We were instantly mesmerized by each other.
We were fully committed after our first date and, at three weeks, knew we would be together forever. We moved in together after six months, went ring shopping at seven months, and got engaged at eight months while floating over the Temecula Valley in California during a hot air balloon ride. Every time I think of the chapter of us meeting, my heart bursts with love for my most precious love, my husband!” 3 Kylene, Mid-30s
“My (now) husband and I are a dream team! He is a physical therapist and I am a dietitian. We met by sharing patients at a world-renowned hospital. We went engagement ring shopping two weeks
after our first date. We were engaged in nine months. We will be married five years in August.” 4 Jennifer, 24
“My husband and I knew each other for a little over a year and had been dating for about eight months before we were engaged. We had
talked about getting married about six months into dating, because we both knew that we wanted to make a life commitment to each other. Our engagement was expedited, as we found out we were expecting our daughter around the time we got engaged, and we wanted to be married and move in together before she arrived. However, baby or no baby, it would have remained a short engagement — we knew we wanted to get married and extending the engagement for longer than the time it would take to plan a wedding and go through marriage preparation seemed stupid.” 5 Natalie, 30
“My husband and I were work acquaintances before we were in a relationship. After he left for a new job, we began dating. We were only dating for four months before becoming engaged, and our engagement was two months. This didn’t seem strange to us, as we came from a religious background where this was common. [...] We will be coming up on our eight-year anniversary this July. We are happy as ever, no regrets!”
6 Susan, 50
“I caught him staring at me across the bar at a Salsa club. He asked me to dance. Six months later, we were married. So, we met in September, were engaged by Thanksgiving, and married in March. It’s been 22 years now. We have six children. I felt as if I had a good understanding of what I wanted, at 26 years of age, and honestly expressed that to him. He did want the same things, but still had some issues to work out from his past (which have been problematic).
I cannot say I would recommend such a short engagement for my own daughters, for the reason that there are some issues which seem to arise at different points in a relationship. Some red flags, for instance, are immediately spotted, while others are camouflaged by excitement and hormonal flutter. We have worked hard to keep our family together. Sometimes, it has been tough. It is all about
communicating honestly about our needs and abilities to fulfill each other’s expectations.” 7 Keiara, 30, & Tiffany, 35
“We have been dating since March 2018 and engaged since June 2018 (going on a year of being together and engaged!) — we just had never met anyone who was able to hold the titles of a true friend and lover. Plus, being able to recognize how real the love was, it was definitely an unexplainable feeling for the both of us! When we ‘met,’ we literally spent 30 hours — no break — on FaceTime and our conversation just flowed. We got engaged literally three months after dating and it was definitely a risk for the both of us — it was like, ‘
We’re in love, we’re more than happy, and it’s our LOVE!’
We like to say, ‘Never be afraid to love and be yourself,’ all while always thinking outside the box (which we do every day)! We’re getting married at &Pizza on Pi Day (March 14). It’s our favorite food, so why not be able to celebrate with the one you are in love with the food you’re in love with?"
8 Beenie, 52
“I met my husband over 30 years ago [...]
I knew he was ‘The One’ about a week-and-a-half later. He was a US Army soldier stationed in my hometown. We met on December 22, 1988, he proposed on March 11, 1989, and we were married on May 19, 1998. We would have gotten married sooner, but it took a while to get all the paperwork through the German official channels, as I was German and he was a foreigner.” 9 Holly Beth, 42
“I was married for the second time on January 5, 2019. We met July 6, 2018 and we were engaged September 29, 2018. We knew we were right for each other immediately. Our strong Christian faith was foundational, along with having so much in common, and we found exactly what we had been searching for in each other, especially our strong desire for commitment. We hadn’t dated others for four years prior, because we never saw anything in anyone else that enticed us. We knew the engagement was fast, but we also knew that we found our ‘needle in a haystack’ — we weren’t letting each other go.”
10 Apryl, 49
“My husband and I were married last May after a month-long engagement, and we had only been boyfriend/girlfriend for eight months prior to that. They key is, we’ve known each other for over 30 years and have been best friends for most of that. Through the last several decades, we’ve always been there for each other, the family that we never had. Both of us come from difficult childhoods and unproductive previous relationships. Plus, we knew each other’s former flames and spouses, but never crossed that line, afraid to ruin it; we both just really wanted the other in our lives. Now,
we’re a married couple and it is still surreal in many ways. We both turn 50 this year and wish we would have figured this out back in the 1990s, as we would have avoided a lot of heartache. Oh well — better late than never!” 11 Carol, 69
“The first time he saw me, my now-husband told his best buddy he was going to marry me (at the time, I was the 21st military woman to 200 military men on our base). However, we did not start dating until about a year later (he wanted me to date enough men so that I would realize he was ‘The One’). Then, we dated for about six months before getting engaged.
We got engaged in October, married in March. Our reasons were two-fold. First,
we knew we’d both met ‘The One.’ And, both of us serving in the Air Force when we met and not knowing when we’d each receive orders to anywhere in the world, we felt that if we were going to do it, we’d better do so fairly quickly. Married, we had a 50-50 chance of being stationed together — even when stationed overseas. We were correct. All but one year of our twenty years in the service, we were stationed together. Forty-six years later, we are still married." 12 Shonta, 38
“My husband and I are both military veterans, and we met while we were both stationed in Naples, Italy. We were in engaged two weeks after meeting each other and married four months later. We’ve been married for 14 years now.”
13 Kari, 36
“My husband and I were engaged for two months and three days before making it official. We only dated for six months
before getting engaged, so everything moved very quickly — partly due to both of us being a bit crazy, partly due to him being an Australian and me being an American, and mainly because we’re head-over-heels and wanted to do things our way. We’ll be married two years next month.” 14 Serena, Mid-30s
“My husband, Simon, and I knew each other for a year at the time — we were dating for six months before we got engaged. Four months later, we ran away to Scotland (we are both from Toronto, Canada) to get married, just the two of us. We’ve been married for almost four years (this June), and we do not regret doing it the way we did!”
15 Lisa, 30
“I am German and my husband is American. We met over in Germany when he was stationed there in the Air Force.
We got engaged after five months of dating and married after five more months. Everyone thought we were crazy, but almost seven years later, we are still happily married, have a child, two dogs, and a hamster.” 16 Carolyn, 81
“[...] I’m 81 and my husband is four months younger. We’d both lost mates who died after long, happy marriages, and we’d both nursed our spouses at home. We had known each other around 50 years.
We decided to start dating on April 1, 2016, and got married a year later, to the day (Washington cherry trees in bloom both times!). We got engaged Jan. 2, 2017 and married on April 1, 2017. At 9 a.m., we went to a Catholic chapel, where a Franciscan monk officiated. Then, we went to a country club, where we repeated the ceremony before 90+ guests, with the addition of my female Protestant pastor as co-officiant. Our adult children were our attendants. We were surprised to fall in love with the passion of teenagers. We’re crazy about each other.”
As you can see, every engagement above is different, but they all had one thing in common: Love. They all knew they’d met the right person for them, and that’s what it’s all about.
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