How long we should be dating before marriage is a question which many a Christian has pondered over many an hour. Just how long should we date before we marry the person we deem to be our Christian Soul Mate. Surprisingly, the Bible says nothing about this subject. In biblical times, the emphasis was placed more in terms of how much value was attached to the bride.
The Bible also teaches us a pretty good bit about marriage and how we, as Christians, should conduct ourselves. These lessons include the dating period as well as marriage, but as for how long, this is also not covered. We believe there are perfectly good reasons why this is so.
No two couples are the same. What works for some couples may not work for others. There are people who date for a relatively short period of time and just know that they were made for each other. They marry quickly and hopefully do not live to regret their decision. As a general rule, this brief period of dating before marriage runs a higher risk of ending poorly simply because you really cannot learn everything there is to know about someone over a short period of time regardless of how many hours you spend talking.
Another factor that works against short periods of dating before marriage is what we call the trouble factor. The phrase..., “Into each life a little rain must fall” alludes to the fact that people will experience troubles of all kinds. If a couple date for short time and never experience any kind of trouble, they really do not know how they will react to trouble until it finds them. It is far better to know how you will react to trouble before you are married. Trouble can include the following.
Of course, this does not mean that we must date until we have trouble just to see if we can work it out. With any luck, we will not experience the kind of trouble that would test a relationship... but we could. It is just far better going into a marriage knowing that you can work it out rather than knowing that you HAVE to work it out. Your pastor can provide insights of a biblical nature.
People sometimes do the weirdest things when dating, often without realizing it. We want to impress the man or woman looking for the perfect mate so we tend to become what we believe it is that they seek. Very often, we do not realize that we are pretending to be something that we are not until it is too late. The longer that two people are together, even in a dating scenario, the harder it is to continue to pretend. Sooner or later, something happens to cause us to reveal who we really are. Sometimes this can be bad, but often, it is a blessing in disguise. Good or bad, it is far better to know these things about our potential future husband or wife before the marriage has taken place.
In the long run... the longer we date a person before we make the marriage commitment the better off we are. The question is... how long should this timeframe be? The only two people who can answer this question are the two who are dating. There are plenty of people around us that will have an opinion, but ultimately, it is up to you. The best way to know is to give this question to God once it begins to lie heavily on your hearts.
Christian men and Christian women ready for marriage know that they will still be ready for marriage a year from now. When prayer and faith are applied, the Christian man and woman also know when the time is right. Once you reach this stage, set a date for sometime the following year, and continue in your daily walk with the Lord together.
Many Christian couples who feel confident that they were meant to be together will set up counseling sessions with their pastor in preparation for the blessed event. These sessions are designed to prepare the Christian for the many trials and tribulations that could lie ahead so that when tough times do show themselves, the marriage will endure. If your love for each other is strong enough, and if through counseling you learn the tools that you can use when things do not go the way you planned, your marriage should be a lifelong blessing for both of you.