I just met a young,
good looking guy, and we want to get married in December. You have been talking
about the importance of sufficient time in establishing a relationship. Would
three to four months be sufficient time for a healthy courtship? Signed, Need To
ANSWER: Certainly not. From the time a couple can say they are seriously
in love to the time of marriage, it should be at least one year. It is
even better when courtship lasts for about two to three years, which
includes an engagement period of about six months to a year. Why do I say at
least a year? Both individuals in a romantic relationship need to know about
each other's personal values, family traditions and rituals along with cultural
differences. I have observed that the best way for this to happen is to allow at
least one year for the relationship. This would permit each individual to know
each other's expectations and practices during birthdays, thanksgiving,
Christmas, summer and winter vacations, etc. One can be as smart as Voltaire or
talkative as Jerry Lewis, but unless these events and rituals are experienced
together before marriage an unwise decision might be made. You might discover irreconcilable
differences too late.
In addition, this time would test the effect of disappointment, tension,
arguments, opposition, sadness and joy, forgiveness, unconditional love and the
onset of uncontrollable desires. Do not cut yourself short of the joys of
courtship. Enjoy the thrills of loving someone before you say "I do."
In other words, one would want some serious questions answered before that final
decision is made. Questions like: "What are some of the social activities
my friend likes to do to entertain himself/herself? Do they seriously conflict
with my own views and practices of social entertainment?" "What are my
friends' family expectation of me? Am I expected to attend every Christmas
dinner, every birthday party, every thanks giving dinner, no matter what?"
"Is my friend comfortable with attending prayer meetings, or is he/she
against church meetings other than Sabbath?" There are many more questions
about finance, family size, etc I can present here but space would not allow it.
Some of these you can only talk about, but there are others you must have the
time to experience together.
Although you have heard of stories of how Dick and Jane met on Wednesday and
two weeks later were walking down the aisle and forty-five years later were
still happily married, these stories are very few and far between. Having too
long a courtship can also be as detrimental (I will discuss this in another
column), this is why I like Mrs. Ellen G. White's remarks concerning this point
found in Adventist Home, page 44, she says, "Make haste
slowly." Dear friend, there is a sober thought I want to leave with you
by Gloria Pitzer: "Marriages may be made in heaven, but a lot of details
have to be worked out here on earth."