How long is too long for an engagement?

Q: How long is too long for an engagement?

A: I would say that it depends on how long you dated before you got engaged. If you’ve dated for two years and now your engaged, I would think the wedding would come pretty soon after the engagement. But if you only dated for three months and then you get engaged, I would think that you ought to be engaged at least a year or maybe even longer; Three months is not enough time to really get to know each other in order to make an intelligent decision about marriage.

I’m saying that it depends on how long you dated before you got engaged and let that be the guideline. The “in love” experiences, which pushes us along and blinds us to the reality many times, has an average life span of two years. So, you ought to know each other at least two years before you get married. Then you have a chance to come down off of the emotional high of being  in love and are able to look in a realistic way at the other aspects of life to see if you have a foundation. However, if you’ve learned each other’s primary love language and your speking it, you will still feel in love.

In conclusion, I think there ought to be significant dating time before you come to the wedding.


Gary Chapman, PhD, is the author of the bestselling 5 Love Languages® series, which has sold more than 8 million worldwide and has been translated into over 40 languages. Dr. Chapman travels the world presenting seminars on marriage, family, and relationships, and his radio programs air on more than 400 stations. He lives in North Carolina with his wife, Karolyn. For more information visit

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