How Long Should An Engagement Be?


Marriage may not be as popular as it once was but significant numbers are still deciding to enter in to a legal contract between a man and a woman. It is clear that for many people, matrimony is the greatest sign of love from one to another, but what is decidedly unclear is how long an engagement should last for.

I once got speaking to a chap who had been going out with his girlfriend for ten years and engaged for the last four. Four years, the time that elapses between one Olympic Games and the next. If you find yourself watching two different Men’s Olympic 100 Metre Finals with your fiancé then it may be time for a stock check.

There should be a recognised time limit for an engagement, such as two years. When that time is reached either a date is finally set or the relationship is ended by mutual consent. Everyone shakes hands, calls it a day and moves on to someone else.

A very long engagement merely smacks of delaying tactics and hedging one’s bets. The more materially-minded might insist that a long engagement is necessary to accrue as many items as possible so that once married, you hit the ground running and want for little. This is a nonsense – if you haven’t got enough to get by with after two years you never will. Exchange the rings and get on with it or don’t. Stalling is helping no-one.

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