Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice.
Well, this might not come as a shock, but there's no definition of what's "normal." Answers can vary from decades of dating to four days (wow! Even though everyone—your parents and extended family members and friends—will have an opinion on the matter, from "You're jumping in too quickly!
" to "It took him way too long to propose—are you sure? Only you can know when you're ready to take the next step.
But as a baseline, Ian Kerner, Ph D, LMFT, licensed psychotherapist, couple's therapist and author of "I've worked with a lot of couples who have strong relationships, and they met and fell in love quickly and really got to know each other's friends and family," Kerner says.
"They got to experience what it's like to live with each other or spend a lot of time with each other, go through some life cycle issues, like the loss of a family member or the loss of a friendship, or going to a wedding or funeral and really getting to see each other in a lot of different contexts and feel like it's a good match. You want to have some problems emerge and see how you deal with problems together.
This lasts anywhere from 2 days to 26 months, and then the couple will enter into the power struggle or the conflict phase of their relationship.
This is natural and probably will last the rest of your marriage, or forever (the bad news).
The good news—with conscious communication and planning, a successful marriage means that conflict is inevitable (it has absolutely no reflection on whether or not you are in a marriage that will last), but how you repair your conflict is much more important.
For me, it's more about the range of experiences that lend themselves to compatibility rather than the amount of time.
Tammy Nelson, Ph D, licensed relationship therapist, board-certified sexologist and author of The New Monogamy and Getting the Sex You Want"Many couples wait until they are ready to have children, or ready to buy a home before they marry," Nelson says.