Dating isn’t just a time to fall in love; it’s a time to strengthen friendships.
Everybody knows somebody—or knows somebody who knows somebody—with a story about a couple who got engaged after only dating for a few months, weeks, or even days. That quick jump between dating and marriage can be startling, and it’s not standard. The truth is, there’s no set timeline for how long two people should know each other or date before making the decision to get married—no matter what you’ve heard (in fact, President Thomas S. Monson “dispel[led] one rumor” about this matter).
A subject we often overlook in dating is friendship, shrugging it off when romance seems sufficient. In the article “Dating: A Time to Become Best Friends,” John D. Claybaugh explains that the feeling that we’re right for someone, or that they’re right for us, doesn’t exempt us from needing time to nurture a friendship and prepare for marriage.
Brother Claybaugh says, “Building a strong premarital friendship requires spending sufficient time with each other and finding opportunities for interaction.…Sometimes either one partner or both partners in a dating relationship begin to feel urgency to rush toward marriage before they know anything about each other.…We must not be in a hurry, acting on impulse and emotion alone.”
Brother Claybaugh goes on to discuss several aspects of building a friendship that he and his wife considered while preparing for marriage: time, effort, restraint, and inspiration. None of those items alone can foster a friendship—they’re all equally important. So don’t let others pressure you, making you feel like you should be on a certain timetable, and don’t be in a hurry. Take your time getting to know each other, and focus on your friendship first. Life is going to throw you challenges, and when you’re filing taxes or dealing with health problems, you’re going to want your best friend beside you.
Read John D. Claybaugh’s complete article, “Dating: A Time to Become Best Friends,” to see the rest of his list and to find out how to strengthen your friendship with a significant other.
—Anna Rose Smith, Mormon Insights
FEATURE IMAGE BY HANNAH RODRIGO
Find more insights
Take a look at the Gospel Topics page “Dating and Courtship.”
Read President Thomas S. Monson’s message “Whom Shall I Marry?”