After two full years of dating and getting to know each other's family, my husband and I decided it was the right time to take our relationship to the next level. As the wedding day got closer, our nerves took control. Were we making the right decision? Did we need more time? Would our marriage last? Well, 10 years later we are still together. I guess two years of dating before marrying worked out.

However, not all couples are the same way. Some couples wait an extensive amount of time before uniting in marriage. They want to be absolutely certain that they are compatible in every way.

Meanwhile, other couples marry within months of knowing each other. Maybe it's the excitement of a new relationship that leads them down that path. For example, one of my best friends married within five months of knowing the guy. Sixteen years and two children later, they are still going strong.

Sometimes couples are happily married after being together for a short time. And other times couples spend many years dating, get married and then things fall apart. Dating for a longer time doesn't apply to everyone. Every relationship is different.

So the question "how long should you wait before marrying" depends on the following:

Do you know each other?

You are familiar with each other's needs and wants, likes and dislikes. You don't always agree on every decision, but you still show support and love. If you fight, you are both ready to make amends shortly after nor do you stay mad at each other. You know each other so well that neither one is easily offended.

How committed are you both to the relationship?

You have serious discussions about major decisions. For example: when is the right time to start a family of your own, how many kids would you like, or where you are planning on living.

Are you both in love?

The love is genuine and deeply rooted in your heart. You never fall for temptation. Your partner means everything to you. You can see yourself with this person forever. You both accept each other's flaws without judgment.

Are you comfortable around each other?

You can speak freely and be yourself without feeling judged. You make each other laugh. You can tell each other anything. You know he or she is not only your partner, but your best friend.

Do you trust one another?

Your partner leaves the cell phone nearby, but you find no interest in checking incoming or outgoing calls or emails. Nor do you feel the need to spy in any other way especially if your partner joins friends for drinks after work. You both respect each other's space and individuality.

Usually, this takes more than a few months. But if you are seriously in love and committed, things will fall right into place in a matter of time. With true love, you will live a happy marriage.

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