There is no concrete rule for how soon is too soon to propose, according to Elizabeth Earnshaw, LMFT, a licensed marriage therapist and co-founder of the premarital counseling service Ours. However, she points to a 2015 study of 3,000 married couples that found waiting at least a year tends to dramatically increase the odds of a successful marriage.
Couples who date for one to two years before getting engaged are 20% less likely to get divorced than those who get engaged in less than a year, according to the study, and couples who’ve been together for three or more years before getting engaged are 39% less likely to get divorced.
In general, Earnshaw recommends at least waiting until the so-called honeymoon stage is over before you propose. That’s because our brain chemistry in this early phase of a relationship can cloud our ability to make rational decisions. “During this stage, couples are often highly influenced by lots of love hormones,” she explains. “These hormones make us more likely to magnify the good and minimize the bad.”
The honeymoon phase tends to last anywhere from about three months to a year, she notes, and is typically marked by feelings of infatuation, passion, and intense emotions. “I always suggest couples move out of the honeymoon phase before getting engaged so they are going in with eyes wide-open.”