Relationships are as diverse as people. Some meet and marry just a few months later, others are together for decades without getting engaged or entering into marriage. There is no hard and fast rule as to when is the right time to get engaged. Each union has its own speed, but of course there are statistics about when most get engaged.
What determines the timing of the engagement?
Most couples get engaged when it is clear to both partners that they want to stay together forever. To achieve this, it is essential for the common goals in life and ideas for the future to be as clearly defined as possible. What are your expectations for your professional development and career? Do you want children and if so, one child, two or more? Do you want to live in a particular place in the future and are you more of a city person or a country person? Can you see yourself buying a home together, or would you prefer to remain flexible in your choice of residence?
The answers to these fundamental questions play a decisive role in shaping the future development of a couple’s life, so when you take the next step and get engaged, these questions should at least be clarified in basic terms.
Not least, a person’s own age determines how long they wait before getting engaged. Very young couples, where neither side knows exactly where the mutual journey is to lead, often wait longer than older couples who already have firm ideas about their future together.
After how many years do couples get engaged on average?
Most statistics measure the time between getting to know each other and the wedding; less data is available on the time of engagement. In Germany in particular, there are hardly any surveys worth mentioning on the subject, but more extensive studies are available from Austria and England.
About three-quarters of all couples, 75%, get engaged 1-3 years after getting to know each other, split equally between 1-2 years and 2-3 years. For as many as 15%, marriage was proposed even in the first year. The remaining 10% waited longer, not including couples who had not previously been engaged at all or who married immediately without an engagement.
Depending on the age of the couple, these periods differed quite significantly. While few Millennials under 35 got engaged within the first 12 months, up to a third of older generations did. Among younger generations, the time they wait before getting engaged is steadily increasing, which is also consistent with the data on how long people wait to get married after getting engaged.
The age at which couples get engaged is also increasing and is currently just under 30 for women and slightly over 30 for men. The trend continues is rising slightly for a variety of reasons, but mainly related to the changing social norms. Just 50 years ago, women were expected to marry by their mid-20s at the latest; with increasing equality and better educational and career opportunities, this view changed fundamentally. Female academics in particular often want to gain a professional foothold before focusing on an engagement, marriage and perhaps children.
The bottom line, therefore, is that the right time is when you feel ready. This decision depends solely on you and your partner, there is no fixed recipe. A relatively late engagement can also have advantages, for example, the engagement ring is often a bit more luxurious for financially established couples than for very young couples.