relationship doesn’t need a timeline. Whether or not a couple chooses to date for a couple of years compared to an entire decade or so on, is unique to each and every couple. There may be a couple in their thirties who never plan on getting married, but choose to stay together. Now, it is becoming more common for people to ditch the idea that getting married in your 20s is the only way to a successful life. Times are changing, and couples are no longer rushing into marriage like young couples in the past.

Whereas the last decade of your life has been spent exploring the many possibilities that life has to offer such as going to school or building a career for yourself, this new decade may take a more romantic route. You might have dabbled in one or two relationships in the past decade, but still haven’t tied the knot. Your 20s were a time for experimentation and establishing long-lasting relationships, so it’s completely okay that you haven’t settled down and said “I do” yet. In fact, it is becoming the norm for young couples.

Leaving your 20s and transitioning into your 30s is a big jump. Entering this new decade of your life comes the expectation to settle down and become serious about your relationship. While there is no definite answer to the question “How long should you date before marriage in your 30s?” this blog will help guide you in establishing a sense of peace before tying the knot.

In this article we’re going to be discussing;

  • Transitioning from your 20s to your 30s
  • Knowing when the time is right to move forward in your relationship
  • How long to date before marriage in your 30s

The Pivotal Transition from 20s to 30s

Your 20s are designed to be a learning experience, so by the time you reach your 30s, you have a better sense of where you’re supposed to be in life. Having spent the past decade experimenting in relationships, all while juggling the expectations of someone in their twenties such as establishing your career and building relationships, you’ve gotten to a point where you know who you are and what you want. This foundation makes being in a relationship a little easier.

Man and woman laughing while taking a picture on the side of the road.
You should feel free to be your authentic self with you partner.

Most people in their thirties have a sense of who they are and what they value. The past decade of their life was spent either getting a degree or heading right into the workforce, all while simultaneously forming relationships. For some, this means both platonic and romantic.

Whether it is dating or soon to be married, by the time you reach your thirties you have a general sense of yourself and what you expect out of a partner. By this time, you have most likely overcome the insecurities that affected a great deal of your self-confidence in your 20s. You feel more secure in your own skin and your place in life, which ultimately helps in knowing how to move forward in your relationship with someone you really care for.

Through the many trials and errors of relationships in the past decade, you’re more emotionally mature enough to take your relationship to the next step: popping the question. This isn’t to say that just because you’re mature means that you’re ready for marriage. The timeline of marriage is different for everyone and two emotionally mature people just might not feel like it’s time.

Man and woman holding hands.
When the time is right, you'll know.

But for those who do, go into the next step of your relationship knowing that marriage works when you’ve found the right person. Don’t rush into a marriage just because you feel like you have to live up to expectations set upon you by society or simply by yourself.

You’ve come to an understanding that you’re ready for something more in your romantic life. You’re now past the stage of self-indulgence and moving into the time in your life when you can learn to grow with your partner. Instead of the possibility of outgrowing a partner in your 20s, you’re more likely to grow with them, as both of you have passed the stage in life where you’re working on finding yourself. You’ve established that you know you want to spend forever with your partner. Now, it’s time to find the new version of yourself, the one who is ready to take the next step with the person you deem your other half.

30 Is the New 20

Once you’re in an established relationship, the time to get married solely depends on the couple and what feels right for them. As you’ve reached this new decade of your life, you may feel pressured to marry as early as possible. This might be due to the expectations that generations before have set for young couples. You might have heard of people marrying in their early 20s and growing up thinking that was what you were going to do. Only to reach 30 and still not be married. But, times are changing and so are the rates of couples marrying young.

Just thirty years ago, the average age of marriage for men was 26 and 23 for women. Now, thirty years later, the statistics have increased by an average of six years for men and 5 years for women.

Once you’ve reached your thirties, you are likely to be in a secure place and have overcome obstacles in your career and past relationships in the previous decade. This means that you’re more than likely to be in a stronger place mentally, knowing your values and how your life so far has worked in maturing personally and emotionally--both key aspects of a healthy relationship.

The average age of Americans getting married is increasing over time, so it’s no wonder that more and more couples are becoming comfortable with the idea of working on themselves first before getting into a serious committed relationship. Within the past thirty years as more and more people are getting married later in life, this leaves room to truly know someone. Someone who has been through past relationships and out the other side knowing what they want out of the relationship in the distant and near future.

Knowing When to Move Forward

Knowing if a person is the right fit for marriage is a key step moving forward in your relationship. Marriage is a commitment and shouldn’t be something that you feel you need to do in order to have a successful, happy relationship.

Man giving a woman a piggyback ride while laughing.
The key to a happy relationship is trust.

So you’re at that point where you are sure that he or she is the one. Now, it’s time to consider the many trials and errors of your relationships in the past decade. It’s good to know why a past relationship didn’t work out and what you got out of it. You grow through your experiences, so knowing your growth makes it easier to go forward in a relationship and not backward.

Dating in your thirties often means that you and your partner have endured many past failed relationships. The same could be said for the majority of other single people you’ve met. This isn’t to say that it isn’t worth the risk of going forward in a relationship at this point in your life. This decision to marry in your thirties might just be the best decision you could make.

You’re not the same person you were one relationship ago. You’ve changed and so have your intentions, so don’t expect to go into marriage thinking that your relationship isn’t going to change. You learn and grow the longer you’re with someone, so it’s important to make sure that you feel that the person you’re dating is the one you want to continue to grow with through the good and bad.

If you feel that you know you want to spend the rest of your life with this person and continue to grow alongside them as you continue to navigate your love for one another, know that you and your partner are in for a long ride together. It’s important to ask questions and make decisions, establishing whether you and your partner are thinking about buying a house or traveling together, or the biggest question of them all, whether you want to have children.

Some people regard their thirties as a time when they need to have kids. As a society, we expect couples to have children immediately after getting married. This is especially true for couples in their thirties as the time to have children is slowly ticking away. So, it’s best to be prepared to know what you want out of this next step in your life before moving forward. The right answer differs from couple to couple and it’s crucial to know that there is no specific timeline to follow when making these big decisions.

Is it Time to Tie the Knot?

There is no right answer to the question, “How long should you date before marriage in your 30s?” Depending on who you ask the answers may differ, but it's simply a matter of what feels right to you. In the end, it’s ultimately up to you and your partner. The most important thing to remember is knowing what feels right for you. That feeling may differ from couple to couple, but having a mutual understanding of what both of you want out of the relationship will only help to guide you in moving towards the next step of your relationship together.

Sep 8, 2023