I would say, getting married as a solution to concupicence is a cheat on both spouses. Both deserve a real friendship based on intellectual, cultural, moral, and emotional bonds...not just someone to keep the bed warm.
Certainly, I am not promoting a "quickie" marriage. I am merely reporting what I know to have happened.
While I don't think getting married to avoid premarital sex is wise, I do believe there's absolutely no set timeframe to date/be engaged/etc before marriage. We are not robots and each person, situation is different. To say it must be long would eliminate those who've been purely plutonic friends for years then date. Should that time as a solid friendship foundation be discounted as they weren't "dating"? I have some friends - interesting story. Bryan was studying to become a priest and mid-way through seminary, realized it wasn't his calling as he wanted to be married too. He left and after a few months, was dating. Anyway, met a woman and within 9-mo they were married. I also know folks who've dated for many years - that has it's own issues such as lack of commitment or I personally believe when it drags out too long, inside the people may know deep down it's not the right person. Anyway - sorry to blab on, but there's no hard and fast rules to this - if there were, I don't think it would solve the high divorce rate or cure any ills.......just my humble opinion
If you are worried about the temptation for illicit sex before you get married you are going to have the same problem once you get married. If you are seriously in danger for falling for the temptation of sex before marriage because you can't wait or restrain yourself that will continue into your marriage. You also are not focusing on loving your future spouse for their own sake, which will also continue into your marriage.
How long? My general belief (based on what I've seen with my friends and reading) is that you can discern well in 3 months if you see each other regularly and have good personal development. After that another 6 months for the engagement, definitely less than a year. Depends on the person, but too long can be worse than too short. If you are going to wait there should be a reason.
don't rush, don't dawdle.
Every relationship will have its own timing, I guess. I do think that taking some time to get to know each other before an engagement takes place is generally a good idea. If you look before you leap, you may avoid unpleasant surprises down the road. Taking too long is also a mistake. If you don't have a firm commitment from each other, life will start to intervene and people move, circumstances change and other people can enter the picture.
I suppose a shorter courtship is more acceptable if someone you have known for a long time becomes a romantic interest (i.e. grew up in the same neighbourhood/town, went to the same school, went to the same church growing up, etc.). In that case, you have already gone through the “get to know each other’s past and their family” phase, and getting closer or becoming re-acquainted with each other’s families is not as big of a leap.
Due to Church requirements for advance notice and pre-Cana courses, the engagement period can be up to a year. The engagement period also provides opportunity to further discernment.
I did a private duty case with an 80+ year old couple.. They met in the 1930's when he (John) attended a birthday party for his friends cousin.. The cousin was engaged to the daughter(Margaret) of his mothers best friend..The party was down in KY.. John and Margaret met and conversed on that Saturday. On Monday he drove down and secretly picked her up.. They made a 54 year marriage out of that elopement..Til the day Margaret died in her sleep.. They only had each other, having had two children stillborn and very little other family. John was an only child and Margaret had one brother.
I've seen people from here meet and get married on a 2nd or 3rd F2F..I know one woman from here that met a man on another site and they married on their first F2F after about a 6 weeks of phone conversations.. On the other hand there are others that never move beyond the dating phase and break up after years of dating..
In IT, we call it 'analysis paralysis'. You can logic and talk the thing to death and never get the project either off the ground or finished once you start.
Someone (it wasn't me...) said that CM was a 'Catholic Debating Site' instead of a "Catholic Dating Site". Do we pay too much time looking for reasons why not rather than reasons why? I know, there are issues to solve (LDR, anyone?), and things like that...but, if we're here to find a companion on this journey, with God, to our salvation...then why in the h-e-double toothpicks do we place so many roadblocks in the way.
I have to state, for the record, that I'm here to interact with like folks, not looking for (and after a year from May, will be impeded from due to diaconate ordination, all things being equal) marriage, but, as one who was putatively married, went thru an annulment, and has lived as a single person since the 80s...well, I see in pastoral circumstances, and have heard, every excuse, mirrored here, as to why NOT approach the sacrament (and there are reasons why not...but they are few and far between) and trust in the Lord's goodness and guidance.
Not minimizing the possibility that there are just some things which you do have to be careful of (abusive partner, substance abuse, criminal activities, etc), which I would counsel the non-involved party to high-tail it in the other direction. But...'he doesn't like it when I _____" or "she says that she wants to do ____" is a sign of inflexibility or rigidity, not one of loving acceptance of a partner.
Donna: that 80+ year couple. They trusted and made it work. As the Lord says "Let your yes mean yes...and your no mean no". If folks are serious, you make it work. Not just for when you're slim, she looks like a model...but when the kids come and are screaming at each other in the den and you're trying to work, you're sweaty from fixing the yard...and the thin grey hair replaces the thick tresses of youth...and the face lines, and things sag and wrinkle. You make it work. Both of you.