Last week I asked for your opinions about engagements and betrothals. Is an engagement necessary? What does the Bible have to say on this topic? What benefits do we get from spending some time promised but not married? How long should the wait be, and why?
Several people commented that being engaged gives people time to seriously work through issues they had avoided until then. I agree—and thought of a few more things. Here is what I came up with on this subject.
It helps to realize that for the most part, God is silent on how long this waiting period needs to be. The Bible describes cultural norms that called for a period of time between a betrothal and actually living together. While Paul (who strongly urged believers to stay single for the sake of the Gospel) told the Corinthians that it’s better to marry than to burn with passion (1 Cor. 7:9), there are no instructions on the proper length of engagements (a modern construct) or betrothals.
So what are we to do? In our culture, most people are engaged for some period of time between making a decision to wed and actually making life-long vows. There are definite benefits we gain during this time.