“Now when are you two going to get married?”

I counted to three in my head and then reminded myself to notify my face that now would probably be an appropriate time to smile and nod. Per usual, I dodged the question by brushing it off with some pre-packaged joke and managed to duck away from the group unnoticed but certainly not unfazed.

If you’re in a serious dating relationship, you’ve likely found yourself in a similar situation. Whenever the two of you are together, particularly at weddings, you get an elbow nudge for the bouquet toss or a sly smirk about how you two must be next. At first, it’s fun and exciting to dream up the possibility of being together, but the longer you date you might be more likely to find yourself avoiding or altogether dreading the “what’s next” question.

It’s time we do our dating friends a favor and stop asking them when they’re going to get married.

While it seems like a good idea and we genuinely are curious or have their best intentions at heart, we could actually be doing their relationship more harm than we are good. Here are just a few reasons why asking when people are getting married might not be the best solution:

The Pressure’s On

There’s a lot of pressure to figure out what’s next in life. When we’re in high school, we have to know where we’re going to college, then what job we’re going to get, followed by who we’re going to marry and so on and so forth. When we ask our dating friends when they’re getting married, we risk adding pressure to have everything all figured out and we’re ultimately implying that their current relationship status simply isn’t good enough.

Instead of asking what’s next for our dating friends, it might be helpful to support them as they seek out contentment in their relationship. If they’re dating, let’s walk alongside them and encourage them to date well. A lot of people tend to look to the future and jump ahead of themselves, so challenging our dating friends to take their dating relationship one day at a time could be a breath of fresh air.

It’s None of Your Business

If two people know when they’re going to get married, they’ll let you know. Usually, these are called “Save the Dates”, which more than likely will smother your fridge during the months of October and April.

But in all seriousness, if our dating friends knew exactly when they planned on getting married they would probably tell us without us having to ask. If they’re not talking about it with us then it could be because they haven’t discussed it yet as a couple or because, to be quite frank, it’s none of our business. There’s a pretty strong chain of communication when it comes to two people deciding they want to spend the rest of their lives together. Trust the chain of communication and the process and know that when they know they’ll let us know. Dreaming about marriage is fun and exciting so when they’re ready to start talking numbers they’ll approach us. The best things we can do is attentively listen and ask good questions.  

Ask Better Questions

Questions about when are easy to ask because they’re tangible and concrete. It’s much easier to ask about a timeframe than to do the hard and vulnerable work of asking about their actual relationship together. There are so many better questions we could and should be asking our dating friends if we’re willing to be both genuine and thoughtful.

Instead of asking when they’re getting married, we could ask how the other person makes them feel. Do they like themselves when they’re together? Are they a better person as a result of this relationship? Does the other person make them feel cherish, loved, and respected? Do they see any red flags or unhealthy patterns? We do our dating friends a huge favor by facilitating some healthy internal dialogue and helping them process if they want to spend the rest of their lives together by asking solid and thought provoking questions.

Just remember, only you can help prevent marriage anxiety. Before you’re tempted to ask for a wedding date, take a second to think about what’s best for the couple instead of your calendar.