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It is more important that the process be completed than the time completed. Marital inventories and temperament sorting should be taken at this stage.
These are a wonderful means of finding out which areas you are really in “sync” and where you are apart.
The progress of the Christian dating relationship should be shared so that their objectivity and accountability can be a valuable resource to the couple. Once a couple is satisfied that there is something to take to the next level, the couple should develop a plan in how they can best get to know each other in “real settings” not just in Christian dating situations.
This plan will include such things as spending time around family and close friends to enable each other to see how the other person builds and sustains all relationships. I do not suggest that the couple spend all their time together at this stage.
It is a temptation to do so, but I suggest that it is actually unhealthy for the Christian dating relationship.
It would be especially helpful to take the inventories mentioned above to the counselor for their input. It is very important that the couple receive affirmations from family and friends during this stage.
If they do not (unless there is a good reason), the couple should take the time to listen to the concerns and take steps to ensure that they are embracing and working through them. Once a couple arrives at the point that they “know” that they want to be married and have all the affirmations that they can receive, they can move from the Christian dating stage with confidence into the engagement stage. I do not recommend a prolonged engagement once the couple decides to get married.
Our emotions need to “grow” into this type of deep Christian dating relationship.