The 5 Steps to Marriage


During a very heated debate with Manny, we found ourselves trying to our damnedest to pin down the order in which people meet, date and marry.

After a couple drinks, some animated arguments, agreeing to disagree, here is what we came up with:

Step #1 – Dating

You’ve announced yourself as being in the market and proceed to meet and mingle with a handful of folks.

Some you see casually, maybe once or twice a month. There are folks you like more as friends than lovers. Others who you like more as lovers than friends. Then there are those in the middle. Dating is about rotation. By the middle of the first date, you can tell whether a person you’re dating or attempting to date is a homie, lover or friend.

I like to call this the Trio. The Trio is comprised of:

  • Person #1 – You really really really like. Normally the one you wish you could lay in the bed with on a Sunday afternoon and do nothing. They’re sexy and a tease. You dangle at the end of their hook.
  • Person #2 – You like them but its a mix of like and a great friendship. You’re not blinded by sexual feelings and get a better sense of who they really are. This is the chill person who lets you move at your own pace.
  • Person #3 – They really really really like you, so much so that they pressure you for some sign of commitment. They can be somewhat jealous. You think they are cool but know you can’t give them what you want.

At some point 2 people in the TRIO always cancel themselves out. Usually its #1 and #3 and when that happens you find yourself with #2 moving into…


Step #2 – Courting


Courting: To try to gain the love or affections of, especially to seek to marry.

The fact that this was voted on as a step (a key step might I add) kinda surprised me.

Unlike women, men feel there is a huge difference between “dating” and “courting” aka “I’m seeing someone”.

At this phase a front runner has been selected and all attention and time goes toward getting to know, impress and hanging out with that person.

Another important factor: Many women don’t allow men to court them. (I’ll be writing about this next week.)

Courting is the foundation. Its crucial to laying out the roles of the relationship and revealing your core beliefs.

By the end of step #2, if you’ve found a match then you’ve moved on to…


Step #3 – Relationship

The start to any relationship is the mutual decision to no longer see other people. It’s this exclusivity that makes a relationship different from steps #1 and #2. Once you’ve made the choice to be a one woman man or one man woman here is where the real fun begins. Relationships should be where two people work on developing into something bigger but sadly for most people, step #3 is the highest level that they’ll ever reach.

“Relationships” get a bad wrap. Most people who say they’re in “relationships” are really in Step #2 masked as a relationship.

When done right, relationships result in…


Step #4 – Engagement

You’ve realized that the person you’ve made it through steps 1-3 is worth holding on to. More importantly you can’t bear to think of them being with anyone else so the natural reaction is to want to lock them down. Depending on how much time and effort was spent on steps 1-3, the duration of the engagement shouldn’t last longer that the time taken to prepare for a wedding and cleaning up any issues lingering from your single-hood (money issues, ex-lovers, commitment issues, etc). If your engagement lasts years, chances are you’ll still mentally and emotionally in step #3 but trying to justify getting married…at some point. Sidenote: I personally don’t believe that an engagement should last years. If you’ve been engaged for as long or longer than you were together but not engaged, you my friend have some thinking to do.


Step #5 – Marriage


Congratulations, you’ve made it.


- SG

(Sorry for the spotty posts…I’m working on some things.)

17 Responses to “The 5 Steps to Marriage”

  1. Hey SG,
    I’d add that communication is the key for all of these stages. Like you said, some ppl consider themselves in a relationship if they are just in the courting or dating stages (and the other partner might totally be making different assumptions). Right now, I feel like i’m “stuck” in the relationship phase. I sometimes feel like if i’m not engaged or married, maybe I should be still dating/courting (even if I do have a serious prospect). But I wouldn’t want to tell him that because I know he wouldn’t agree. And it’s not right to keep it from him. So i’ll just stick to the relationship phase for now. lol

  2. Uhmmm, pretty interesting. Right off the dribble let me say I disagree with your general designations and descriptions of the phases a relationship can go through, but I’m sure there are others who would agree with your designations–so it’s all good, I’m just representing a different view. I do not see any conflict in wanting to be involved in a monogamous relationship and at the same time, have no interest in getting married in the foreseeable future. Having a variety of partners is good through age 20-30, but by then, I hope you’re dating and sexing life is getting more refined; more stable. How about if you’re over 40, divorced and NOT ready for marriage in the next 5 years? Again, 1-3 years of being in a committed relationship is a good thing, as long as both parties are not trying to get married. Assuming you live in separate dwellings, it can easily take 1-3 years to REALLY get to know someone, which is a very reasonable time line, IMO, as long as on day one, both of you know what the other expects in the near term. Not everyone WANTS to wed or have kids: Some ppl have kids early and then need to spend time catching up on their other developmental needs. Some ppl wed early, divorce and then spend time rebuilding their life, reassessing their values, re-learning relationship rules, while striving to find balance. You may have laid out the “ideal” scenario, but we’re living in a place and time where ideals need to be modified, bcuz they don’t fit as easily as they used to.

  3. Knowing the rules of relationships begins with knowing the stages of relationships.Generally,most successful relationships have correctly gone THROUGH THE FOLLOWING STAGES:1.Friendship 2.Dating 3.Courtship 4.Engagement 5.Marriage 6.Sex 7.The Family

  4. @ lovely lady…so how many women do you know who waited until AFTER marriage–to have sex? Bcuaz according to your outline, sex is number 6. And again, that’s a good model, I fully support it–for other ppl. Me, personally, me and my shorty gonna move a few of those elements around. Naming stages in a relationship and then agreeing on what the description MEANS is a MAJOR source of disagreement. You print your info as if it’s universally accepted. Are you for real? Ask five ppl and you’ll get 4 different answers as to what each stage means. U going with Websters definition? Good luck with that. And success is defined by original intent and expectations. If you’re just my bun-bun, that relationship is successful for what it is. If all a couple wants is companionship and sex–that relationship is successful too.

  5. According to the BIBLE GOD tells people to wait till they r married to have sex and that is the correct orderTHAT I GAVE THAT’S THE ORDER THAT IT SURPOSE TO GO and another thing i’m waiting till i am married to have sex and GOD is so proud that i have not givin my body away cause my body is a temple thank u very DAMN MUCH!!!!!!!

  6. i agree that as long as two people are in agreement as to what they want out of the relationship, then there is nothing wrong if marriage is not in the picture. i am a 23 year old female, and right now marriage is not an option. but i also would like to find somebody who i can trust enough to be in a relationship with. so there is nothing wrong with being in a relationship without marriage being a next step. relationships should be about sharing a bond with only one other person, not about marriage. if it gets to that step then thats cool. alot of people mess up a relationship by ending it just because the other person isnt ready for marriage. thats silly. but i do agree with the first 2 steps

  7. lmao @ lovely lady. You sure told ME…..Glad you’re waiting for the ONE God is sending your way. Virginity is admirable and VERY mature and responsible. Good for you. And, BTW, while you’re waiting for the ONE God is sending to you…work on that anger and cussin ish….lol….You’ll be viewed as a better Christian and more mature woman–without the cursing…..

  8. lol….this will spark a convo about hypocrite ass christians….

  9. Great post. @lovely lady…*sigh* You were going somewhere with your first reply only to jack it all up with the second. You sound like and are reinforcing the mistaken but widely held notion that all Christians are uneducated hypocrites…and this is coming from a fellow Christian lady. Check that. Now.

  10. well this is my order…1)Friendship 2) Courting 3)Dating 4)Sex 5)Relationship 6)Engagement 7)Marriage

  11. I always considered dating and courting to be the same thing BUT with the descriptions SG came up with,they’re different.My order would be 1.Friendship 2.Dating 3.Courting 4.Relationship 5.Sex 6.Engagement 7.Marriage. I think sex should be saved until you’re at the point when you’re both sure you want to be monogamous.If you bring sex into the equation before you’re exclusive,it might end up being nothing more than that.Sex.

  12. i actually meant to put dating as #2 and courting as #3. the reason i say sex for me should come before a relationship is because sex for me is a very important aspect of a relationship. if i am in a relationship with somebody and the sex isnt good, then its a problem for me. thats only because im a nympho lol. but i am very selective about who i allow to court and date me. and the sex comes right before the decision to get into a relationship. so that means that the person is on a high level with me already when we decide to have sex…and its very difficult for a guy to get on that level with me. but usually it ends at dating or courting.

  13. Haha.Makes sense to test it out right before you get into a committed relationship.I just wouldn’t during the dating stage.I feel like if you give it up too soon,the relationship might not progress past that stage.

  14. yea you are right about that. kind of a tricky thing to me. but i have been caught in a delimma where i got into the relationship before having sex and the sex was horrible…and i ended up cheating because i didnt want to tell him that it was bad. yea i was wrong. so i had to change that rule up just a little.

  15. I agree with SG’s model and I like how it doesnt have “friends” as a stage. I don’t want to be your friend, I want to be your lover. And from SG’s model I see where I’ve erred in past relationships by wanting to be exclusive too soon. From your model I can exercise options, make the best choice, and enjoy the ride all without secrecy/guilt/regret.

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