Opinion

Don’t Get Engaged Before You’re Ready

With the recent news that young celebrities are going heavy for the quick engagement, the question has come up as to how soon is too soon to commit? Well if you’re Ariana Grande or Justin Bieber the answer isn’t less than a few weeks in. But for us normals, who don’t have the kind of money to just throw away on divorce lawyers and lavish weddings, what is and isn’t a good choice?

Before we get going it’s worth acknowledging that by no stretch of the imagination is every relationship the same. We’ve all heard the stories of people getting engaged after only 3 months of dating, and spending the rest of their lives together. It happens, and it’s possible. But in a world where divorce isn’t exactly uncommon, is there anything you can do to stop this – and is it related to how long you go before making that commitment?

The answer is kind of, but also not really.

A Penn State University, named the PAIR Project, followed 168 newlywed couples over fourteen years and kept track of how happy and satisfied they were throughout the years. Results showed that couples who had dated an average of twenty-five months before getting married were the happiest in their relationships at the end of the study.

The study also looked at couples who were quicker than this to tie the knot. These couples dated an average of eighteen months and were engaged for half that time. Of those who were quicker to marry, the study showed that the marriages survived to the seven-year mark, but many divorced after that. Ultimately though couples from both groups didn’t make it – just the longer ones ended up on average happier.

Another study from Emory University followed three thousand couples, and found that those who dated three or more years were 39 percent less likely to get divorced than those who dated less than a year. Couples that dated for two years were 20 percent less likely to split.

If we can draw any conclusions it would be that the couples who tended to hold off ended up being the most satisfied in their marriages in the long-term and less likely to divorce. For most relationships waiting to get married means you’re more likely to stay together in the long term, but this isn’t exactly groundbreaking science.

Ultimately this is just the average, and the reason these studies show what we’d all expect is because people who’ve been together longer are more likely out of the “honeymoon phase” of their relationship. This can last as long two years for some couples, or as short as two days. Ultimately as long as your relationship is healthy, you communicate well, and your values are similar, then you should be fine. You won’t be the same person in 10 years as you are now, so as long as you grow with your partner rather than in spite of them – then she’ll be right.

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