Dating Before Marriage
How long to date before marriage is a question with multiple answers. Some people have proposed after two weeks of dating and are still going strong forty years later. Then, there are people who dated for several years before they got married and ended up divorcing. With divorce rates being at 50 percent for first-time marriages, and 67 percent for second marriages, it is safe to say that you should think long and hard before walking down the aisle.
Perhaps you have met someone special who has your heart. You knew that this person was amazing from the beginning and it was "love at first sight". Or, maybe this person was someone who you despised initially. After getting to know him or her better, your opinion changed and you fell in love. No matter how your fairy tale is written, there are some things that you should consider before you decide to do 'happily-ever-after'.
Marriage and Commitment
First, remember that marriage is supposed to be a lifelong commitment. When you exchange vows with someone, it should mean something. It is difficult to make solemn promises to someone whom you hardly know. If you have only known the person for a short amount of time, can you truly say that you will be loyal forever? The two of you may be totally non-compatible. In the honeymoon phase, things may seem perfect with all the passion and romance. After a while, the novelty wears off and the two of you will be more comfortable around each other. It is at this time when you both will see your true selves.
The Best Marriages
You also need to meet your lover's family. It has been said that when you marry someone, you also marry that person's family. If your sweetheart has a mother who is overbearing or a father who is a control freak, then you need to know these things. You will have to see these people at holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions. While you may not disqualify someone based on his or her relatives, knowing future in-laws can help you understand your partner better. Difficult in-laws can cause rifts in even the best of marriages.
Give It Time
Finally, give the relationship time to flourish. You want to learn all the little nuances and also see how your lover reacts under pressure. Even though there are no concrete rules about this, some say that dating for at least a year is enough to get a taste of what a person is really like. If your special someone is perfect today, then he or she will be just as wonderful for you in a year or so. It is much easier to break up a dating relationship than it is to go through a divorce. Caution should always be used in any type of contract--including marriage.