It’s true, there are some real horror stories when it comes to stars rushing into engagements and marriages prematurely. Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries were infamously married for just 72 days after marrying eight months into their relationship; and Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee got married four days (literally 96 hours) after meeting, only to split three short years later.
But it's not all doom and gloom. Some of our favourite celeb couples have married in similar time frames: Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky were in a relationship less than ten months before they tied the knot in 2010, and have been together ever since, while George and Amal Clooney wed after six months together, remaining happily married and welcoming twins just last year.
Research seems to indicate that the longer the relationship prior to an engagement, the longer the marriage. According to a survey of recently married couples by Bridebook, most wait around 4.9 years to get married. The average couple live together for 22 months before getting engaged and remain engaged for about 20 more months before actually tying the knot. 89% live with each other in some form before they get married.
A further study by Emory University surveyed over 3,000 people in America who are, or have been, married. Researchers found that, compared to those dating less than a year before the marriage proposal, those dating one to two years had a 20% lower chance of divorcing. This dropped further still to 50% when a couple had been dating three or more years, suggesting that spending a few years together before getting married is a wise idea.
There are, however, flaws with this research – the 'ideal' time frame isn't going to suit everyone. And the study doesn’t take into consideration one’s age; relationships in your early 20s are far different from those you have in your 30s and even more so when you’re in your 40s.
Plus, some couples meet as strangers, whilst others might have known each other for a long (for example, Justin and Hailey have only been dating this time around for a few weeks, but the pair have been friends since 2009). As social psychologist Theresa DiDonato puts it, it’s more accurate to say that couples knowing their partner well at the time they get engaged would reduce the likelihood of divorce, and therefore “the subjective judgement of someone well needn’t correlate with time".
Perhaps our judgement of those getting engaged quickly is because, unlike our parents, millennials are actually waiting much longer to get married. According to a Gallup poll, 20% of Americans aged 18 to 30 are married, compared to 32% of Gen-X and 40% of baby boomers.
The problem with getting engaged too quickly in a relationship is this: how well do you really know someone after such a short period of time? Divorce lawyer and relationship expert Sheela Mackintosh-Stewart believes that time does need to be invested into a relationship in order to get to truly know each other beyond the honeymoon period. "You need to understand what makes them tick and to ascertain if you are fully compatible long term," she explains. "The honeymoon stage is a temporary phase and just as surely as night comes after day, the ‘rose-tinted glasses’ of seeing your partner as someone who is ‘perfect’ will come off, as the humdrum of daily life takes its toll on us all and you see your partner in bad, sad, and angry moods."
However, it’s obvious relationships are idiosyncratic. Mark Twain once said, “Love seems the swiftest, but is the slowest of all growths.” But who’s to say how quickly love can develop from one person to another? Some of our favourite celeb couples have married in short time frames: Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky were in a relationship less than ten months before they tied the knot in 2010, and have been together ever since, while George and Amal Clooney wed after six months together, remaining happily married and welcoming twins just last year.
As Sheela says: "I don’t believe that the length of time you have known each other really dictates whether or not your relationship is eventually successful. Getting married is the easy part – it’s the staying happily married that is the difficult part. It requires commitment, love and refusal to give up through the hard times, which will inevitably hit all relationships."
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