How Long Should Relationships Last Before Marriage?
If you’ve ever been in a long term relationship, surely the thought of marriage has crossed your mind. But Marriage is the most important, ultimate step in a relationship. Marriage is a commitment to somebody forever, and a commitment to starting a family with that person (if you’re in that age bracket).
But how long should you wait before you make the decision to get married?
It’s mainly a question of commitment to your partner. To most men, commitment is seen as something that requires a long of thought and creates a lot of procrastination. Many movies and sitcoms discuss how men do not want to commit, even if they love somebody with all of their heart. To women, commitment is a sign that her man only want her and her forever.
As men are the ones who ask the big question (unless you are a woman who believes that women can ask for marriage on the 29th of February every leap year) marriages can be postponed until the man feels comfortable. Men are typically polygamous, and like to “sow their oats” with lots of women before picking one forever, which makes the decision to marry hard. This is true when you look at men who go out for bucks nights just before they get married, when they have that one last hoorah at being single.
Religion, in the old days, used to dictate to society that marriage was only acceptable before having children, let alone having sex. Women who had children before marriage were often put out as outcasts of society. There was a time when these women were coerced into giving up these children up for adoption by government agencies and other groups, and had to resist strongly to keep their little bundle of joy.
Then of course there’s peer pressure. In the old days (and still occurring somewhat today) peer pressure makes an influence on couples decisions to get married. What will happen is all these people would frown upon their relationship that go on for years without a marriage occurring, provoked more if there were children created in the relationship. Couples would crumble to the pressures of what’s acceptable in society.
The modern trend nowadays is for people to not even bother to get married. What will happen is a couple will live in a defacto relationship the whole time without beginning a marriage or an engagement. They will even have children and start a family and will never get married! It a decision that used to be intolerable to society, especially with influences of religion – particularly catholicism in the Western world. Now it happens everyday. It’s about that painstaking word “commitment”.
Other factors that play a part in couples refusing to marry are the lack of financial resources to save enough to have a marriage. If you want a memorable day, often you will have to pay tens of thousands of dollars for a quality service, including extensive fees to the church you want to get married in. If you want a cheap marriage with no frills you can go to the Births, Deaths and Marriages registry or if you live in America, you can get the really cheap and fast job done by getting married in Las Vegas. Again, these acts are often frowned upon heavily by members of society. Often partners see this as unromantic and sometimes sleazy.
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Marriage isn’t even that powerful of a union as it was in the old days. Consider the divorce rates for western society. According to recent studies, more than 50% of marriages fail. When people get married, it’s not a be all and end all of their love lives. Today, it is so easy to get divorced that everybody knows when they get married that there is always an out and dismiss claims that it will occur because they are in love. But it does. Most wealthy couples take preventions to save themselves from laws surrounding this, and will make their future spouses sign a pre-nuptual arrangement for the high possibility of a divorce so they don’t lose their assets.
Some women even make marriage and divorce a habit. Consider famous people such as Liz Taylor or Rue McClanahan. They have been married countless times and marriage seems more meaningless every time they get divorced. When they are through with their relationship, they just chuck the guy away! They have been married more than 13 times between them.
Marriage doesn’t even hold the same meaning as it did in the past. Marriage used to be about love and wanting to start a family. Now it incorporates many other factors. An example of this is an immigrant getting married to a citizen in a different, more economically developed country to gain citizenship into that country. With the advent of the internet, international marriages are a lot more commonplace.
Marriage can also be about just wanting to participate in a commercialised ceremony. Consider those people that go to mass marriage services and marry a complete stranger, in Bangkok and Shanghai. A lot of the times they know each other but a lot of times its just two people fed up with searching and want to get hitched.
Finance also has a lot to do with considering a marriage. How important is it to have two partners working to pay off the house. Consider the tax benefits of marriage. Consider the commitment value when deliberating over finances couples that want to get married. Some people just get into defacto relationships just to save money from the cost of living, and end up getting married
So if you’re deliberating over getting married, remember that this is the person you will see everyday for the rest of your life, or until you get a divorce. You will learn everything about them. Every one of their good points and every one of their bad points. You will wake up every morning and see what this person looks like. You will grow old together if you’re married that long. Your kids will look like your partner.
If you’re young, know that you have the rest of your life before having to make that decision. If you’ve been together for five years and you’re both happy the way you are, stay that way. If the woman is getting impatient then let her be impatient. You both have to be happy and confident in your relationship if you want to take it further. If you’ve known each other for six months and are thinking about getting married, know that 50% of marriages fail. The marriage ride is good if you don’t care about the sacredness of marriage, but you might find it harder to get a new partner with each divorce you have.