First Comes Marriage Then Comes Dating, Is There Something To Tying The Knot Quickly?

13 Comments
October 31, 2012 ‐ By Alissa Henry
"Black couple"

Source: Shutterstock.com

I’ve heard it said that every aspect of a single man’s life is cleverly edited and overproduced and that is why you never really know a man until you marry him.

Still, most would agree that you would try to get to know your boyfriend the best you can before you commit to him for life. This is likely why more than 7.5 million couples are living together and more than half of all marriages will be preceded by cohabitation.

Some couples, however, decide to get married first then get to know each other.

I was reading a message board the other day and one woman was saying that she married her husband three days after meeting at a rave and they’ve been together for seven years. Their reasoning for getting married so fast:

“For so many people marriage comes years and years down the line once a couple has been together so long they either feel it’s the safest option or they just don’t have the energy to look for something new, so, why don’t we do it backwards–marry first, as a celebration and proof of our belief in our love?”

What she has an aversion to is what NYT researchers call “sliding, not deciding.” Moving from dating, to sleeping over, to sleeping over a lot, to cohabitation can be a gradual slope, one not marked by rings or ceremonies or sometimes even a conversation. Couples bypass talking about why they want to live together and what it will mean. Some couples continue the slide into marriage figuring they have been together for so long they “may as well” get married.

That doesn’t seem like an ideal scenario, but is getting married first and getting to know each other later any less risky? Marriage is a serious decision and dating is a crucial period when the two parties find out if they click on a personal level and can see themselves together for the long haul.

Sex and relationship columnist Dan Savage says, “three months — eight months, sixteen months — is way too soon to be discussing marriage.

Ted Huston, a leading researcher on transitions in relationships, marriage and parenthood, states in his study that happily married couples dated for approximately 25 months before getting married. He says, on average, couples decided to marry 2.8 years after they first showed romantic interest (many couples knew each other before they dated, but that isn’t counted).

Ted found that couples who were unhappily married soon after they said “I do” and quickly divorced more often married at or after three years of dating.  Couples who fell fast in love were engaged after nine months, and married after 18 months.  These couples usually made it to their seventh anniversary before divorcing sometime later.

Despite researchers recommendations, there is no set timetable that guarantees wedded bliss.  Age, maturity level, financial stability, geography and desire to get married all factor in to the decision of how long to date before tying the knot. I’d add that how well you know each other should also be factored in.

The Guardian did a story on whirlwind marriages and they profiled one couple who dated for such a short period of time, the groom didn’t even know the correct spelling of his bride’s first name! Not that celebrity relationships are anything to emulate, but Khloe and Lamar Odom married after one month of dating and Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon married after two months. Personally, I know a couple who got married on their six month dating anniversary a mere summer after our college graduation.

I’m guessing most couples that get married relatively quickly would probably not admit to the fact that they’re deciding to get married first then get to know each other later. They’d probably say they know each other pretty well after “staying awake and talking all night underneath the stars” or something equally ridiculous. It happens more often than we may think. Honestly, no matter how many deep conversations you’ve had, if you get married to someone you’ve known for less time than the milk in your fridge then you’re definitely taking a “getting married now, get to know each other later” approach.

But maybe that’s okay. Maybe getting married quickly isn’t the most negative thing that a couple can decide to do. Their argument is that if you know you’re meant to be, whether you wait for one day or ten years, then why not get married today? They figure that the basics are there and they’re okay with learning everything else as they go.

Thinking about this some more, I find it ironic that many people balk at the idea of getting married “too fast” but make other short-term decisions that lead to a lifetime of consequences — like choosing to have a child together now and get to know each other later. But to each his own (foolish) decision, I guess. In my opinion, marrying someone you don’t know is incredibly foolish but since that’s not my call to make for couple’s across the board, the only thing left to say to people insisting on doing so is  “good luck.”

What do you think? Would you choose to marry someone first and then get to know him later?

Follow Alissa on Twitter @AlissaInPink or check out her blog This Cannot Be My Life 

*Photo courtesy of Shutterstock 

More from Styleblazer

More from Mommynoire

MadameNoire Video

Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN
  • glaba

    The happy medium, I think, is to date for about a year and get engaged and marry. That way you know the relationship enough to know you want it and also it’s new enough that it’s exciting to contiue to learn things about it.
    Dating 2 or more years before engagement/marriage just kills the romance of it all, IMO.
    If a guy’s excuse is “I need to get to know you better” around the year and a half then I think he just doesn’t want it. I dumped my ex for that and it was a great decision. More time to go find the right guy who wants to be a man instead of a boy!

  • Kayla

    I’m 22 and my husband is 28. We are in the Navy and decided to get married only a month into knowing each other. Most don’t approve, but I’ve had several friends and coworkers shortly come out and say they’ve done the same, one friend now married to hers for 18 years, and a Navy Chief who’s been married to her husband 23 years. It’s not for everyone, but I’m happy with my decision. yes, we might fail. I understood that. But I’d rather give us the chance instead of losing him because of aspirate duty stations and always wonder what if.

    6 months and still going strong. Wish me luck.

  • Pingback: First Comes Marriage Then Comes Dating, Is There Something To Tying The Knot Quickly? - Holistic Ebony()

  • http://www.facebook.com/courtney.puzzo Courtney Puzzo

    cohabitation wasn’t always the norm before marriage ask Joanne Woodward when she lived with Paul Newman 1 1/2 years before they were married in January 1958 it wasn’t as common to live together prior but they had also known each other for 5.5 years before they married. and they still had a somewhat quick wedding in Vegas due to her being pregnant and the looming rehersals for his next film though inbetween the weeding and those rehersals during their honeymoon she lost their baby and it hurt him to leave her and go back to work.

  • Crimson Wife

    My DH and I talked about marriage within 6 months and had we been older, I think we would have gone ahead and taken the plunge. However, since we were both college students, we waited until after I graduated. We ended up dating 3 years before saying “I do” but we knew we were headed to the altar long before that. We’ll be celebrating our 14th anniversary next month.

  • amareda red

    Most of the time it’s hard to get anyone to even get in a serious relationship so if you feel it’s right and the right time for you both, God bless.

    • Nina

      Exactly!!!

    • chanela

      right! it seems like nowadays all anyone wants to do nowadays is “do them” (in other words have sex with everybody they see). men don’t want a serious relationship cause suddenly most women are doing the friends with benefits thing and having one night stands more than before so there is no reason to have a relationship when these men are getting free prostitutes.

  • MrsJackson2010

    I got married after 8 months of dating my husband. I think the reason why we did it , we knew that when wefirst met at the age of 18 we felt like soulmates, we lost contact with each other and kept crossing and uncrossing paths and finally the last time we decide not to let go of one another, we will be married now for 3yrs this Jan. 10th 2012 and I love the fact that we have a lot of date nights, We always learn something new about the other person and it’s funny because we agree on a lot of issues from money, life, and children. our love just gets better with time :)

  • Candacey Doris

    I think that it is easier to get to now someone quick if both people are not the type to play games or are both in a stage where they want to marry. So when i’m at that point in my life, a 6 month courtship an quick marriage could be possible. Anything can happen.

  • Pivyque

    Lol…hey…like you said, people will live together, have sex, have kids and share bank accounts while still being hesitant to marry. Getting married before all that happens seems alright. More power to them. Me? No thanks. lol

  • STARO

    I think the older you are, the wiser, the more certain and satisfied with the person you’ve become. Thus, it may take less dating to identify a suitable life partner.
    My folks met in their early & mid fifties, respectively. They married after 6 mos. and will celebrate 15-yr. anniversary this coming week. All their respective children were grown and out of the house, and they had their own money and businesses. Both had previous long term marriages (20+ years) and knew the challenges and rewards of sharing a life. The timing was right apparently for life-long partnership!
    Timing is so very unique to each situation.

    • Pivyque

      You have a point there. I’m sure that if I met my husband later in life, I would have been more open to the idea of us getting married on his timeline rather than mine.