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Posted October 26, Reviewed by Lybi Ma. You're in an enviable position if you think you've found your match. Maybe you've been together for two weeks, or maybe it's been eight years, but if marriage is a goal for both of you, when is the best time to make that happen? As idiosyncratic as romantic couples and their experiences are, scientists who study relationship processes are aware of questions that couples grapple with as they consider their future: When should a couple get married?

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I have been dating my boyfriend Zach for one year and eight months, and I am ready to get married. At least, I think I am.

What does research say?

You see, I've always had this two year rule in my mind for how long I want to date someone before we get married. Two years seems like a natural progression. After twenty-four months together, you usually know whether your partner is someone you could really commit to—forever. But a lot of my friends have been getting married with fewer than this magical two years under their belts, and it's making me second-guess my rule. Should we actually be engaged by now?

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Does it really matter at all how long you date before you get married? The purpose of dating is to get to know someone as fully as possible before tying the knot—ultimately with the goal of having a successful marriage that lasts. But what exactly is transpiring in this time that either confirms or disproves compatibility?

Love is a hot topic. Especially as our notions of dating practices change thanks, Tinderand we consistently hear about the supposed 50 percent divorce rate, I think we all wonder if there's some definitive rule book we should be following.

There's no magic , but you need to cover these fundamentals

I did some digging and reached out to relationship therapists and psychologists to get their thoughts. Here's what the professionals have to say about the ideal length of time to date. Huston followed newlywed couples over fourteen years and charted each couple's relationship satisfaction throughout.

showed that couples that had dated an average of twenty-five months before marriage were most happily married at the conclusion of the study. The study also looked at couples who were quicker to get married. These couples dated an average of eighteen months and were engaged for half that time.

Marriage essential re

Of those who were quicker to marry, the study found that the marriages survived to the seven-year mark, but many divorced after that. Another more recent study published by researchers from Emory University following three thousand couples 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 from these studies, it would be that the couples who tended to hold off longer to marry ended up being the most satisfied in their marriages in the long-term and less likely to divorce. Even with these studies telling us that staying the course in dating does seem to pay off in marriage, there are always exceptions to the rule.

We all know or have heard of that unicorn couple who fell in love instantly and have sustained a happy marriage ever since. So what do counselors think about an "ideal age? Almost all of the experts I spoke to recommended a year as a healthy amount of time to date before marriage.

In that time, they should be exploring things like, "what they can tolerate; if there is a sufficient physical attraction; and if future goals seem aligned. It might work out okay if they are exceptionally well-matched and mature.

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A cautious one to two years may be the recommended amount of time according to most, but experts certainly acknowledged that marriage success has more to do with readiness than a simple function of time. A lot of that readiness seems to be dependent on your dating past and whether you've learned from your dating history.

While Betchen suggests at least a year, he also explains that self knowledge and learning from past dating mistakes can speed up the dating process. Still, "Because there are other variables to consider such as family or origin dynamics, values, etc. Amodeo also acknowledges that readiness has a lot to do with each couple's unique situation. According to Madeleine A. As Jane Austen writes, 'It is not time or opportunity that is to determine intimacy: it is disposition alone.

Seven years would be insufficient to make some people acquainted with each other, and seven days are more than enough for others. Lisa Firestone, Ph. If a couple has been married for fifty years, but they have been miserable and treating each other badly during those years, is it really a good marriage?

The question is: Do you really love this person?

Are you ready for commitment?

If you're seriously considering marriage, you should focus on discerning whether or not you are truly ready for marriage, despite the amount of time you have been dating. Have you talked about what you both want from marriage? What you envision married life to be like? Do you want children? How do you want to raise your children? How do you handle conflict?

These questions are just a few of the questions you should have an answer to before you get engaged. There may be no magic to guarantee a marriage will last, but I feel more confident giving our relationship the time we need to be intentional and discerning. Maybe it didn't have to be two years, or maybe it will be three.

But I'm convinced that it's experiencing life together, through major occurrences like a job layoff and mundane activities like Wal-Mart trips that will allow us to decide whether we should get married. The more time we've been together, the more we've seen each other handle life, and this is the best way to build the foundation for a long and happy marriage.

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Wells Photography. Rather than worrying about the ideal amount of time to date before you get married, think about these things instead. Yes, being apart sucks, but some of the challenges can make your relationship stronger. Getting to know your future spouse is only half the battle.

Pre-marriage counseling is great, but what comes before that could be even better. Home Relationships. What Does Research Say? What the Experts Recommend Even with these studies telling us that staying the course in dating does seem to pay off in marriage, there are always exceptions to the rule. By William McKenna, M.

By Emily Mitchell. By Daniel Stewart. By Sarah Reynolds. By Maria Walley. By Christina Grace Dehan.