What is the correlation between the length of time spent together in courtship and the resulting marriage?
According to popular online dating site eharmony, on average couples decide to wait 2.8 years to marry after having showed romantic interest. But today’s question deals with a common dilemma that most of us will have to face at one point of our lives. What is the optimal length of time to date; or a matter of fact IS there such a thing and when does too much dating become detrimental for a marriage. In addition, there are an abundance of third variables and factors that can attribute to a successful marriage such as the timing of the relationship, parental support, and money variables. However, I believe the success of a long term marriage lies within the courtship period between the two mates.
For our purposes, let’s consider the courtship period to be considered the time when you first establish a dating relationship, the period of engagement, and to the eve of your wedding night. My hypothesis is that a longer courtship will ultimately lead to a lasting marriage not ending in divorce.
An article from the New Republic analysis the a study of 952 people in California that have been married for at least three years and found a positive correlation between the length of courtship and reported marital satisfaction. According to the study done by psychologist Scott Randall Hansen, the divorce rates were highest among couples that had spent less than six months dating. These high divorce rates are likely due to impulsiveness or impatience within the relationship that ultimately resulted in an unhappy marriage.
If there is a positive correlation between not dating enough leading to a higher divorce rate, can waiting too long have some adverse effects for a couple’s future?
While most relationships that last up to 3 years usually lead to lasting marriages, relationships that hit 5 or 10 years could potentially not lead to marriage at all. To analyze the reverse causation, data proving that relationships that last let’s say over 5 years would have to result in a higher rate of break up and divorce. To my dismay, I failed to find concrete evidence to support the reverse causality as most of the research happened to be anecdotal relationships posted on online forums.
While we may conjecture to find an optimal amount of time dating before marriage, I believe relationships with people go further beyond statistical measurements and often times are very situational.
Thank you for the read!