When I give talks on how to make wise decisions about love relationships, the burning question that someone almost always asks is, “How long do I have to wait?” The phrasing of this question illustrates the fact that waiting can feel like working against the tide of biology and the romantic rush of falling in love and making it official.In fact, they tended to divorce quicker than those with short courtships.Again, there are a couple of reasons why taking too long is a bad sign: It’s not so much that people wait too long to get married, but that they stay in a relationship that never was built to last.That’s actually the preferred situation, because then you have multiple sets of eyes confirming that this person is who they appear to be.
Couples who marry after dating for less than a year have been found to fall into one of two groups: the passionate and impulsive group and the pragmatic and on-schedule group.It really depends on the people involved, and the reasons why they get married when they do. Most people realize that you shouldn’t get married too quickly after meeting someone, and the one long-term study I’ve found on the subject seems to back that up.There are a couple of reasons why a short dating period can cause problems in marriage: Marriage is really about commitment, so the real question is whether you are willing to commit to this person for the rest of your life, and whether you can trust them when they say they’re willing to do the same. Now, sometimes you can trust them more quickly if other trustworthy people have known the person through close community for a long time, and can vouch for them.Some of the four-year-olds were able to control their impulse to snatch up and consume their marshmallows for the duration of Mischel’s 15–20-minute errand (which must have felt like several lifetimes for these four-year-olds). Mischel followed up with his subjects many years later and found that the ability to control impulses and delay gratification was associated with success in many different areas of life as an adult.So, in the realm to waiting a sufficient length of time before marrying, are you willing to wait for an endless supply of lovely marshmallows, or do you want to bite down, right now, on something that resembles a marshmallow but may well turn into a bag of pus once you’ve committed?