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07th Jul 2016

This Is How Long You Should Wait To Get Married

Trine Jensen-Burke

While the majority of us tend to road-test a relationship for a few years before we decide we want to tie the know and spend the rest of our lives with this other person, other people get swept up in the first flushes of love (and lust) and race down the aisle a lot quicker.

Just when we decide to settle down and get married can be based on a lot of things, like finances, career and even babies coming along before you had even made it as far as discussing the M word (guilty!). But did you know when it comes to how long you should ideally wait to marry, science actually has the answer.

Anthropologist and human behavior expert Helen Fisher has spent decades studying love.

And according to her research, Fisher says couples who wait two years before getting married have a far higher chance at a successful, long-lasting relationship. 

Why, you say? Well, it turns out our brain acts differently when romance sparks. “One of the problems with early stage intense feelings of romantic love is that the part of the brain that becomes super-activated are the brain regions linked with drive, with craving, with obsession, with motivation.”

The problem then is, that during this intense time when we are all about snogging and sex, the area of the brain that is associated with decision-making and planning actually shuts down – meaning, of course, that you probably shouldn’t make any too serious and long-term decisions during this time.

Fisher says current relationship trends work to our advantage, though. “There was a recent study in which they asked a lot of [dating] people who were living together… why have they not yet married and 67% were terrified of divorce,” she says.

Interestingly, she believes that fear of choosing the wrong partner is actually leading to healthier relationships. “I think… this slow love process of getting to know somebody very carefully over a long period of time is going to help the brain readjust some of these brain regions for decision making,” she says. “You’re going to get to know how this person handles your parents at Christmas… how they handle your friends, how they handle their money, how they handle an argument… etc.”

The main message? Take things slowly. Give your mind time to adjust to newfound love and if you’re still giddy after two years, science suggests you might have found The One.

How long did YOU wait to get married? Let us know in the comments or tweet us at @Herfamilydotie

(Feature image via