There are many television shows these days that depict couples getting married or starting a relationship only days or a few weeks of knowing each other. While this makes for exciting and drama-filled entertainment, it is also setting a bad example of what relationships should look like, and how they should be handled. Marriages should not be taken so lightly, as repercussions of a quick and shallow marriage – both emotional and legal – can be severe and long lasting. Real, long-lasting marriages need a stable foundation formed from strong and open communication, understanding, and time. That last one is important because time is the only way you can determine whether the two of you can weather the storms of a relationship. A fast marriage based on raw attraction and first impressions is an almost sure way for your relationship to end in divorce.
What do reality dating shows teach?
Dating shows such as Love is Blind, 90 Day Fiancé, and The Ultimatum are popular these days because they offer a fast and messy look at love gone wrong. While these shows are good examples of schadenfreude, they do not offer up good or responsible examples of how to begin a marriage.
In Love is Blind, contestants are meant to make a decision on who they will marry only ten days after meeting that person (who they meet through a wall, never once seeing each other before the engagement). Once two contestants are engaged, they have to live with each other for four weeks before either saying “I do” or “I don’t.”
90 Day Fiancé is about couples who have applied for a K-1 visa so that their (foreign) partner can marry them, but it has to happen within those 90 days, or else the visa runs out, and the one partner has to return to their home-country. Often, the two people in these relationships do not have good chemistry, usually lacking in communication.
Finally, The Ultimatum has couples with one half ready to marry and the other not ready to marry. By the end of the show, these couples either have to propose to their significant other, or choose to be with someone else on the show who they have spent time with. Essentially, the one partner is giving the other an ultimatum: marry me or it’s over.
These shows all have a similar premise: marry quick! But dating experts advise that a couple should weather all the seasons first before they decide to get married. “Everyone puts their best foot forward during the courting stage, which is typically the first three months of the relationship,” says Julie Spira, an online dating expert and digital matchmaker. “When your relationship is brand new, you haven’t gone through the bumps on the road together, traveled on vacation together, or gone through a traumatic event such as the death of a family member or loss of a job.”
Emory University conducted a study that found that couples who had been together for at least three years before their marriage were 39 percent less likely to divorce than those couples who were married within the first year of courtship.
What does it take to make a lasting marriage?
Studies have shown and professionals agree that a longer courtship period tends to lead to a smaller chance of divorce, with Dawn Michael, Ph.D., clinical sexologist and relationship expert stating that “each couple is different depending on age and circumstances, but a reasonable amount of time to be engaged is one to three years.” In this time, couples learn to interact and live with each other. They get to know each other’s likes and dislikes, what they want out of a relationship, what they find important, their religious beliefs and so forth. Information like this is key to know before getting married, as these aspects can end a marriage if not discussed beforehand.
Key components to a successful marriage include:
- Communication and solving conflict. Being able to effectively communicate with your partner, especially during arguments is important. This is where you find out whether your partner is able to handle arguments in a calm and reasonable manner, or if they react harshly or choose to bully you.
- Shared interests and values. In a relationship, not all your values have to align, but there are some important beliefs and morals that you may hold to that your significant other does not. Are they religious? Do they want children? What about their political affiliation? Discussing these sorts of values before you are married may just save you from marrying the wrong person.
- How finances are handled. Often, marriages fall apart due to financial stresses. One person is addicted to shopping, and the other wants to save money for their future expenses. Being able to live comfortably within your financial range is important to a happy marriage.
- Sexual satisfaction. It has been shown that couples with a healthy and active sex life is important to most marriages. At the very least, discussions should be had on what each person wants from their sex life, what works best, and what they would like to avoid. Communication in the bedroom is essential.
- Healthy work/family life balance. Marriages do not prosper when one person puts their work before their marriage and family life. Your relationship has to be a priority, and if you and your spouse agree that only one of you will work and earn an income while the other remains at home to take care of the family and household, then discussing how you will spend your time together is a good idea.
Marriages are hard work, and they require time and effort in order to make them last. Not only that, but marriages require both partners to change and adapt to each other as years pass because no one remains constant throughout their lives. However, even under the best circumstances a marriage can come to an end, and when that happens, having a good divorce lawyer on hand will save you stress and hardship during your divorce.
At The Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates, our divorce attorneys in Franklin, Columbia, and Brentwood have plenty of experience in walking clients through the divorce process, helping them to divide their assets and figure out child custody. To schedule a consultation, call us at 615-977-9370 or use our contact page. We are committed to helping our community go through difficult times such as these.