The naysaying isn't about to break up my engagement, but it did give me pause. It got me thinking...

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Breaking the Rules of Engagement

One thing I’ve learned since I started writing this blog back in December 2006: I’ve got to have a thick skin when it comes to readers’ comments. Among the most ominous posted last week: “I think you are rushing into everything,” and, my personal favorite, “Your marriage is going to fail.” Some of these declarations even made The Fiancé flinch. “Why would someone say that?” he asked me the other day.

The naysaying isn’t about to break up my engagement, but it did give me pause. It got me thinking…

One thing I’ve learned since I started writing this blog back in December 2006: I’ve got to have a thick skin when it comes to readers’ comments. Among the most ominous posted last week: “I think you are rushing into everything,” and, my personal favorite, “Your marriage is going to fail.” Some of these declarations even made The Fiancé flinch. “Why would someone say that?” he asked me the other day.

The naysaying isn’t about to break up my engagement, but it did give me pause. It got me thinking about possible reasons for all of the doom and gloom—specifically, our short courtship: not quite a year, to date. If we had been in our 20s when we started dating, it’s very possible we wouldn’t have gotten engaged so quickly—"rushed into everything,” in the words of the reader. But let’s be honest. Thirty-four isn’t 24, and The Fiancé and I both know exactly what we want: basically, to be married to each other and have kids some day. Are two people in love in their 30s still supposed to follow some arbitrary rules of engagement?

I turned to a married friend, Suzie, for insight (I’ve changed a few names for privacy’s sake). She, too, dated her now-husband for eight months before getting engaged, but she was only 26 at the time. “After a month of dating, we kind of just knew,” she said. “We started doing things like booking vacations three months out and buying concert tickets four months out because we knew we would be still be together.” Suzie and her husband started looking for a place to buy after dating for just five months—around the same time they got their first dog. Now 32, Suzie celebrated her fourth anniversary this year, and her son is turning one.

My own brother, Michael, 38, has a different take: “A long courtship allows you to really know how the other half handles adversity, in his career and with his family.” Michael has been married to Kim for ten years after dating for about two. “That time period removes the emotional surprises in a relationship,” he says. I respect his opinion, and I love him dearly, but my brother had the luxury—or maybe just luck—of meeting Kim in college. They had plenty of time to get to know each other before their 30s started creeping up.

I prefer to side with my friends Jacklyn, 32, and Mark, 36, together for a total of nine years, who believe age is a significant factor in the dating-to-engaged timeline. The pair started dating when they were in their 20s. “From our first date at Iggy’s, I knew Mark and I were going to get married,” Jacklyn says. “I called my mom from the bathroom and told her I was having dinner with my future husband.” Six months into the relationship, though, Mark dumped her to play the field. At the time, Jacklyn was—let’s say—less than thrilled, but now she thinks Mark made the right move. “We were so young, and I was very eager to get engaged,” she says. “I wish I could tell my younger self to chill out.” The pair eventually got back together, dated for nearly five years, and have been married for four. “When you are in your 20s, what’s the rush?” Jacklyn says. “But when you are in your 30s, a shorter courtship makes sense, especially if you want children.” Jacklyn and Mark are expecting their first baby in a couple of weeks. “I always think about what might have happened if we had gotten engaged at 25 or 26, and then had a baby at 28. We would have missed out on so many amazing times.”

Timing is everything. So am I rushing things? “I don’t think it’s the amount of time you date that affects the success of a marriage,” says my 32-year-old married friend Jen. “It’s more about whether or not you really know the person and, more importantly, whether or not you really like the person. It’s about communication and trying to remember that you’re both on the same team.

“Relationships are tough: That’s the bottom line.”

 

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6 years ago
Posted by Ausie girl

Wait until after the marriage to buy the house

I love that your blog has both nightlife and wedding plans but what i find most interesting now is to read are: people's comments, is sounds like that are offected by your happiness

Congratulations and I wish you all the best of luck.

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

Yikes. Go ahead and use the words of your married friends to justify your actions, but don't think the skeptics will buy it. Your friend says a successful marriage is about knowing a person. How can you say you completely know someone you haven't even been dating a year?

I'm saying this more to recognize the facts of the matter, because I know that since you are rich and white, statistically your marriage has a good chance of being successful.

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

Kind of harsh, Jul 1, 2008 10:22 am.

Why do we have to have all these rules regarding relationships?And furthermore, why does it matter to anyone else if she says she has found someone she wants to spend the rest of her life with, no matter how long they have been dating? I like hearing about your relationship, I like hearing about your wedding. I'm happy for you that it took you such a short amount of time to realize "The Fiance" is who you want to spend the rest of your life with. I hope that when I meet that person it is that simple for me and we can start our life together as soon as we can.
Why people have such a problem with your time frame and are convinced that it will fail is beyond me. You're not an idiot, you can tell from the way you write, so people should just let you make your decisions regarding YOUR relationship, enjoy reading about it, or stop reading this blog.

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

After reading the last few blogs I noticed that the ones abotu your upcoming wedding have lots of reader comments (though some complain) and the ones abotu nightlife have few. I guess that means more people are interested in your wedding plans- keep on sharing! Forget the house, who cares what your friends are doing. Once you get married and have kids your needs/priorities change so much you can't even predict in what ways. Wait till that happens before you lock into anything.

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

I don't think time matters as much as the place in life you are at mentally and emotionally. Some people can date for years and not be ready to take the next step, while others may only date six months or so and be more than ready to start a life together. As long as you are in it for the right reasons - love and having a life together - versus keeping up with friends, trying to have everything so fast, the ring, the showers, the wedding, the attention, the house, etc, - then who cares if it was a shorter courtship. And honestly, there are NO guarantees in any relationship, life happens and you don't know what your relationship or life will really be like years down the line. And, people change, you can know someone now and not know them at all in 10 years. And I think we all know that marriage.. the reality of marriage and the work it takes, and daily life a couple of years down the road is a lot different than when in the giddy engagement, party planning mode. Only you know how you really feel, you just need to believe in that for yourself.

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

Another statistic. Bound for divorce.

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

uggghh
this wedding has divorce in less than 2 years!!!
please dont tell me that when you are older you know what you want
let me know if you want a good divorce attorney

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

Ok, I've been there. I got married when I was 25, and we were divorced 2.5 years later. I am the statistic, not you! Now, being 35 years old, in an amazing relationship of almost 9 months with the right guy, I am ready for the same thing you are: a loving and supportive marriage, with kids. Please ignore the foolish "rich and white" comment from the short-sighted writer... I'm white, my ex was white, our parents were still together, we had enough money and space, and we still got divorced. In your 30's, things are more in perspective, and if you ask me, it's just the right time. Congratulations!

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

I didn't really like the dating thing and didn't want to get married...but there was just something about my (future) husband that was impossible to resist. I was only 23, he was 29, but I remember overhearing him tell someone on our second date that he was going to marry me. At the time, I thought he was crazy, but we were married within a year, have had two children, and will be celebrating our 30th anniversary this year (oh, my God!) Sometimes you just know it's right, no matter what your age...so don't second-guess yourself. You have lived long enough to know that you have something special. Be happy and enjoy this time in your life!

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