"Does It Matter How Long You Are Engaged?" Yup !
“ Length of the Courtship”
Social Scientists, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Anthropologists, Dating Coaches and Divorce Attorneys have all tried to determine and assign weight to the various factors which lead to a divorce. However, instead of a list of divorce causing circumstances, it probably makes more sense to think of this construct as a set of “risk factors” or “correlations.” The more risk factors, the higher are the chances of divorce.
We are familiar with most of the usual suspects – infidelity, money problems, addictions, domestic violence, children or the lack thereof, incompatibility, boredom and meddling in-laws. However, there are some divorce related circumstances that will surprise you.
For example, what about the length of the courtship or period of engagement? Is there a relationship between how long the parties go out together before the marriage and the likelihood of a divorce? Is “love at first sight” a romantic notion or an invitation to disaster? Is it true as some pessimists observe that the way to ruin a perfectly good relationship is to get married?
It certainly seems that there is relationship between the length of the courtship and the probability of divorce. If nothing else our inherent common sense tells us that whirlwind romances are fraught with peril.
As recently reported in various news outlets, Trey Bell, age 20, and his wife, Clara Bell, age 18, wed after two weeks of dating in a romantic beach-side ceremony in Florida. Following the nuptials, the happy bride called her parents to tell them that she was now married and would soon introduce them to her husband. The bride’s parents had not even known about Trey, much less meet him. Will this relationship survive and for how long? Time will tell but according to various studies the odds are not in their favor.
As an example, look at the recent marriage of Cuffe Biden Owens (the President’s nephew) and Meghan King (a cast member of Real Housewives of Orange County). They met on a dating app and talked for about five hours before meeting the next day for the first time. King explained that they spent the next few weeks together and then decided to marry.
However, their marriage lasted all of two months and is due to be annulled, according to Meghan. When last seen, Meghan was hiking naked in the Joshua Tree National Park in California, as depicted in the various selfies she took of her hike and posted on-line. No word yet on what Cuffe has been doing in his leisure moments.
Apart from a whirlwind engagement, dating for too long can also increase the likelihood of a divorce. Some pundits have opined that engagements that go on for longer than 27 months are more than likely doomed as well . All other things being equal, an engagement period of between 12 and 27 months seems to increase the likelihood of a successful marriage.
Of course, for every rule there are exceptions. A British couple recently got married after a 60 year period of engagement. Alex Hamilton, age 90, married Jane Hamilton, age 89, in a small church in Scotland. Jane used an electric scooter to make her way down the aisle. The wedding was attended by their various children from prior marriages, as well as the two children the betrothed couple had during their engagement and their 11 grandchildren. Jane had legally changed her name to "Hamilton" years before so there was no need to change her monogrammed towels, passports, or driver's licenses in the aftermath of the wedding.
In case you are wondering, the newly-wed "Hamiltons" do not hold the Guinness World Record for the longest engagement. That distinction belongs to Octavio Guilan and Adriana Matinez, respectively age 82, a couple from Mexico who wed after a 67 year period of engagement.
Given their respective ages and the significant period of time that they have lived together it is highly unlikely that the "Hamiltons" and "Guilans" will divorce any time soon.
Stay tuned, for more divorce related correlations which will be discussed in future blogs. Look for Divorce Causes - Part 2 of 5.