When you look at the celebrity world, you get the feeling that everyone leaps into marriage, only to be followed by a quick fizzle and divorce. It’s important to remember that celebrities are leading a very skewed lifestyle. Its fast-paced, glitzy and often financially fueled, so that doing whatever you want is possible, and also scary, because the higher up you go the harder you may fall. This combination increases the likelihood that a couple will charge into romance, heat up quickly, feel like they’ve found the one and get engaged.
Unfortunately, it also means neither may know each other all that well, nor have any idea how they will weather storms as a couple — resulting in a vulnerable marriage. Celebrity couples split up at a very high rate. Adding to the rapid fire “we just met” to “we are getting married” is the stress of celebrity life, lots of travel and time apart, often surrounded by much temptation in the form of other flirtations as well as alcohol and drugs (a bad combination in terms of fidelity). That makes it difficult to tell what percentage of the reason for a divorce may be too short an engagement, but it sure doesn’t help.
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Does any of this apply to the non-celebrity? It does. Marriages that last are those between people who have found a lot of common ground, and where there is not common ground, it’s between people that have found out they are capable of negotiating and compromising with each other.
During the honeymoon phase of any relationship, often the entire first year, couples tend to find it pretty easy to agree with their partner on many things, even everything. The hazy glow of infatuation has a way of making everything they say and do seem more wonderful than it actually is. This is lovely, but does nothing to test how reality will feel when the glow has worn off and the day-to-day business of working things out as a couple sets in.
Can you talk about tough stuff? Can you disagree and find a route to working it out and still like each other? Are the things that you have come to see about your partner which annoy you tolerable enough and are they heavily outweighed by the things you like in them? In other words, you lessen the likelihood of divorce if you spend enough time being in the relationship that you’ve had time to test what real day-to-day life is like. For most couples, this is likely a minimum of one year.
Whether the dating was one year followed by a short engagement — or the dating was shorter but the engagement lasted a year — seems less important than having this significant period of time testing the relationship. As hard as it is to end an engagement, it is much easier and less painful than ending a marriage. Of course there are exceptions, couples who rushed from first sight straight down the aisle, that are happy. But they are few, and most likely, a little older with a history of enough serious relationships to have more personal insight into what they are looking for in their partner.