When Is It Too Soon To Get Married?

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 12/06/2013 | 02:30 PM EST

Is there a minimum time of dating before walking down the aisle?

Reports are buzzing about Terrence Howard's recent marriage to his girlfriend, a Canadian woman named Miranda, after allegedly dating for only one month. This is Howard’s fourth marriage. His supposed rush down the aisle is an eyebrow raiser, considering a month doesn’t seem like a whole lot of time to determine if someone is marriage material.

But just how long is considered too soon to walk down the aisle?

While there’s no rubric or timeline for love and marriage, it’s important that one really determines if he or she truly knows their significant other well enough before they agree to say "I Do." To be safe, you should have dated your partner for at least a year before considering marriage, although it’s highly recommended that one wait much longer. With so many marriages ending in divorce, choosing to tie the knot shouldn’t be taken lightly. Marriage isn’t the equivalent of asking your childhood crush to go steady; it’s a life-long commitment that should be decided with a lot of time and careful thought. It would suck to get married to someone and move in with them, only to discover that they’re not the one afterall. Many can attest to acting more on feeling than thinking with their head, failing to properly get to know the person they’re dating.

Just think of the blow it would be to find out that your partner doesn’t want to have children, doesn't share your same values and outlooks, or that they have a bad temper. You can’t exactly know a person in totality in just a few short months. A couple of months of dating someone isn’t exactly a reasonable time to determine if they’re worth spending the rest of your life with them.

Making that decision will probably depend on a few factors like age and how one determines what love is. For example, for someone like Howard, who is 41, having a life partner becomes more crucial, maybe because of fear of being old and single. For others, it may be more impulsive. Just because you think you’ve found the one, it doesn’t necessarily mean the next logical step is to exchange wedding vows.

There’s nothing wrong with taking your time. Unless your partner is laying on a death bed, there’s no reason to rush the nuptials. It would be far more beneficial to you and your mate if you pump the breaks. Besides, if it is true love they’re not going anywhere - at least in theory.

(Photo: Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Bing)

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