Dear Carolyn: Is there something to a long engagement? I’ve been with a guy for about eight months now and we’re starting to talk marriage. I’d like to get married as soon as possible — partly because I’m getting older, don’t want a big brouhaha, and want to be with this guy like NOW!
I know getting married inside a year will seem sudden to most people, but I’ve been through the relationship cycle many times and at this point in my life (mid-30s) feel I have a good grasp on what I want in someone I’m going to spend the rest of my life with.
But I know issues come up during wedding planning that can bring out differences that will damage a marriage. And I guess I’m just not looking forward to all the questions about my rushing into things. Thoughts?
Your letter toggles between sounding as if you know who you are and what you want, and sounding like you’re 17. I mean, who considers using wedding plans as a compatibility test, what does getting older have to do with the soundness of a decision to marry, and who cares what other people think?
The concern I have about your let’s-get-on-with-it marriage impulse is not that you don’t know what you want; no doubt you do. It’s that it can still take time to see whether someone is all the things you believe him to be. Time is also useful for seeing how each of you responds to each other’s influence; you both want to bring out versions of each other that are close to your natural states.
At least give yourself time to outlast any wishful thinking — and, if applicable, the peak of in-love shmoopiness, which can make annoying traits seem cute, important differences seem trivial and a besotted state seem like a sustainable one.