By Chiara Atik for HowAboutWe.com
Right on the heels of Kim Kardashian's divorce bombshell, The New Girl actress Zooey Deschanel announced her split from her husband of two years, Death Cab For Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard. While Deschanel's marriage did manage to outlast Kardashian's by a good, oh, 23 months, the two divorces can be linked back to a common trend among celebrity couples: a very brief courtship.
Deschanel and Gibbard dated only a year before becoming engaged; Kim Kardashian and her husband, Kris Humphries dated only 6 months before he proposed in May. Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, who also announced their separation this year, married less than a week after his divorce was finalized, and after only a year of dating. None of the couples dated for more than a year: does this mean their marriages were doomed from the start?
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"The less time a couple spends together, getting to know each other's abilities, fears, habits and attitudes, the higher the chances of discomfort and disagreement." Says sex and marriage therapist Dr. Limor Blockman-Michelman. "In the beginning of a relationship, especially a formal one (hence marriage), spouses learn to grow together into a single unit."
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The more time a couple spends together before marriage, through months or even years of dating, the more time they will have to learn each other's foibles, develop communication strategies, and build the foundation for a strong marriage. A roller coaster romance, while exciting, doesn't necessarily lend itself to a slow and careful exploration of personality and compatibility -- especially if the couple gets swept up in the excitement and drama of new love.
"I felt like I was on a fast roller coaster and couldn't get off when now I know I probably should have," wrote Kardashian in a message to her fans. "I got caught up with the hoopla."
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Of course, while a short courtship may have some disadvantages, getting married in a hurry isn't necessarily the kiss of death.
"When the prospective spouses share mutual goals, life plans, and similar timeline for major events (family, career, etc.), even a short 'dating' period, whether it comes in a form of an official engagement or just a serious relationship, can produce a long, prosperous relationship and marriage." Dr. Limor tells us.
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Are You Ready To Get Married? Four Questions To Ask Yourself
- Do you have similar life plans? Dr. Limor advises getting on the same page as far as career and family goals, to avoid any unwelcome surprises or differing views once the marriage license has been signed.
- How does your partner react in difficult situations? Couples who have only been dating a brief while may not have yet experienced what their partner is like under stress or while going through a hard time. If this is the case, have a talk with your significant other: have him or her tell you about a difficult situation they've been in, and how they got through. Sure, it sounds a bit like a job interview, but remember: marriage is work!
- Why are you getting married now? Remember, you're making a huge lifestyle change, not to mention a legal commitment to another person. Are you getting married because you're caught up in the moment and excitement of planning a wedding, or is it because you're really ready to start a life with someone?
- What will your married, everyday life be like? After the wedding and festivities are over, you're going to have to merge your life with someone's. Both you and your partner should have a clear, realistic idea of what this will actually be like, and you'll both have to make compromises.