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Family Law Blog

Comment on divorce & family law 

Marry me - within three years

Some people wait for years. For others, they leap into it with both feet after having only known their soon-to-be other half for a short while. I’d never thought there was any prescription for when was the right time to take the plunge, pop the question and walk up the aisle. It seems I was wrong.

Psychologist and relationship manager Dr Pam Spurr believes she has identified a “golden window” of opportunity for couples to get married. Miss the window by going too soon, and you might not be ready for it. Too late and it could mean there is something fundamentally wrong with the relationship that a later wedding will not fix.

Anyway, the window opens at 18 months and closes at three years.

So, there you are. You have been warned. Marriages that fit neatly into that “golden window” have a better chance of winning through. Or, as Dr Spurr herself put it “courtships have a sell-by date”!

You can read more about the reasoning and scientific methodology behind it here if you are so inclined, or the shorter version in our latest newsletter. I am not offering any commentary one way or the other on whether I think this is valid or not. It could be that the figures do support this and that if we did our own survey of couples getting divorced and asked them when they got married, we would find that the bulk tied the knot outside of those rather slim bounds. We’re not planning to do that by the way.

However, it could be that just putting out there that this is a real phenomenon will put more pressure on some impressionable couples that their relationship is doomed if they do not marry by the time they are three years in. Call me old-fashioned but I just thought generally people got engaged and then married when they felt the time was right. They are not on a schedule. I got married 8 years after we met!

Some people might not think they are ready after three years for a whole variety of reasons. “Rushing” into it, therefore, to hit the deadline could itself be the catalyst for a relationship failure. At the other end of the spectrum, for a precious few, falling head over heels and heading to the nearest registry office to get married just a short time after meeting each other is the secret to a lifetime of happiness.

As a busy family law practice, we deal every day with relationships that don’t work. I can’t remember a single time the reason for this was given for the break-up was missing the golden window. If they had done, I might have advised them to buy a ladder.

Our advice to couples wanting to get married is to make sure you are both ready, agree it is the right thing to do and have considered all the implications of the legal side of the process. Don’t rush into it. Come to think of it, that’s it pretty much our advice for couples getting divorced as well!

Andrew Woolley
Divorce Solicitor


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