From Married at First Sight to new reports of The Bachelor's Richie Strahan and Alex Nation tying the knot in a secret Balinese ceremony, it seems everyone’s in a hurry to get down the aisle these days.
But while we’re taking our speedy reality TV land relationships with a grain of salt, it does pose an interesting question: how long should you be with someone before you’ve covered all your pre-marriage bases?
“It’s hard to say there’s an exact time, but what you need to look at is: have you had enough time to really get to know each other, and that constitutes going through up and downs together,” Sexologist Dr Nikki Goldstein tells Be.
“If you’re together for a year and you get engaged but you’ve only ever had good things happen to you, you won’t know if the relationship will survive under the pressure.”
Nikki points out that for those who don’t really experience the lows, the day-to-day of married life and all that comes with it can push a relationship to breaking point.
“Things like marriage and children – it’s pressure on a relationship. It’s rewarding, but there’s a lot of challenges that come with it,” Nikki says. “I think most commonly where we see marriages end is with kids, especially when they’re very little.”
Dating expert and Married at First Sight matchmaker Melanie Schilling agrees, highlighting the need to know who your marriage buddy is at their core.
“I think it’s important for a couple to feel they’ve road-tested the relationship and had the opportunity to go through some tough challenges, maybe a crisis. These are real telling points that show how your partner is going to respond, how resilient they are,” she says.
Melanie admits she did believe the couples on this year’s Married At First Sight did have a chance, but the pressure may have got to them.
“We really do put them under so much pressure. It’s kind of difficult because that doesn’t happen in the real world,” she admits. “I certainly did see potential in some of the couples [especially] knowing the background that went into the matching. But you can’t predict how people are going to respond under that level of pressure.”
With The Bachelor’s Richie and Alex still figuring out where they’re going to live and their family situation, experts say this is hugely important to making sure a marriage lasts.
From making sure you’re on the same page when it comes to family, values, religion and interestingly, money – “If we look at divorce and family issues, the one issue people feud over the most is actually money not children,” says Nikki – it seems the more ground you cover, the greater your chances of success.
“Life can be hard. Choose someone you not only enjoy being with, but can help you get through it,” advises Nikki. “There’s no guarantees – you might struggle and have to go through IVF, or you might have a traumatic childbirth and suffer from post-natal depression. Love and intimacy is amazing, but you also need that strong foundation to get through things.”