The 4 Horsemen to Avoid an Apocalypse… Good Things Come in Pairs

Longer Dating brings smiles and information . . .

Welcome to my newest blog series entitled, “The 4 Horsemen to avoid an Apocalypse!” In this series, I’ll discuss the four statistical phenomena correlating to a long-term, and happy marriage. This first blog title, “Good Things Come in Pairs,” is a Chinese proverb and interestingly enough, at traditional Chinese wedding ceremonies, the symbol (which can be found here) is often prominently displayed. For my purpose, the “Pair” I refer to is the number of years a couple should date prior to marriage. Why two years? Well, we can learn a lot about each other after two years.

Keep in mind that this blog series is focused on the statistical concept of mode. Mode is the most reoccurring number in a data set, or as my teenage daughter would describe it, the most “popular” number appearing in a data analysis. Of course, in life, there will be exceptions and outliers to the norm. I’m sure some of my readers have a story of a couple who fell madly in love at first sight, married within a couple of months, and who have stayed happily married for many decades. I, of course, adore these stories just as much as I adore any romantic comedy starring John Cusack or Jennifer Aniston. But, just like in the movies, those brief dating relationships leading to long-term happiness are truly rare. Likewise, I’m sure my readers have stories of a couple who dated for much longer than two years before marriage and it still ended in divorce. Yes, that may have occurred, but if combined with the remaining three horsemen, the chances of divorce are drastically reduced.

What can we learn after two years of dating? We can learn who the person is. After two years, we’ve seen how a person handles setbacks, disappointments, and bad news. We can observe if the person responds by drinking excessively, using drugs, sleeping all day, working night and day, or eating the pain of life away. After two years, we can see how this person gets along with their friends, neighbors, boss, co-workers, and family. We can see if there are inappropriate boundaries or a total lack of boundaries. Chances are, those boundaries will not change after marriage. And chances are their general disposition toward the myriad of people described above will not change and will someday be turned toward you, their spouse.

Dating for two years also allows us to get to know our girlfriend’s/boyfriend’s family and assess the compatibility of her/his family with our own values, traditions, and general expectations. It also allows our boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s the opportunity to get to know our family. If every time you leave a family event or an encounter and are relieved to get away from “them” or if your boyfriend/girlfriend complains about your family to you afterward, then that’s an indicator that the family will cause strain on the marriage.

Returning to substance abuse or alcohol abuse, most spouses married having experienced their spouse use or become intoxicated while dating. Granted, a few drunken nights does not an alcoholic make, but if drunkenness is a regular state, then you should ask yourself if you really think marriage will cure it. As a divorce attorney, I’ve had many clients lament that they knew their spouse had an alcohol problem while dating but ignored it either by denying it or thinking that somehow their superhuman qualities would change that behavior. Now hear this: no person can cure another’s alcohol problem or substance abuse problem. It’s impossible and will only lead to devastating heartache. Marriage will not cure an alcoholic.

Lastly, in talking about behavior that can’t be changed by another, I’d be remiss if I failed to discuss domestic violence. Like with alcoholics, violent behavior toward a loved one is a character defect that will not change no matter how much love you show. It is a special type of violence. In fact, most domestic violence perpetrators lack a general reputation for violence because their type of violence is only directed to their loved ones. That’s why anger management is inappropriate in treating domestic violence abusers. Instead, these types of abuses need an intervention that is specific to domestic violence. Please, readers, I beg you that if you are dating anyone who threatens violence or actually becomes violent toward you to leave now. Marriage will not cure a domestic violence abuser.

While I can’t guarantee that the two-year rule will work for every couple, I can guarantee you that if you are observant and thoughtful, after two years you will know whether to proceed toward marriage or not.

For divorce coaching services, please email or call 1-321-482-5060. For divorce legal representation for a Florida divorce, please visit or email me at or call 1-321-951-7600.

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