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Now, it’s increasingly optional, and many Millennials are even flirting with the idea of taking a real estate approach to the entire construct.The biggest shift that everyone has noticed is that those who are getting married are doing it much later.In fact, the average bride and groom in the UK date for 4.9 years before getting married.For the modern couple, here's the breakdown of that half-decade: 17 months of dating before moving in together, 22 months of living together before getting engaged, and 20 months of engagement before getting married.(Though as Alice Robb noted in , his research came with an important caveat: “Rushing into marriage might be a sign of impulsiveness or impatience,” she wrote, “personality traits that could also lead couples to give up on each other.”) The reason why longer is generally better is fairly obvious: “Having a longer time to date allows couples to get to know each other better, and find out about things that may be deal-breakers later on, ending worse relationships before marriage,” says Arielle Kuperberg, an associate professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, and a senior scholar at the Council on Contemporary Families.“Couples that enter marriage too quickly may not have had the time to fully discover all those things about their partner that later end up being deal-breakers.” On the other hand, there’s a time limit on the protective effect of a long courtship, and dating too long before tying the knot seems to come with its own risks.People are marrying later in life, too, a fact that may come as no surprise.Today's bride and groom are eight years older than the average couple who got married in 1971.

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Apparently, most couples are dating for much longer than they used to before walking down the aisle, according to a new 4,000-person survey from the wedding planning app and website Bridebook.Just 46 years ago, brides were around 22.6 years old, and now they're 30.8.For grooms, they used to be around 24.6 years old, and now they are 32.7 years old.“Couples that take a very long time to decide to marry may be hesitating for a good reason,” she says, “or feel pressured to enter marriage with someone they aren’t entirely compatible with because they have been dating for so long.” piece, Shirley Temple was famously one of them, marrying her husband after 12 days and going on to enjoy more than a half-century of wedded bliss.The parents of a friend of mine have a similar story.

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