@BelliniChic: +1 I completely agree.
@Skyee: Honestly, it really depends on the couple. Personally, my FI and I have been together for almost a decade. We are getting married 12 days before our 10 year anniversary. We started dating at 15 and 17, we got engaged on our 9 year anniversary.
Could we have got married around 20? Sure. Would it have worked out? Probably. It wasn’t that we weren’t sure of our relationship though. We decided not to get married that young because we wanted to focus on buidling our relationship, growing as individuals (college, travel, etc) and not having the pressure of marriage. We wanted to let our relationship grow naturally and get married when we felt the time was right. That time came about a year ago.
Did it take us longer to there? Yes. Do we feel any less secure in our decision or relationship? No. If anything we feel more secure, mature and prepared. We have made it through our early 20’s and have found that we could grow together. That doesn’t always happen for couples. A lot of developmental change occurs from 18-24 and it can be a rough transition for some couples. It can obviously work out, but unforutnaley some couples grow apart instead of together.
Now, I am by no means saying take ten years to get to marriage. That has worked really well for us, but there are obviously lots of couples who do not take as long. I am merely saying to take the time you both need to feel prepared for marriage.
We waited until we both finished college (and he finished his master’s) and we both had 3 years of a full-time career. We are far more stable, financially and emotionally than we were before, during and right after college. Now, we have an overwhelming sense of security and stability, that makes us feel more prepared for marriage than ever before. Will we have troubling times and life challenges ahead at some point? Sure, everyone does. But I wouldn’t trade anything for the stability we have created together.
My only advice would be not to rush anything (not saying you are). You have your whole life to live and if he is the one, then there should never be any reason to rush it. If you both are serious and committed in your relationship, then married or not you two will be there for each other. Committment, unconditional love, support and a lifetime of happiness can all happen before marriage comes into the picture. The more time you put into your relationship before marriage, the stronger it will be.