Everyone preaches, "Four years before you decide on marriage." Your parents implore the need to "really, truly" know someone before you commit your life to them. Some people say the marriage is doomed if you rush into it.
I'm not advocating that every couple say "I will" shortly after saying "Yeah, let's date. I'll deactivate my Tinder account." Granted, you should have an idea of who you're marrying so that you don't end up the memorial picture on a 30 minute episode of "Forensic Files." However, I see a lot articles advocating "the wait" over "the plunge." As someone who has experienced both, I want to relay the benefits of accepting the finger-rock early.
Monotony takes a backseat.
Some people think you should fully exhaust every stage of a relationship before entering the next, because if you experience it all at once, the passion smolders. I disagree. When you break it down, being engaged is basically dating, but with a financial commitment and a promise in your heart. When Chris and I decided we were ready for that, we didn't waste any time. Trust me, everyone thought we were crazy, and told us as much. We were dating four months before he proposed. People still cringe when I say that. Whereas the spark sometimes dissipates years into dating so much that the engagement feels more like a business venture, we have all the excitement of people in their first year of dating -- so our wedding planning is equally as exciting.
At a certain age, you know what you want.
I was 23 when I met Chris and he was 25. We've both had a birthday since then. Although early-mid 20s isn't old, we both have experienced relationships that have lasted longer than five years and we've experienced those couple-month quick burns. We knew what we were looking for in a significant other and the timing was right. There was no need for the additional feel-it-out time.
It puts fights into perspective.
If you are close to Chris and I, you know we have had some show downs. Some very public ones at that. But the ring on my finger puts those fights into perspective. The promise is there. Our future is impending and not a distant life event that may or may not happen. I know I am willing to put up with our fights because I am very aware of how close "forever" is. And those fights are worth it. The question isn't there, and if it were, I'd know it was time to take the ring off.
Engagement removes certain stressors.
It seems silly, and at its core, it's just another social construct, but engagement represents a more sincere promise. The jealousy and the questioning if he's "just not that into you" is out the window. We completely trust each other and I don't worry if he's constantly picturing himself elsewhere. The ring is a great creeper-blocker, too.
Early engagement isn't for everyone, but neither is waiting for it. It boils down to the couple and what is best for the two individuals involved. Your marriage is not going to succeed or fail based on when you decided to tie the knot. What keeps marriage alive is if the two people realize what that promise means and are willing to love and support each other for the rest of their lives. Sometimes you realize it after four years or four months, but whenever you do, stay true to that promise and make plans to never break it.