Before becoming engaged or ever even meeting Nate, I came up with certain rules to guide my relationship choices by. These rules may or may not have been made up when I was a crazy teenage girl and I might or might not have followed them anyways...
1. Must not marry before age 25. I suppose I knew that I was too immature to settle down at a young age. I'm thanking myself now for that rule; marrying my college boyfriend would have been a baaaad thing!
2. Must date for six months before moving in. I've seen some couples become "stuck" because of moving in too quickly I didn't want to become another.
3. Must be in love for a year before getting engaged. This was the hardest rule for me to follow! I fall for people quickly, but that feeling usually fades just as fast. This rule helped keep my emotions from taking over my decision making.
4. Must live together for a year before marrying. Yeah, so I'm not traditional.
5. Must see marriage potential within a year of living together. Cow, milk, etc... he didn't have to propose within that year, but he needed to get serious by the end of it.
6. Must be together for two years before marrying. This leaves wiggle room for an engagement period. No quickie Vegas weddings/ annulments for me (no offense, Britney).
The thing is, I've realized that my rules aren't for everyone. July #1 picture above was taken in 2009 and July #2 was taken in 2010... our wedding will actually take place during our third July together. As Christmas #2 comes, I'm realizing more and more how little time we've been together compared to many 2, 3, 4, and 5-year couples that haven't yet decided to tie the knot.
I'm completely comfortable with my rules, but I'm curious what sorts of rules you all might have set for yourselves. As a single person, did you set up any relationship rules for yourself?
PS I did follow all of my rules with Nate; here's how they worked out:
1. Must not marry before age 25. We'll be 26.
2. Must date for six months before moving in. He moved in at 11 months.
3. Must be in love for a year before getting engaged. We were together for 1 year, 7 months before he proposed and in love for more than a year of that.
4. Must live together for a year before marrying. It will be 1 year, 7 months of living together.
5. Must see marriage potential within a year of living together. He proposed before that year mark.
6. Must be together for two years before marrying. It will be 2 years, 6 months.