Good things come to those who wait.

That saying is often applied to finding the right job, finding your dream home or finding that special person in your life. It seems that today’s couples are taking that advice to heart when it comes to marriage. A recent study by Bridebook found that people are getting married later in life than ever before, and the average couple is also dating for a longer time before getting married.

The report surveyed 4,000 recently married couples and found that the average couple was together for about 4.9 years before tying the knot. Previous surveys from eharmony and Wedding Way placed that number at around three years. The extra time seems to be paying off because the Bridebook study notes that the rate of divorce is at its lowest since 1971. And 83% of couples say they felt no pressure to get married and did it because they wanted to.

That’s a far cry from the shotgun weddings of yesteryear!

Bridebook founder Hamish Shephard said the report shows modern relationships are rooted more deeply in commitment.

“Marriages are becoming stronger than ever, relationships happier and more committed than ever and couples are more independent and consensual in their decisions than ever,” he said.

John Gottman, a psychological researcher and clinician who studies divorce prediction and marital stability, said there is one clear benefit to marriage:

“People live longer if they are in marital relationships, particularly if they are in good, satisfying relationships,” he said.

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