Just over two months after Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin got engaged, they were seen at a New York City courthouse on Thursday, September 13. Reports have been mixed—some claiming it was a civil ceremony and others claiming it was a move to get a marriage license. So, if they're not married today, it's clear the wedding is fast approaching. Both Bieber and Baldwin are religious, and it looks like they’re taking the whole marriage thing seriously, but why are they running down the aisle when they are planning to spend the rest of their lives together?
Any whirlwind relationship also has emotions wreaking havoc on their brains. Dr. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist, studies love and relationships in a highly scientific way—she puts people in brain scanners and analyzes the results. “People involve three distinctly different brain systems in mating and reproduction," she explains. "One is the sex drive, second is feelings of intense romantic love and third is feelings of deep attachment to a partner.”
If you marry very rapidly in this state of craziness, you often don’t even know who you’ve got.
When someone is madly in love, they experience what Fisher calls “positive illusions”—they overlook everything they don’t like about the other person and focus on what they do like about them. She says, “The bottom line is that in that early stage—if you marry very early in the relationship—you have a very powerful brain mechanism telling you that this is the right thing, that it will last forever. And you have a whole lot of the brain shutting down, so that you can overlook all kinds of things that you might notice in a couple of years.”
Fisher’s research shows that in the first eight months or so of a relationship, when a couple feels madly in love, their brains show activity only in regions linked with romantic love. By about 17 months into a relationship, their brains also show activity in regions linked with attachment. “Romantic love can happen instantly, but attachment in the brain takes time to grow. It takes time to really get to know somebody, to admire and respect them on a daily level, and have that attachment brain system become activated,” she describes.
The bottom line is that in that early stage—if you marry very early in the relationship—you have a very powerful brain mechanism telling you that this is the right thing, that it will last forever.
People’s behaviors tend to change after they get married, and time together prior to marriage better prepares the duo for what is ahead. “The emotional state that you see when you’re engaged, or ready to get married, may change,” Diamond mentions. The cliché that people have less sex once they’re married proves true, because "that chemistry and that passion goes away.”
A human being in a high-functioning society walks through life channeling learned behaviors and the way one acts in a marriage is no different. Some people have deeply-held ideas about what marriage looks like, and they subconsciously recreate them in their own marriage. As an example, Diamond offers, “There are people who had parents who weren’t huggy and kissy. When they’re dating, they can be huggy and kissy, but when they get married, they may not be able to be close.” However, when someone is rushing into nuptials, they don't have as much time to witness how the married couples around their partners behave—therefore being less aware of whether or not their lover's potential married behavior is right for them.
Then again, Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin met when they were kids, and even hooked up years before they made their love official. So maybe, just maybe, they're familiar with each other’s faults and romantic histories. A short engagement may spell bad news for some couples, but Bieber and Baldwin could be the rare celebrity couple that is, as Bieber’s leg tattoo says, “Better at 70.”