(based on the book WHEN – The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink)
“There is a time for everything.”
The Science of Perfect Timing
Statistics don’t lie. Believe it or not, there is a science behind perfect timing. There is a perfect timing to start somethings, like a new diet, and a perfect timing to end somethings, even a marriage. Of course, there’s also a perfect timing for a break, whether a tea break or a break between a couple to have some fresh air.
Based on statistical evidence over time, certain trends and patterns can be observed on the seasonality of human behaviours and events. In the case of love and marriage, statistics can also tell a story about the best timings to 1. get married, 2. take a break, and 3. call it quits.
Best Timings in Love
1. When to get married
According to guidelines offered by statistics, the optimum age to get married is 32. Apparently, the rate of divorce increases for those who got married earlier as well as later than 32. Of course, given that this is an average, some allowances should be made for gender, culture, religion, location, education and other factors. For example, it is advisable to get married after completing education it seems, statistically speaking. And it also lowers divorce rate if couples have dated for an average of about a year before getting married.
2. When to take a break
In more ways than one, the state of performance around the midpoint usually slumps, for example, your work efficiency during mid-day, mid-life crisis etc. The midpoint may also create what Daniel Pink calls the “uh-oh effect”, when people realized that they are at the half-way and suddenly gained a sense of urgency about the remaining half. This may spell change for a long-term relationship. A break is therefore recommended to reset the system so that one could be energized to start afresh. Like a midday power nap proven to be productivity-boosting, a well-timed break from old patterns and behaviours in relationship may spark renewed passion and motivation to carry on.
3. When to call it quits
Last but not least, when would be the best timing to end a relationship? Apparently there are better timings than others to execute on endings. In the US, the peak months for divorce are March and August. Generally people stayed together during the winter holidays and the moment they no longer need to appear together for family gatherings and festivities, they headed to the lawyers’ offices. The peak in August was explained by the ending of school holidays, when parents no longer needed to be together for the kids all the time.
Of course, the pure seasonality gives way to the specific circumstances of the couple, and whether a decision has been made. The article on Relationship Ambivalence helps to clarify on making this tough decision and whether this decision should be taken, before one think about the question of when.
Make Good Use of the Science of Perfect Timing
Timing is only as good as how you use it. The general seasonality and circumstances should definitely be considered in finding the better timing to do something. Most importantly, it is also about finding one’s own right timing to do the right thing for oneself.
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