I have a bone to pick with BYU culture.
Maybe it's because I watched one of my best friends go through a messy divorce after being married for less than a year (Bless her. She is one of the most fantastic and strongest people I know.), or maybe it's because I've always been a skeptic when it comes to commitment, but I don't really praise of the pace LDS members take during the dating-engagement-wedding process.
For some people, the 3 month rule works perfectly: I've known some really happy relationships spawn from a short dating period leading to an even shorter engagement. I actually applaud people for being confident enough in their choice to commit to "all time and eternity" to a person they've known for a small fraction of their life. That's a decision I could never be conformable making.
I dated my fair share of losers and men that were completely wrong for me before I met Alex. I was burned often but I learned valuable lessons on relationship warning signs.:
1. If your best friend in the entire world legitimately despises the person you're dating, that's a big red flag. Listen to your friends; they see things you don't.
2. If the person is overly clingly too quickly, it's a bad sign. You'll lose yourself in the relationship and you'll suffocate. You might even start creating unrealistic expectations for an overly romantic life.
3. If for some reason the relationship takes a bad turn, and all of a sudden you're being blamed or you're blaming yourself, that's a bad sign. Mistakes your boyfriend/girlfriend make are not your fault. If you aren't compatible, it's not your fault. If a fight comes up, it's not entirely your fault. So don't blame yourself and don't make excuses. It's not your fault.
4. Seeing how they act with their family may be one of the most important things to figure out before you make any sort of a giant commitment.
5. Always, always, always remember that life beyond the honeymoon stage is not that sweet. If you're relationship is absolutely perfect and incandescently happy, good for you! But give it a couple months, or maybe 6, or maybe 12 and see what it's like then. I'm not saying to give up after the first sign of any problem, but prepare yourself for the work that goes into a fully-committed relationship. It's not always sunshine and daisies. The longer you know each other, the better off you'll be.
6. Under no circumstances is it okay to justify or tolerate controlling behavior, mental abuse, physical abuse, derogatory name calling, being made fun of in public or paranoid behavior. If you love yourself, you'll run for the hills.
People seem to constantly be in a hurry to get married, especially at BYU. I'm obviously not the expert or the final word on the topic, but I waited over a year to marry Alex, and I'm glad I did. I don't think the 3-5 month norm is atrocious, but I do think the romantics of marriage have elevated in Mormon culture. We're so blinded by the idea of a happy, eternal marriage that we forget to take a deeper look into the person we'll be sharing eternity with.