To marry or not to marry? That’s not the question most young people ask. But when it comes to the right time to marry, there are as varied answers as there are people. The general answer to that question is; it depends on individuals. True. But what do marriage counselors and psychologists advice is the ideal age to get married? Some studies have suggested that a 25+ year old bride would be ideal because she will more likely have higher education and hence more money.
“Educated women tend to be more confident about who they are and less willing to settle for a man who doesn’t meet their standards,” according to Terri Orbuch, PhD, speaking to Cosmopolitan.
Across different countries and cultures, couples are increasingly pushing marriage to their late 20’s – early 30’s which is a major shift compared to 20 years ago. Our parents most likely got married in their early 20’s. The National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia published a report, “Knot Yet”, which described how the 21st century woman wants to ‘have her act together’ before she settles down, which basically means; a good education and a stable job. The report describes the 20’s as the ‘Odyssey Years’, marked by ‘fun, travel, school, jobs and multiple relationships instead of the marriages that earlier generations used as launching pads to family life.’
“Clearly, waiting has an upside for some. Women who can get their education and experience in their 20s and marry in their 30s clearly benefit professionally from taking that approach,” said Bradford Wilcox, Director of the Marriage Project.
The Knot Yet report sampled couples who got married at different ages in relational to divorce rates.
“Within five years, 31 percent of teen marriages end in divorce, compared to 15 percent of mid-20s marriages and 11 percent of mid-30s marriages.”
However, the report notes that women who married in their 20s are more likely to say they are ‘very happy’ in marriage. The downside of single women past 30 years is that the options become less, hence high possibility of bringing down the ‘ideal-partner’ threshold or in other words, ‘lower the standard’.
But the bigger-picture is that age is not the most important factor in determining the quality of a marriage. Professor Glenn, University of Texas picked variables from five variables from 5 different sets that, in addition to age, impact the quality of marriage:
- Premarital cohabitation
- Having parents who are divorced
- Educational attainment
- General maturity and personal commitment to the idea of marital longevity
- Having healthy marriage attitude and behaviours modeled by both sets of parents
- Involvement in a healthy church/faith setting that takes marriage seriously
- Completed meaningful premarital counseling