The best age to marry is when you meet the right person by L. Bonos – editorial responding to study that says if you marry past 30 your marriage is doomed

The best age to marry is when you meet the right person – editorial responding to study that says if you marry past 30 your marriage is doomed

A study came out about a week ago that said if you marry in your early 30s, your marriage was likely to end in divorce. I don’t recall the study mentioning first marriages that occur past one’s mid 30s.

I was going to write a blog post pointing out some of the issues I have with that study, but just the other day I came across this editorial, which raises some of the same points I was going to.

(Link): The best age to marry is when you meet the right person by Lisa Bonos

July 24, 2015

As you’ve probably read, we now know the (Link): best age to get married: There’s a low risk of divorce when tying the knot at 28 to 32, not too young and not all that old, either. Slate called it (Link): the Goldilocks Theory of Marriage. declared: (Link): Math Says This Is the Perfect Age to Get Married.

So if you married your sweetheart in that sweet spot: Congratulations. I wish you a lifetime of statistically probable happiness. But if you’re single, younger than 28 or older than 32, and want to marry someday: Pay little attention to that chart.

Age isn’t the only thing that determines marital happiness. I imagine that marrying at the “right” time — and picking the wrong person — could also increase your chances of divorce.

You can’t plot the path of your life ahead of time, as if it were a chart waiting for you to fill in the data points — especially when those life events depend on other people.

You can decide to move somewhere by a certain age, sure, or save up a certain amount of money to buy a house or a car months or years in the future. But you can’t decide ahead of time exactly when you will marry, have a child or make a certain amount of money.

There are other people or factors involved: potential partners, fertility fluctuation, employers, the economy at large. I don’t have a new study here to back me up, but in my experience — not as a sociologist or economist, but as a person — trying to control all that can make you crazy.

These kinds of news stories, on top of cultural expectations that a person “should” marry and settle down by a certain age, all tell singles that don’t fit into these graphs: You’re doing it wrong. You’re doomed. But dating as if you must (Link): be married by age 32 — or whatever your self-imposed “deadline” is — can be pretty miserable and unproductive.

In my experience, deadline-dating has looked like this: First dates asking me about my five-year plan or how large a family I want.

When I got these questions in my early 20s, like most recent college graduates, I barely had a five-month plan, let alone a picture of what my life might look like in my late 20s, 30s and beyond. I knew, even at that young age, that no matter how many plans you make, life has a way of blowing them up. And being on early dates that are essentially spouse interviews are fun for no one.

Hey, how about we talk about what our lives are like now before projecting into the future? Sounds like a better, and much saner, place to start.

In her recent book “The Real Thing: Lessons on Love and Life from a Wedding Reporter’s Notebook,” my Washington Post colleague Ellen McCarthy has written about her own panic at being 30 and unmarried. She’d wake at 3 a.m. worrying: “What if it never happens? What if I don’t find the right guy? What if it happens too late?”

“Most of all, I worried that all this incessant worrying would cloud my judgment,” (Link): McCarthy writes. “I didn’t want to marry someone I wasn’t in love with just because my eggs were creeping toward their ‘past due’ date.” So she froze some eggs and immediately relaxed: “The night terrors eased,” she writes. “Dating became (kind of) fun.”

McCarthy married the guy she was dating when she froze those eggs, and they now have two beautiful children.

I’d rather focus on her story — and those of others who haven’t found the love of their life but do love their lives — than fear-mongering data. So my takeaway for singles reading these studies is: If you want to tie the knot, the best age to get married is when you meet the right person, and both of you are eager to marry each other.


Related Posts:

(Link): College Women, Don’t Listen to Marriage Concern Trolls

(Link): True Love Waits . . . and Waits . . . and Waits – editorial about delayed marriage and related issues

(Link): A Table For One: Critical Reading of Singlehood, Gender and Time (podcast and free book on singleness from author Kinneret Lahad)

(Link): Every Successful Relationship is Successful For The Same Exact Reasons by M. Manson

(Link):  Let’s Kiss Dating Hello – Ring By Spring Culture at Christian Campuses, by N. Sheets

(Link): Want To But Can’t – The One Christian Demographic Being Continually Ignored by Christians Re: Marriage

(Link): A Response by Colon to Regnerus Re: Misguided Early Marriage Propaganda

(Link): Want To But Can’t – The One Christian Demographic Being Continually Ignored by Christians Re: Marriage

(Link): The Irrelevancy To Single or Childless or Childfree Christian Women of Biblical Gender Complementarian Roles / Biblical Womanhood Teachings

(Link): Otherhood – An overlooked demographic – the Childless and Childfree Women and Singles Especially Women Who Had Hoped to Marry and Have Kids But Never Met Mr. Right (links)

(Link): The Nauseating Push by Evangelicals for Early Marriage

(Link): A Case Against Early Marriage by Ashley Moore (editorial)

(Link): The advantages to getting engaged at age 37, by Patricia Beauchamp

(Link): Myths About Never Married Adults Over Age 40

(Link): The Stupid Advice We Give To Single Women Over 40 (from the Current Conscience Blog)

(Link): First Time Marriage for Man and Woman Both Over Age 40

(Link): This dad is glad he postponed fatherhood (commentary – first time father at age 40 or older)

(Link): Never-Married Men Over 40: Date-able or Debate-able?

(Link): Woman’s First Marriage at Age 40+

(Link):  Why It May Be Wiser For Women to Enter First Marriage At Age 40+ – especially ones from religious or conservative families

Link): Stop Telling Women Their Most Valuable Asset Is Their Youth (From Time)

(Link): Men Become ‘Invisible’ And Lose Sex Appeal At 39 – Article from Daily Caller

(Link): Obnoxious, Condescending, Sexist Esquire Editorial by 50-Something Year Old Man, Tom Junod: “In Praise of 42 Year Old Women” – Condescendingly Reassures 40 Something Women He’d Sex Them Up

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