19 Years Old, Single and Curious: What is a Good Age to Get Married?

BY: - 23 May '17 | Relationships

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Dear Dr. Buckingham,

I’m 19 years old (not dating), and would like to be married one day. Just out of curiosity, what do you think is a good age for one to get married, and how old do you think is too young?

Thank you 🙂

Young and Curious

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Dear Young and Curious,

Thanks for asking such an important, but subjective question. Many people have different views regarding the best age to tie the knot. Because there is no magic age, my response is based both on my personal belief and professional observations as a clinical psychotherapist who has provided therapy to hundreds of couples from around the world.

I believe that 25 years old is a good age to get married. Also, I believe that it is the youngest age as well. I encourage individuals to wait until they are at least 25 years old for three reasons.

Reason #1 – Maturity Level. From a psychology perspective, maturity level is associated with development stages and one’s ability to make sound and logical decisions. According to Erik Erikson, a famous psychologist, healthy developing individuals pass through eight stages of development from infancy to late adulthood. He argues that between 13 and 19 years of age individuals are struggling with their fidelity: Identity vs. role confusion.

During this fifth stage most individuals are trying to answer the following question: Who Am I and What Can I Be? During this transitional timeframe, individuals are still trying to figure out which roles they will play as adults. It is common for them to feel confused and have mixed feelings about the specific ways they will fit into society.

However, given the right conditions and role models, individuals may develop a firm sense of who they are and what they want. Nevertheless, self-discovery is the primary focus for most individuals between ages 13-19.

Between ages 20-39, which represents the intimacy vs. isolation stage, individuals struggle with the concept of love. We begin to ask ourselves, “Can I Love?” For most, age 30 is when we put more focus on the decision to remain single (isolation) or to develop an intimate and long-term relationship. Individuals cannot develop or make long-term commitments until they have established their identities. Given this, I personally do not believe that anyone under the age of 25 should get married.

Reason #2 – Education Level. Generally speaking, it takes at least 4 years to graduate from college, which means that most individuals leave college around the age of 21 or 22. While education is not the end all and be all to marital success, it definitely plays a role.

In my professional work, I have found that individuals who have attained higher education are less likely to divorce than those who have less education. This is partially true because through the educational system, especially on the college level, individuals learn how to process and problem solve more effectively.

Also, your financial status can and will impact the marital relationship. Given this, I recommend that individuals obtain higher education, if possible, before marriage because college educated individuals typically get married later and tend to be more established financially than less educated adults.

Reason #3 – More time together means more bonding. Time is the answer to most relationship challenges and I have found that couples who date longer typically create stronger bonds, which are critical to marital success. As you navigate through early adulthood, you can grow to learn more about your potential husband. Jumping the broom should not solely be based on timeframes, however those who spend less time bonding are at greater risk of marital discord and possible divorce.

I wish you the best on your journey and please continue to ask important questions before making important decisions. By seeking guidance you are already on the right path. Some say, “age ain’t nothing but a number”, but I disagree. Age represents stages and phases in our lives. When you do decide to get married, please seek pre-marital counseling from a professional counselor.

Best regards,

Dr. Buckingham

If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to askdrbuckingham@gmail.com

Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.

About the author

Dwayne Buckingham wrote 178 articles on this blog.

Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham, author of Qualified, yet Single: Why Good Men Remain Single and Unconditional Love: What Every Woman and Man Desires in a Relationship, is a highly acclaimed international clinical psychotherapist, life coach, relationship and resiliency expert, motivational speaker and corporate consultant. He is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of R.E.A.L. Horizons Consulting Service, located in Silver Spring, Maryland. To learn more about Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham visit his website at www.DrBuckingham.com.

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3 Simple Ways to Protect Your Heart and Your Marriage

BY: - 31 May '17 | Marriage

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I’ve teamed up with Consumer Reports and am proud to be one of their paid brand ambassadors; my personal opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Consumer Reports.

Two years ago, my husband and I started getting our yearly physicals with our primary care physician, and we were shocked to find out the results of our blood tests were not so good. The doctor told both of us to lose weight and to come back in a few months. He said if our blood test results did not improve, that he may consider putting us on medication.

Wait…WHAT?

Medication…say no more.

We both decided that we did not want to start taking pills. We have so many people in our families taking pills for high blood pressure or high cholesterol or they’re on “heart” medication.

And we did not want “taking pills” to be part of our reality too.

Did you know that heart disease starts quietly, and can go from high blood pressure to clogged arteries to a full-blown heart attack? Yes, a full-blown heart attack. This was nothing to play with and Lamar and I had to get our acts together… fast.

Consumer Reports, is a non-profit organization that provides consumers with trusted information, provides resources for us to understand the stages of heart disease.

Protecting Our Hearts

Oddly enough, the same actions that we take to protect our marriage are the exact same actions that we are now taking to protect our hearts.

Step 1: Get Educated

Like most people, we didn’t come into our marriage already knowing how to have a healthy relationship. We had to get educated through books, conferences and marriage resources…basically whatever we could get our hands on.

And we did the same thing for our bodies.

Do you know your medical health history? Do you even know your important health numbers ( i.e. your blood pressure, blood cholesterol and body weight)? Do you know what type of diet you should follow to keep your heart healthy?

We didn’t. So after talking to our doctors, we did our research.

READ: The Healing Power of a Heart-Healthy Diet

Step 2: Seek Wise Counsel

There’s nothing wrong with seeking the help of counselors, mentors or trusted family members as you work to improve the health of your marriage. We did it. You just have to make sure you are getting the right advice for your marriage, because not all of your friends and family will give you the best advice.

The same goes for your body. A lot of people will give you advice about what to do and what to eat. But you should make sure that you are getting the right advice for your body.

However, there is so much information out there surrounding heart health and the prevention of heart attacks that it’s hard to know where to start. One resource that I wish I had when we started our health journey (but I’m glad we have now) is the Heart Health Report by Consumer Reports (CR.) (Consumer Reports aims to provide consumers with evidence-based information for all the critical moments along the way, to help you cut through the noise of conflicting studies and swirling, often contradictory advice.)

 

CR’s information will help you make the best possible choices about your health and well-being and will help you answer questions like: What’s the best diet for a healthy heart? Or, What’s the best hospital if I required heart surgery?

Step 2: Do the Work.

Healthy marriages don’t just happen by chance, they are the result of intentional work. And the same can be said for your body too.

Sure, there are some marriages that just work and there are some people that are just perfect physical specimens. But most of us are not that lucky, and we have to actually do something in order to achieve the results that we desire for our marriages or for our hearts.

And that is exactly what Lamar and I did.

put-in-the-workWe changed our diets.

We did at least 25 minutes of exercise 3-to-4 times a week.

We almost eliminated meat from our diets… we are not 100% Vegetarian…but we are close to it. And we eat more fruits and vegetables.

We lost some serious weight doing those things.

And when we went back to our doctor, our health numbers were good and our doctor could not get over our transformation.

10 Years Strong

My husband Lamar and I have been running this website for 10 years now (and we’ve been married for 12 years.)  For 10 years, we’ve been sharing articles and resources on how to have healthy relationships and marriages. And while we were busy telling you how to have a love that lasts a lifetime, we were not exactly doing the things that would ensure that we would be around for a lifetime to enjoy that love.

And, what’s the point in having a long-lasting marriage if you’re not around to enjoy it.

More About Consumer Reports and How We Can Help Them

Consumer Reports is a non-profit that is independent of corporate and advertising influence. Their goal is to create a fairer, safer, and healthier marketplace putting research, facts and data at the center of everything they do.

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You can help Consumer Reports by donating today for Consumer Safety. Your tax-deductible donation will help CR test the products and services you, your family, and millions of consumers use every day and to keep you informed on issues that impact consumers.

BMWK – what actions are you taking ensure that you will be around to enjoy your marriage for years to come?

I’ve teamed up with Consumer Reports and am proud to be one of their paid brand ambassadors; my personal opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Consumer Reports.

About the author

Ronnie Tyler wrote 517 articles on this blog.

Ronnie Tyler is the co-creator of BlackandMarriedWithKids.com and co-producer of the films Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage, You Saved Me, Men Ain't Boys and Still Standing. The proud mom of 4 has been selected by Parenting Magazine as a Must-Read Mom and is one of Babble's Top 100 Mom Bloggers.

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