Ask a married person their opinion about age and marriage and you will get a wide range of responses. Some will tell you that getting married before 30 is a bad idea because people should have some clarity about who they are before they jump the broom. Others might share how they got married when they were 22 and they are happily married 20 years later so age shouldn’t be a factor.
Is There Really a Right Age for Marriage?
Is there a right answer? I got married the week before I turned 30. I didn’t intentionally wait for that age; it just sort of worked out that way. Would I have married at 22? I doubt it. Not because I have some strong opinion about getting married at that age, but because I know who I was at 22 and making a life-long commitment at that stage would have been a bad idea. What about 27 or 28? Sure, I think I was ready at that point. The problem is, my husband wasn’t quite ready yet. Lucky for him I was pretty patient.
The truth is, we can all have all sorts of opinions about when people should marry—including our own children—but those opinions don’t matter much because folks get married when they think they are good and ready. And are people making a bad decision at times—marrying when they just aren’t ready for the responsibility and commitment that comes with it? Of course they are, but doesn’t that happen when people are in their thirties and forties too? Don’t people who supposedly have more age and wisdom get it wrong all the time?
What I Want for My Kids
Look, as a mother I will admit that I would prefer for my kids to wait on marriage a bit. And what does that mean? Well, it means I had a great time in my twenties and waiting on marriage gave me a chance to have experiences I would have missed if I was someone’s wife at 22. For me, my twenties was a time of self-discovery and I truly enjoyed it. Naturally, I would want my kids to experience that. But despite my personal view, I will keep it to myself unless my kids specifically ask me about it or I am concerned about far more than a number.
What Matters More Than Age
Although age at marriage can play a role in divorce, that role isn’t significant and other factors like educational attainment and socioeconomic status seem to matter far more when it come to predicting whether or not a marriage will last.
People often correlate age with maturity, but I think we have all experienced situations that proved to us that age often is just a number. And although we hope for stability and maturity in someone over 30, that may not be the case.
And some may argue that, although maturity is an important factor in developing a lasting marriage, it’s not the most important thing. It’s possible for an immature couple to grow together, isn’t it? Don’t things like love, respect, powerful faith, and a strong work ethic matter far more?
So what if you are young and engaged
So what should you do if you are pretty young and engaged to get married? Take a deep breath and be clear on who you are and where you stand. Also, be crystal clear about your why. If you feel like you have received guidance from people you admire, attended pre-marital counseling, and you’ve prayed on your choice, I wish you the very best. But regardless of age, if you have doubts, feel rushed, haven’t attending counseling, or you don’t feel certain about your choice, hit the pause button. There is no rush and true love can wait a bit.
I knew who I was when I was in my early twenties and I know who I am today. I also know that my children are not me. I don’t know what their life experiences will be, how quickly they will mature, and when love will make it’s way into their heart. All I can hope for is the ability to raise smart, well-adjusted kids who are capable to making their own decisions (yes, even when they are very young adults), and also capable of cleaning up their own mess when the decision they make is crappy—because I am not cleaning it up for them.
BMWK family, what are your thoughts on age and marriage?