When Is The "Right" Time To Get Married?

Is there really a correct time to tie the knot with a partner?
Is there a right time to get married?
Image Source: Pixabay

I'm 21 years old and many of my friends around the same age as me are getting engaged to be married or will soon be engaged. It leaves me with a few questions: Should I be getting married soon? Am I too young to be getting married? When is the "right" time to get married?

A good age for marriage is a quite common question for people. That is why I thought I would do some research on the topic and discuss my findings with you here. First, we must take a look at how the average age for marriage has changed over the generations.

At What Age Did People Get Married in the Past?

According to a survey done by the Pew Research Center, 59% of American adults 18-29 years old were married in the 1960s. At that time, the average age for women to get married was 20 years old and almost 23 years for men. In the graph shown below, the age to get married steadily increased over the last 50 years. 

finding that age for marriage increases over time
Image Source: Pew Research Center

In 2020, the average age for women to get married was around 28 years old and 30 years old for men, as per the research done by the United States Census Bureau. What is causing people to wait longer to marry in modern times? Why did people get married so young in the past?

Marrying at a Young Age

In the past, a major component of American culture was marriage and procreation, starting a family. To create a family, a woman needs to be fertile. Fertility in women is best at a relatively young age, in the early to mid-twenties. With this in mind, couples got married younger so that they could begin their families sooner and easier.

Now, more people are choosing not to get pregnant and have kids. However, people who do want to start a family are waiting longer for financial, personal, and other reasons.

Additionally, couples who marry young have the opportunity to grow up together. They can go through many "firsts" together in life. For example, young couples will rent an apartment or house for the first time. They can each buy their first cars together. People experience most of their firsts during their late teens and early twenties. Many couples prefer to go through these major life events together.

However, other couples would like to get all of that sorted before they make a lifelong commitment to each other.

These are just a few explanations as to why the age for marriage has increased over time. 

Marrying at an Older Age

People are waiting to get married for a variety of reasons. Firstly, many individuals feel as though they need to fully mature before committing to someone for the rest of their lives.

It has been found that a person's brain finishes developing at the age of 25 years old. When someone has a fully matured brain, they can better understand the process of serious decision-making, weighing all the advantages and disadvantages. People can comprehend ideas like marriage and every aspect of it when they're older and more mature.   

Another reason people wait to marry is for financial reasons. Some people might not feel comfortable getting into a marriage relationship and sharing money or a bank account if that's what they want to do. For example, right out of college, people have a mass amount of student debt to pay. They may not want to get married until they pay that off so their spouse doesn't have to share that heavy burden.

Overall, I believe a lot of people nowadays prefer to wait longer to marry their partner because they still have so much to experience or figure out in life.

There is no right time
Image Source: Jeremy Wong | Pexels

So, When is the "Right" Time to Get Married?

The truth is that there is no "right" time to marry your partner. Every couple is on their journey. You can't compare your relationship's timeline to that of your best friend's or sibling's. Just because you know a couple that only dated for six months and already got engaged does not mean you have to hurry your partner of three years and get engaged as fast as possible. Everyone is different. 

What's vital when deciding to spend the rest of your life with someone is that you feel ready to take that next step in life. You and your partner must understand what you both want and expect from the relationship if you want a successful marriage.

Here are some questions to reflect on before you say "I do"

If you and your partner want children in the future, how will you raise them?

My partner and I recently had this discussion. For as long as I can remember, I never even wanted to have children. However, I realized my experience with children has been very limited. It seemed unfair to blindly decide (especially while I'm still so young) to never consider having my own child to raise.

Raising a child sounds like one of the most difficult tasks for an adult. That is why parents must work well together and communicate how they wish to raise their kids. How will you educate them? If you're religious, will you teach your children about it? What kinds of morals will they learn from you? How will you discipline them? A couple must be on the same page about these kinds of ideas before marriage so that they won't run into problems in the future. 

Do you two share the same beliefs or values? If not, do you think that will have a significant impact on your marriage relationship?

I have religious beliefs and my partner doesn't identify with any religion. We had a mature conversation about how that duality will affect our marriage relationship. I told him that I expect my future spouse to at least respect my religion, but they don't have to believe in it. Religion is the core of my existence, so it's important to me that it is respected. My partner completely understood my wishes and we agreed that it will not be an issue for us.

How will you two handle financial issues if/when they occur?

Financial problems are one of the most common reasons why many marriages end in divorce. Couples need to plan a budget or come to a financial compromise so they can handle money responsibly as a team.

One great way to avoid "money arguments" is to keep separate bank accounts. That way, either person in the relationship is held accountable for their own savings and spending. They don't need to worry about budgeting a joint bank account and setting restrictions. Either person is handling their own money.

Whenever you two argue, do you resolve it in healthy ways?

Arguments, tension, or heated moments with your partner are natural in any kind of relationship. Not every moment in a relationship is a pleasant one. If such a negative situation were to occur, how will you approach it? How will you resolve the issue at hand? I heard this quote a while ago and it still resonates with me: in an argument, it's you and your partner vs. the problem, not you vs. your partner.

Stay cool, calm, and collected when tension arises. Take the time to understand each other's perspectives.

How will you and your partner balance your work life and relationship?

There were a few long years when my parents would take turns at home caring for me and my sister when we were younger. My dad would work from the early mornings into the afternoons. When he got home, my mom would leave for work in the evenings. They had little to no free time to be together and be a couple.

Plan a specific day or time during the week to spend quality time with each other as a couple. Go on a date, watch a movie, do a craft together, the options are endless. As long as you two keep each other as a priority, then everything will be fine. 

Why do you want to be with this person for the rest of your life?

I know this is a vague and loaded question to ask yourself. Also, there doesn't have to be just one answer, to sum up why you want your partner to become your forever spouse.

For our one-year anniversary, I made my partner a little booklet with 365 reasons why I love him and what I love about him. The process of crafting this booklet, helped me reflect on his character, his identity. It made me fall even more in love with him and confirmed that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him.

Take the time to sit with yourself, maybe grab a notebook and a pencil, and think deeply about your partner's attributes. Is that who you want to spend forever with? 

How do you plan to help this relationship thrive throughout your marriage?

Love is hard work. Marriage is hard work. A successful relationship and marriage take effort from both partners. Either person should be willing to dedicate time and effort to maintain a healthy relationship if they want to last a lifetime.

23 | uni graduate | aspiring author | overthinker | theatre kid

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