On November 9th, 2008, USA Today published an article called, “Sooner vs. later: Is there an ideal age for first marriage?” by Sharon Jayson. This question is never actually answered in the article. The conclusion to this, although shaky, is that the age of couples tying the knot is increasing.
The article is filled with lots of people’s opinions, unpublished research and about a 50/50 average on whether it is better to get married earlier or later.
This article struck me on a professional and personal note. I am a single, 32 year old, wedding coordinator.
On a personal level, I put my schooling and career before marriage. However, for my particular age group I am a rarity. Most of my high school friends are married with children, a lot of them right out of high school.
On a professional level, I have not seen the average age of brides and grooms increase. They are all about 23-26 getting married for the first time.
Now there are two points that should be pointed out, 1) is it right for you? and 2) does getting married later in life reduce the divorce rate?
I know that, for me, waiting until after I was done with college and had started my career was right for me. That doesn’t necessarily mean it is right for everyone.
As for the second question, does getting married later in life help the divorce rate, well we would have to look at Census numbers to be sure, but this article doesn’t really reference any Census information other than a brief glimpse from the American Council on Education. Census numbers taken from, for example, people that graduated high school in 1995 with the criteria of when they got married, if they got divorced and how long they were married before they got divorced. Along with one taken of people from, for example, 30 years ago that got married in their 30s and 40s with the same criteria.
This would give us a good, but still not completely accurate, look at what trends could be emerging.
My favorite part of the article is when John Van Epp, the clinic counselor, said that women are counting on science to keep them fertile until they are ready to being having children. I am not even sure where to start with this quote. Is it true? Maybe, but does that mean when women turn 30 and they have not started having children they should just give up and quite bothering the fertility clinics? There are many women, in today’s society, that are not even waiting to get married to have children.
My final thoughts on this article is that it has a great topic, but no conclusion or consensus on whether or not it is better to wait to get married or do it while you are young. I think it is a matter of personal preference and overall maturity. If you are ready to take that step then you should, but there is nothing wrong with living a little first either.