I was listening to the radio yesterday and a catchy country song came on that caught my attention. They lyrics went “If you ain’t got two kids by twenty one you’re probably gonna die alone, at least that’s what tradition told you.” It got me thinking, what HAS tradition told us about when you should get married and start popping out babies. Is it so important in our culture that we find our “perfect match” at such a young age? To start making a living so you can afford the white picket fence and provide for your children? I am 21 years old and I know nine friends who are engaged at this moment. Of those nine, 7 are of the age of 22 or below, the youngest is 17. Being surrounded by SO MUCH young love, I thought to myself, is this normal?! Am I way behind on the track to getting married?! So, I decided to do some research about what the average age of marriage in the US actually is. In 2011 the average age for men to get married was 28.9 and for women, 26.9. Here’s some more stats for you:
– “59 percent of marriages for women under the age of 18 end in divorce within 15 years. The divorce rate drops to 36 percent for those married at age 20 or older. ” “Cohabitation, Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage in the United States,” M.D. Bramlett and W.D. Mosher
– “60 percent of marriages for couples between the ages of 20 and 25 end in divorce. ” National Center for Health Statistics
– “50 percent of all marriages in which the brides are 25 or older result in a failed marriage. ” National Center for Health Statistics
– “65 percent of altar-bound men and women live together before getting married. ” Bride’s Magazine
– “Research indicates that people who live together prior to getting married are more likely to have marriages that end in divorce.” The Boston Herald
Encouraging? Don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer in marriage and lasting love and I will be the first to say that it is possible, though I think it is important to make sure the statistics are shown in order to better prepare yourself to find a partner who you have confidence in to last a lifetime.
I don’t think you can put a perfect age on love. Whether you get married at 17 or 71 the trials and tribulations the relationships will occur will remain. I think the important thing here is to be realistic with your expectations of marriage, and make sure that you are surrounded with loved one who will encourage you to stick it out through the hard times, and defy the odds of divorce.