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The Right Age To Get Married

Updated on March 15, 2010

Different people mature at different speeds and there is no way an across the board stroke can be made to cover all people.

That being said, I’m stating for the record that in general for the majority of people, it’s just not a bright idea to get married when you’re under 30 years old. In general 30 and over is the right age to get married.

The Centers for Disease Control has a tremendous amount of statistics on marriage and divorce. It’s staggering how high the odds of your marriage failing are, if you marry under the age of 30. The graph below is from Divorce Peers as presented by one of the top Google Answers researchers bobbie7-GA

Age at marriage for those who divorce in the United States

The Reasons

There are many wrong reasons to get married: Pregnancy, financial reasons, or to get away from family. Compounding a bad situation or a mistake, with another mistake, is never wise. These mistakes happen more frequently before the age of 30: Wanting to get out of the parent's house and unplanned pregnancy especially.

Two significant events happen prior to turning 30. One is the development of frontal lobes. The other is the Saturn Return.

Frontal lobes are a part of the brain of mammals, located at the front part of the cerebral hemispheres. They can develop anytime between the ages of 18 and 24. For males, the development is later, and more dramatic. Frontal lobes are the center of our emotional being and personality. As they develop, a person becomes able to truly grasp concepts like long term commitment, and consequence. Additionally, the person develops their own feelings regarding these concepts.

Basically, it isn't physically possible for most 20 year old boys to grasp consequence, or know how they feel about commitments. Therefore, it's not actually possible for that boy to understand or know enough to enter into a contract that is supposed to cover the rest of his life. It has nothing to do with being emotionally mature, responsible, or in love. It's a physiological impossibility.

Anyone who's read my HUBS knows I've gotten many comments and emails from women claiming their boyfriends were all gung-ho on marriage and kids, then turned 21 or 22 and did a complete 180. That's because the guy grew up. His brain developed and he understood for the first time how really big a commitment marriage and children are. They stop romanticizing it, they stop overestimating themselves and underestimating how huge these steps really are. They began to look at reality correctly for the first time. They take it more seriously, and they reflect on what it actually means to be committed in a complete way, for 50 or 60 years.

The second major change occurs to people around the age of 27 - 28. It's called the Rites of Passage, or the Saturn Return. Recognized in many cultures as the true beginning of adulthood, this isn't a physiological change, it's a spiritual awakening. It involves accepting yourself and being able to focus in on what it is that you want to do with your life. Many times it brings with it confirmation of the path you've already paved, so it involves no obvious changes. But sometimes it is that moment that teaches you that you're on the wrong path, or with the wrong person, or that you just want something different than what you always thought you had.

Of course there are exceptions, but in general marrying prior to these two significant events is not the brightest of ideas.

There is a third life event, often referred to as the Midlife Crisis. This is when a person, usually in their 40's, re-evaluates where they are in life, what they have and what they've done. Regrets settle in. Fears of the future on their path become acute.

In general, if the Saturn Return a person goes through is a good one, the decisions they make afterward are the right ones. Thus, pretty much eliminating the Midlife Crisis.

However, if the decisions a person makes in their twenties were the wrong ones for them, the Midlife Crisis is where they crack. A woman may realize she has never been independent, never lived on her own and supported herself. Never studied things she was interested in, never had a career, or even a job she actually loved. A man may realize he never followed his dreams, or that he denied himself dating a variety of people and therefore doesn't know if the life he picked was the right one. The questions and what-if's can be crippling and cause depression, and instigate divorce.

It's not exactly the exception, as much as it is a wonderful chain of events, if you've gotten married way too young and it's worked.

The exact same phases apply, they just develop in an incredibly lucky way. So, it is possibly that you meet your life mate in high school. You marry at age 20. His frontal lobes develop and he realizes he is completely ready to take on forever, with you. You both go through your Saturn Return which does nothing but reinforce your focus on exactly what you've been doing all along. Yes, of course this is possible. But it's not the norm. Going through those 2 major life events to discover you've made all the right decisions for yourself, is absolutely possible, and wonderfully lucky. But I'm not writing this HUB for the wonderfully blessed. I'm writing a guide for the rest of us, the majority of us, who discover they've changed.

I've given you the facts, and now I'll give you my two cents too. I believe you need to be a complete person before you can be a good partner: Not only for your own best interest but also to be able to maintain the attraction and respect of your partner. You have to be self sufficient, independent, and strong. You have to love yourself, and what you do, and who you are. In my opinion, you can't really achieve that level of mature secure self prior to the age of 29 or 30. Trying to choose a life partner prior to achieving that sense of security and self-worth will surely lend to choosing wrong.

I also believe you should marry the person that you love, that makes you feel safe and secure and complete and beautiful. I believe if you have to talk them into it, it's wrong. I believe if you have to trick them, trap them, pressure them or otherwise coerce them, that you'll be very sorry one day.


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  • Rochelle Frank profile image

    Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

    I agree with all that you've said. Many people marry too young. and after stating that I will say that I was almost 20 when I got married 48 years ago.(Still married to the same guy.) My mom and dad were married for almost 60 years when he passed away-- she being 17 and he 22 when they tied the knot.

  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 7 years ago from NY

    Ah Rochelle Frank, you beat me to the punch of what my next HUB was going to be! That these are different times. My grandparents married very young and were very happy together for their whole lives. Conversely my parents married in the mid 60's when they were under 21, and were absolutely miserable. I grew up as a product of that. Of course I know exceptions to the rule, or at least people that went through the changing stages to find they'd made the right decision. But more often than that, I get comments and mail stating the opposite. Since the divorce facts support that marrying under 30 your odds of divorce are more than doubled, I based this HUB on the obvious.

    Thanks so much for your comment. It's great to see you.

  • Rochelle Frank profile image

    Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

    You are right, of course. Different times.

    I grew up thinking it was supposed to be forever. My parents had lots of lifelong friends and most of them married right after high school. I can only remember one who was divorced-- and she divorced two or three times.

  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 7 years ago from NY

    Ah yes. I wrote another HUB

    that gets into exactly this. It was a different time. Courting was different. A woman could feel sure the man that was dating her was going to propose. The entire structure or relationships was different. Nowadays, some things have dramatically changed. I'm not saying for the better, I'm just noting that they've changed. The rest needs to catch up.

  • profile image

    AARON99 7 years ago

    A very beautiful hub on this topic. Specially, the astrological side is very informative. Anyone can follow the astrological side and try to save the marriage. Well done. Keep writing. Enjoy.

  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 7 years ago from NY

    AARON99, Thanks so much. That age, the Saturn Return, is the Rites of Passage age in so many cultures. I changed alot during that time, and I think most people do too. You just figure yourself out and what you want, and what you will do with your life, in a very real and amazing way.

  • sheila b. profile image

    sheila b. 7 years ago

    I understand what you wrote, and it makes sense, yet what I've seen is that so much of a marriage working is the determination both have to stay together, no matter what age they married.

  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 7 years ago from NY

    shelia b, when someone goes through those major changes and discovers they do feel the way they thought they had, that determination kicks in. So, yes, exactly. And when they go through those two life changes and discover they feel completely differently then they previously had, they can be mature or responsible enough to be determined to make their mistakes work. So again, yes. But determination in and of itself doesn't change the fact that the person went through these two major life changes. But being responsible for yourself and having determination in your life is a fantastic quality, and a very very good point. Thanks!

  • Neet8 profile image

    Neet8 7 years ago

    Wow, excellent write!!! And so true. I gave up drinking at age 29 which was around the time of my Saturn return and it was most definitely a spiritual awakening. At 40 I did suffer a mid life crisis, in that I felt a failiure in life and with my career. However now, at 41 I have managed to regain balance in my mind body and spirit and this has helped me in my relationship with my boyfriend. I met my boyfriend when I was 35 and he was 41. We have been together 6 years and life just gets better. We often discuss how we both were when we were younger and it's amazing how different we both were, in terms of how we saw the world. Thank you so much for your enlightening and educational hub.

  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 7 years ago from NY


    Thanks so much for the comment! It is amazing how things work sometimes. I'm happy for you that you have celebrated your journey including the changes you've been through. Best to you and your boyfriend.

  • profile image

    matneybrat21 7 years ago

    so what age would you say the nowadays young girl would reach her maturity and recognize what a commitment is?? how would that level of commitment be measured now a days as well??.. many measure it by gifts, dates and material things as such, others like my self.. take in the little things relationships have to offer and loyalty as a high regard as well.. all to fit into a vision of the future hoping it all fits like a puzzle and stays together until the future is 'now' and continue to make it all work.. i feel i am ready for forever with him.. i have never strayed and i have stayed truely loyal to only him for 7 years, since i was 14 and am now 22...i dont know if all of that would be included in the ' ready for commitment' stage of what people go through..... any comments???? from anyone would be appreciated.... matneybrat21

  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 7 years ago from NY


    This Hub is what I think for nowadays, and applies to women as well as men. The history shared applies exactly as I said in the hub. It doesn't change the fact that there is a major physiological change in the early twenties, and then a maturity awakening in the late twenties.

    You used the word "girl" instead of woman, and that's a real giveaway here. Having never experienced what the world has to offer by limiting all your dating experience through the growing years to only one person has greatly narrowed and limited your ability to know yourself. I can absolutely without a doubt guarantee you that when you are 35, you will be a different person in many ways from the person you are now, and you will want entirely different things for yourself and your life. Since there is no rush to get married, you shouldn't be in.

  • profile image

    matneybrat21 7 years ago

    WOW!!! it seems you have the right answer for everything... or at least a greater grasp on whats out there than i do... i just wanted to say i am glad i accidently stumbled across your site and i am truely thankful for all of your help...

  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 7 years ago from NY


    You are most welcome. It's so hard to be 21 or 22 and try to grasp all the things that are ahead that you can't wrap your brain around yet. I give you a lot of credit for even trying.

    Patience is really the way to go here. Just chill. Enjoy your awesome boyfriend, go to school, be open to things. You're life is ahead of you.

    Best to you.

  • Amberheart profile image

    Amberheart 7 years ago from Everywhere GREAT!

    Great Hub Makes me think about marriage a little differently. Im 23 and I was thinking i might get marreid @ 26 but I dont know now.

  • cbris52 profile image

    cbris52 7 years ago

    I'm certainly in no rush to be married... especially after reading your hub.. Thanks for the great input!

  • profile image

    smitty37 7 years ago

    I had no idea about the changes we go through, especially the brain development. When I was 20 I thought I knew everything. I got engaged and married a nice girl and had kids. Just 2 years later I was ready to kill myself. I was shocked at how much I had changed. I didn't think it would be the way it was. It was horrible. And you are right. When I was turning 30 I didn't change I don't think but I realized so much about myself.

    Now here I am 37 and completely trapped. I never got to go to college. I never pursued my painting. I never dated different girls. I resent my wife and kids even though it isn't there fault. I wish someone had told me this when I was 20. Would I have listened? I don't know.

  • profile image

    me 6 years ago

    Can someone answer this question plz. I need to know the percentage of people that get married under the age of 21 in Australia. Does anyone know? Im doing a debate about this and I just cant find the answer! plz plz plz help me!

  • profile image

    leah 6 years ago


    I really loved your article, it seems really insightfull and sensible. I would like to ask you some input on my current situation: I am 34 and 3 months ago I broke up with my 27-year-old boyfriend. We had been dating for 3 years and loved each other very much. After 3 years, I asked him how he saw his future and if I happened to be in it. He said that he thought I was the woman of his dreams and that in 2 years we would get married. One month later he came to me and said he was not sure about it, if in 2 years he would be ready to get married. I told him that as much as I loved him, I could not go on with him if he had doubts and we broke up. I basically feel that if after 3 years he is still not sure, we had better break it off. I told him we had a timing issue. It is really heartbreaking because we really love each other a lot and get along really well but I felt that was the best decision at the time because if he had doubts maybe after being apart he could sort out his feelings but I also feel I cannot wait for him, that I should go out and meet other people. What really interested me in your article was the Saturn Return thing. He will be 28 next February, but I feel he is really more mature than other guys his age. What do you think about our situation? Do you feel it is wrong for me to harbor any kind of hope? Or should I move on for good and not look back? I think the world doesn't need another divorce or bad marriage and would really like to make the wisest decision here.

  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 6 years ago from NY


    What I think is this. You shouldn't be in a relationship that makes you feel unhappy. You shouldn't live your life waiting for other people to change so that you can get what you want. He may one day be ready for marriage, he may never be ready. The point is, you shouldn't be waiting on someone else for your happiness. If the relationship as it was wasn't enough for you, then you did the right thing to end it.

    The Saturn Return makes perfect sense here. He was believing things and honestly planning his life, and then everything changed. The world got bigger and he realized there was so much more involved than just wanting things. His coming back to you and saying he wasn't ready makes perfect sense: he began that Rites of Passage. He may be very mature for his age, but he's still going through a very real and natural part of growth.

    I really want to explain something to you, and I really want you to understand this. You have every right to want a certain kind of life for yourself. You're allowed to want to get married, you're at a great age for it and it's great that you feel sure about the path you want to be on. But please understand, it is equally as alright for this man not to know, not to feel sure, not to be at a great age to get married, and not to be rushing his way through life making decisions he is not ready to make.

    Your message is accusing of him. Saying he should know by now. He should be sure after this many years, because you were. That's just wrong. He's allowed to be on his path and to be his age, and to be on his own time table, and he's completely allowed not to be sure or ready.

    Good luck to you.

  • profile image

    Leah 6 years ago

    Hi, Veronica,

    Thank you very much for your anserw. Actually, I may have sounded accusing but I understand completelly his side of things. I don't want him rushing anything or doing anything before he is ready. It was really hard for me to say goodbye because I really love him a lot. But I could not go on like that. I understand neither of us is wrong and I feel that, sad as it is, the best thing for both of us was to part ways. I am really glad I met such a wonderful person and lived such a beautiful relationship. No regrets and no har feelings, really.

  • profile image

    paused 5 years ago

    Hi Veronica,

    I've been following and reading your articles. Your words really resonate with me. I've been together with my girlfriend for over a year now and we've been seriously thinking about getting engaged/taking steps toward marriage. I'm 27 and she's 26. She's a wonderful and awesome girlfriend. I love our life together. She cares for me and accepts me for who I am. I told her a few months ago that we had to meet each others' families before I could seriously consider asking her to marry me. Well, we finally met both our families recently. I couldn't be more thrilled by our trips... her family welcomed me, and my family think she's great. Not only that, she's coming home with me to visit my family again for Thanksgiving, and her family is giving up their traditional Christmas traditions to visit us on the East coast.

    However, I'm a little hesitant. I used to be engaged to an ex-gf who I dated for 6 years and so I feel like I know the "routine" of being engaged. I was mostly miserable during that engagement. (My ex has proposed to me, which I was surprised and wasn't thrilled about - why I didn't break it off then I don't know) I realize looking back, I wasn't in a healthy relationship - the woman I was with didn't care about the things I wanted, and I didn't stand up for what I wanted or needed. I finally had the courage to break things off before we got married and I'm glad I did because I feel that I've learned so much about myself and from that experience.

    I think my biggest worry that my current gf might not know what she's getting into. Maybe perhaps because that's the position I was in 3 years ago? (By the way, she does know I've been engaged before and we've talked about why I broke things off with my ex. We're pretty familiar with the other person's dating history if that's relevant)

    The thing is, I know we're at an age where many of our friends or co-workers are getting engaged or married. She'll comment on the number of weddings we're invited to, or if someone just recently got engaged. I feel that I want to keep enjoying what we share together now without rushing into marriage. It's possible that I'm giving her mixed signals... moving in together, looking at engagement rings, making the effort to meet her family but then not busting out a ring? I feel like we're progressing in a very natural way and I like how it is now.

    I guess part of my worry is that she sometimes spends a large amount of time looking at rings and collecting wedding ideas. Like, maybe she's more enamored with the idea of a wedding than getting married to me. I feel like there's pressure on me when she assures that she's doing it for fun. Even saying she'll stop looking at the sites if it's making me uncomfortable. I know she's willing to compromise - such as telling me to not spend too much money on the ring, or that we can work around the wedding budget - and I tell her that I want her to be proud of the ring I give her and that I have a ring budget in mind already.

    I find it ironic that you've mentioned in other HUBS how men will drag their feet with a gf, end the relationship and then marry the next woman they date. I feel like I'm in a somewhat similar position. I really love my girlfriend and look forward to the day I propose to her. I can't imagine my life without her; we're both very strong individuals and make a great team together. I don't think either of us depend on each other for happiness but rather, we augment the joy we have in our lives with one another. Something we've both commented and marveled about before. I bought a condo a few months ago and asked her to live with me. We were already living together prior but with roommates. But now we're living together on our own which has been great. Not only that, we have 2 cats together. We've looked at many different engagement ring styles so I even know what style she likes.

    I guess what I'm asking is how can I ask my girlfriend to wait? I can sense her impatience, and I want to do this right.. but I also want to do this on my own terms. I believe she's willing to wait, but I worry that she's expecting a proposal any day now.

    I feel a little crazy not marrying her right away (that's how awesome she is and how we are together) but I want to make sure that we're doing the right thing for the right reasons.

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