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When is a good time in life to get married?

Updated on March 3, 2009

So when is a good time to get married?

Consider first the obvious pitfall: The divorce rate has climbed to 50%. Granted, the positive change in a woman's potential in society plays some part in that, but another factor plays a much larger part.

We don't stop growing once we reach adulthood. Sure, we stop growing physically, but mentally and emotionally, we still learn and develop mentally and emotionally. No matter what your age, think about what goals and dreams you had 5 years ago. How have they changed since then? What do you want out of life now and how does that differ from what you wanted then?

One of the great fallacies young adults follow is that they reach a point where they believe they have life all figured out, that they know exactly what they want out of it. However, as you grow older, your priorities change and what motivations drive you may change. The person you are 28 years of age has a lot of differences from the person you were at 23.

At a young age, you really don't have it figured out... but then people meet The One (at least for the time being) and decide the time to marry has come. They marry, buy a house and start a family. Many, many people get married in their early 20's. They meet someone that they consider to be The One, and rush to seal the deal on a marriage, a new home, maybe even kids.

But we all change over time. Who was perfect for you at 23 may not be so perfect at 28. In fact, that person could hold you back from what you want out of life. And you could say the same of your mate, and how they see you.

Is it any wonder, then, that the divorce rate got so high? Before suffrage and similar movements furthered women's rights, women had no prospects other than to marry a successful man. Even if either side ultimately soured on the relationship, so what? Where could the wife go otherwise? Add in society's scathing view on divorcees in the eras preceding today, and it didn't matter what anyone thought of marriage: it was likely going to remain until death do you part.

But times have changed. Women have choices and opportunities, and rightfully so. But with that opens the door for divorce, as women now have the power to start new lives on their own, and now the divorce rate is higher than ever.

Understandably so: Most people enter marriages in their early 20's, but once they grow older, they become different people, and many of these different people no longer make compatible couples.

Sure, you could get married at 23, and the marriage could be completely happy throughout the rest of your life. But I wouldn't count on it.

Save for the most metamorphic of personalities, as we grow older, into our 30's and beyond, we develop a more solid foundation of identity, and the changes we undergo become more subtle, less drastic, more a product of the identity we eventually discover.

People in our society enter their 20's, a period of great personal potential, in such a rush to ground themselves into a rigid situation, a marriage, a home whose mortgage needs to be paid, children, a job that suddenly becomes absolutely necessary to maintain the marriage, kids and home (and thus isn't easy to walk away from when things change). Then they're stuck in a situation where they cannot reach for much more in life than a raise at work every year.

So many lives basically come to a living end in their 20's because of this. Yet people somehow believe that they can maintain flexibility in life with such a committed relationship, failing to realize that a marriage often gives them anything but flexibility.

In his famous "Big Stones" speech to Palo Alto High School baccalaureates, public speaker Guy Kawasaki suggests the ideal age to get married is around 32 years of age. Kawasaki says, "Until you're about that age, you may not know who you are. You also may not know who you're marrying." This is true in that we change as we grow older and learn more about the world.

We think we have it all figured out in our early 20's, but the older we get and the more we learn, the more we realize that we certainly don't have it figured out. Hopefully, when that point comes, you're not indentured to a relationship or a situation that you no longer like, and from which you cannot easily extract yourself.

So when is the right time to get married? I'm not going to suggest Kawasaki's number is a hard-line answer, but I can tell you that your 20's probably isn't it. Don't be so desperate to ground yourself so quickly. Start saving your money, go try new things, see the world, meet as many people as you can and gain as much experience with the world as you can.

Then, once you've reached the tail end of your 20's and you've experienced quite a bit, then take stock of where you are and let the opportunity for a lifelong relationship come to you from there. Ultimately, if you do decide to marry then, you'll likely find the relationship and the prospects of raising a family far more in line with who you are, and far more rewarding.

Additional (Expert) Points of View on When To Marry


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    • profile image

      Jamie 4 years ago

      What about sex?

      In order to avoid early motherhood like the rest of my family, I decided to wait until marriage before having sex. My exboyfriend said that he wouldn't marry until he was at a mature age (30) but he was not going to wait for sex through his sexual peak. He wanted a bed buddy now who he might need have as a wife in the future. The whole reason for my waiting was to avoid this kinda guy.

      Needless to say, we broke up and six years later I hear about his premature wedding (before 30) to his long term girlfriend he got pregnant. (I highly suspect it was not on accident her part.)

      Tell me, what what thoughts on this situation? Do you expect men to wait in celibacy until maturity or for women to put out on whim and rely nervuously on birth control? Help me out here, I really don't know the best option.

    • profile image

      Jojo 5 years ago

      Best age to get married? Never!

    • karobi profile image

      karobi 5 years ago

      Steven this is a well thought out Hub and straight point from well research work. However, as true the point of the right age may sound, maturity is not a function of age because age is just number. In the cause of my work I have come across diverse couples that enter this institute of marriage at different ages ie. from the 20's to the 30's and the 40's; and you see them reasoning from different angle depending on their thorough understanding of marriage. What I want to say here is you can't understand an invention more than the inventor himself. So without the help of the inventor of marriage in the picture of your marriage then forget it confusion everywhere. He most be in the center of His creation for it to be successful. So at any age one is proposing to get married most understand the intention of the inventor. Thanks

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      frank 6 years ago

      You are right, maturity is a necessary key when ti comes to getting married. but the truth still remain that we grow old in body, but maturity is of the mind. you are agree with me that there are people in there 20's who act and behave more mature than those in there 30's or 40's

      I believe when it comes to marry you have to learn and understand what makes it work and adhere to apply them in it. am not saying marriages at early 20's should be encourage but it should be as though prolonging the issue of marriage to a late period will guarantee a successful marriage. what should be pursed is getting mature in mind in preparation for a successful marriage, young couples in there early 20's should ask themselves if indeed they are prepared for the challenges that come with getting married. so in other words when should start thinking on settle down and start preparing to get married on an early age not more than 30 years of age.

    • profile image

      Rasa 6 years ago


      i think , having one seeing the world from the same scope would give you the real pleasure of life and joy.

      The only problem is how to get some one like that.

    • profile image

      Trevor Clay 7 years ago

      Age is a number.

      You're entire article has the argument that there is something to learn from age- that there is this "secret knowledge" to life. Ultimately- that life is a game. This is true- but should have absolutely nothing to do with you're partnership.

      I will take this quote, because it sums up you're argument (great writing by the way).

      "Until you're about that age, you may not know who you are. You also may not know who you're marrying."

      Let be outright disagree with him- because you may not know who you are at fifty either. You seem to completely disregard the "may"- which he integrates so well. He stays completely plutonic- and you have your argument of course. Realize that love can happen at any time. I have friends that have been married for years and are completely happy that met in elementary school. That "may" that Kawasaki uses probably equals many people.

      Generalization is a very big flaw within humanity.

      I present the argument that we have turned love into a game. It is "attractive" to be in a relationship in modern society. We have created this "image" as a country that finding "the one" is of the utmost importance and that we must stop at nothing until we find it. With that attitude- people will be looking in all of the wrong places.

      It's not about having (underline having) a lover, it is about being (underline being) with a lover who can also love you. You cannot own a person, and everyone feels so high and mighty when they are young that they disregard the fact that we are all equal. That is why we fail.

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      sumaiya 7 years ago

      I dont think that there is any specific age to get married. Yes, time has changed. Yes, there are many options open, but there is still something called true love. We should always believe in that. When tho people love each other, they can make through anything. Marrage is just something to seal their bond. All the factor you mentioned can affect the marrage, but it's up to the couple to make the marrage work. Every couple is different and they should follow their heart.

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      Kevin 8 years ago

      Obviously there are many pieces to the the successful marriage puzzle...some are more important than others and fortunately for you and all 2 of your readers I will let you know which one is paramount.

      This piece paradoxicially has 2 pieces, but none the less it is one.

      You partner must put you before anything else in the world (except perhaps a higher power) and you must simultaneously put your partner before anything else in the world. The balance must be maintained and if it is...2 become 1...and you are on your way to happy marriage.

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      matt 8 years ago

      but how are you gonna meet an attractive partner when u are 32... and what makes u think u yourself will remain pretty... everyone likes a pretty couple including the couple themselves

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      goofy one 8 years ago

      hubby and i got married at 25. life was good but mix of kids personalities isn't something we anticipated as much as we should have. after 20 years, are re-learning everything we thought we knew. and there's a lot!

    • Steven Gomez profile image

      Steven Gomez 9 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Also a good point, and it sheds light on the fact that, because times and economic circumstances have changed, society's ideals when it comes to marriage and family needs to adapt to these changes.

    • profile image

      Anonymous 9 years ago

      Hmmmm...I'm getting married next year and I'll be 32 at the time. Good timing I guess....

      Nice post with some good points. I would add that another big contributing factor is the financial and logistical strains placed on two-income households. 25-30years ago a family of four could live decently (and save for the future) off of one income (usually the man's). Now often you need both spouses working to get by. Throw in kids and you have a very trying situation.

      I'm glad women have much more income potential and employment prospects than their 1970s counterparts (although still lagging men it sounds like); I'm just saying that some of that is bourne out of family income needs that have surfaced in the last 20 years.

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      Sonie K 9 years ago

      Awesome piece, you couldn't be more on target.

    • helenathegreat profile image

      helenathegreat 9 years ago from Manhattan

      Great answer to my question. Thanks so much for thoughtfully answering my request!

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      optimisticbob 9 years ago

      Steven, thanks for the great research and thoughtful construction of this hub. I haven't studied marriage the way you have but I was married at 20 and my beloved was 19. We have worked at marriage for 33 years. Every day we try to remember that to have a great partner/spouse you need to be a great partner.

      Keep up the hubs.