- Gender and Relationships
When is a good time in life to get married?
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.