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No, Marrying Young is Not a Good Idea

Julia Shaw has a profoundly silly column at Slate urging her fellow millenials to marry early rather than late. Why? I don’t know, really. The answer seems to be “because I did so,” though I can’t imagine why she thinks that’s a compelling argument.

Sometimes people delay marriage because they are searching for the perfect soul mate. But that view has it backward. Your spouse becomes your soul mate after you’ve made those vows to each other in front of God and the people who matter to you. You don’t marry someone because he’s your soul mate; he becomes your soul mate because you married him.

Do people seriously believe such melodramatic nonsense? Really? First of all, the notion that there’s a “perfect soul mate” for everyone, or anyone for that matter, is hyper-emotional bullshit; put down the Meg Ryan DVD and try to come to grips with reality just a little bit. But even if that were true for this particular couple, it certainly isn’t true for most others. As Amanda Marcotte points out, those who marry younger are more likely to get divorced. The reasons should be rather obvious.

Did you have a clue who you were at 21? Or 25? I sure didn’t. No one else I know did either. At 25, I was in a long-term relationship with someone I was so incompatible with that we might as well have belonged to two different species. Marrying her would have been a huge mistake (not because she’s a bad person or anything; she was just the wrong person for me, in every imaginable way). And no, we would not have become “soul mates” if only we’d gotten married.

Does that mean no one should ever get married young? No. But the chances of having a successful marriage go up considerably. And if you have children, starting later is also much better statistically than having kids at a young age. Again, the reasons are pretty obvious.

Comments

  1. says

    Benefits of marrying young: If you have a relatively traditional wedding, you get a honeymoon and a lot of sweet kitchenware as gifts for your presumably new domicile.

    Detriments of marrying young: Everything else, so far as I can tell. Unless one of you is seriously ill or in need of a green card.

  2. Akira MacKenzie says

    Essentially, the fundies are leaning toward the “good old days” of betrothal and arranged marriages when men could count on having a woman around to cook, clean, and sexual sevice him without the female’s wishes in the matter considered at all. Furthermore, the younger the bride, the more Christ-spawn she will be able to produce before she becomes barren and of no further use.

  3. raven says

    Julia Shaw has a profoundly silly column at Slate urging her fellow millenials to marry early rather than late.

    Most of the people I know who married young, got divorced young.

    They just discovered they married the wrong person and were miserable.

    Hey Julia, the divorce rate is 50% already.

  4. Ulysses says

    When I was 23 I was massively in love with a woman who was equally in love with me. We lived together for six months and discovered that we weren’t friends, soul mates, or anything of that sort. We were sexually compatible and, as she described it, “we weren’t in love with each other, we were in love with love.”

  5. raven says

    Essentially, the fundies are leaning toward the “good old days” of betrothal and arranged marriages…

    That happened to a friend of mine.

    He wasn’t fundie but Japanese American.

    The parents decided that he should marry a nice Japanese American girl, which he ended up doing.

    Other than heritage, they had nothing in common and no interest in each other. When they divorced, it was no big deal other than both being relieved to be done with it.

  6. Thorne says

    I’m one of those rare cases, I guess. Got married at 22, and we were, and still are, in love. Over 40 years in love. Things haven’t always been great, or easy, but we’ve never been OUT of love.

    Even so, I sometimes wonder what my life might have been like if I hadn’t gotten married so early. Usually those fantasies don’t turn out so well.

  7. cptdoom says

    I once asked my father, who was 21 when he got engaged to my mother, who was 22 at the time, after dating for only a few months. His response: “I was horny,” and in the early 60s, the only way to get a little was to get married. Now, they did last 35 years before Ma died, but their marriage was difficult, and my mother, as wonderful as she was, certainly became a different woman as she got older. Obviously, I am happy they did get married, or I wouldn’t be here, but I don’t know that I would recommend the strategy of marrying early as a method of finding happiness. Of all of my friends with successful marriages, only one couple married prior to age 25.

  8. redmann says

    Put me in the married young (20), but still (going on 47 years) happily married to a wonderful little (4′ 11″) Scottish lass.

  9. dingojack says

    Gretchen (#1) – “Benefits of marrying young: If you have a relatively traditional wedding, you get a honeymoon and a lot of sweet kitchenware as gifts for your presumably new domicile.” to futilely fight over during the divorce*.
    Who gets the egg-beater, who gets the the frying pan , who gets the vacuum-cleaner?
    ‘You’d better keep her, it’s hellva lot cheaper, than makin’ whoopee’.
    Dingo
    ——–
    * FIFY

  10. Michael Heath says

    Thorne writes:

    I’m one of those rare cases, I guess. Got married at 22, and we were, and still are, in love. Over 40 years in love. Things haven’t always been great, or easy, but we’ve never been OUT of love.

    In my circle Thorne’s story is not at all rare for his or her generation. Problem marriages I observe with that generation are predominately due to people marrying in their teens, especially if it’s a shotgun wedding.

    I don’t think it’s prudent now for twenty-two year olds to marry, but that’s because of changes in the labor market and its different demands for a certain education level, especially given an additionally new context – the economic need for two-incomes per household coupled to women also wanting a career. (Not that alternative lifestyles don’t exist which could make it laudably easier for a couple to exist on one-income.)

    Two of the most rational reactions to changes in our culture is people marrying later and an increased commitment to finish college and get a post-grad degree. In spite of a weak labor market for young college grads right now.

  11. 24fps says

    I got engaged at 19, married at 21, separated at 23 and divorce became final just after my 24th birthday.

    What can I say? It seemed like a good idea at the time, much like any number of foolish things one does in the late teens and early 20s.

    It wasn’t that he was terrible person or that the marriage was so awful. The first year was fun, but soon I began to realize that we were deeply unsuited to each other and our life trajectories were already going in different directions. He’d been in the arts, but wanted to go to law school and have a settled life, which included me getting a regular job. I wanted to backpack around Europe, make films and theatre and go dancing. it became clear that the choices were a miserable life for me full of regrets for the things I didn’t do, a miserable life for him without the steadiness and routine that he’d come to crave, or a compromise that would constitute low grade misery for both of us. I liked us both too much for that, so I left.

    Many years on, it was absolutely the right decision (the leaving), but there was a lot of pain caused by having married in the first place. I have told both my daughters that I don’t want to hear any wedding talk until they’re at least 30!

  12. Brandon says

    I think pronouncements for what age people should get married are bound to fail because individuals are so very different. I’m unmarried at 28, but I might be married in my early 30s if the girlfriend and I ever decide there’s a particularly good reason for it. I don’t think this is the “right” or “wrong” way to do it, but it seems to work fine for me. My parents married at 19 and 20, and they’re together over 30 years later, so clearly that worked fine for them.

    I don’t understand people’s desire for a one size fits all approach to relationships. Is it just looking for validation?

  13. says

    I don’t understand people’s desire for a one size fits all approach to relationships. Is it just looking for validation?

    In some cases, I’m sure it is. And in one sense, talking about when people should get married is like talking about when they should eat. They should eat when they’re hungry. They should get married when they find the person they want to marry. But at the same time, statistically speaking their marriages are less likely to last if they marry early, so that’s a reason why putting it off is prudent (if you care about avoiding divorce, that is). I don’t see a lot of reason to not put it off, even if you’re quite sure right now that the person you’re with is the person you want to stay with. You can always test that theory by staying with them…

  14. says

    I think this presents a conundrum to women who want to have children and hope to have a husband before they do. The facts are that women have a much easier time getting pregnant in their twenties than in their thirties and almost no chance in their forties without exceptional intervention. Does this mean that women should ignore their better judgements and marry whoever they’re with before they turn 30? Of course not. Being married to the wrong person doesn’t help anyone. I just think it’s important to note that the waiting game doesn’t always work out the same way for women as it does for men.

  15. mudskipper says

    There’s also evidence that the waiting game doesn’t work too well for men either when it comes to kids. A man’s fertility drops with age and so does his sperm quality–kids with older fathers are born with more health problems than kids with younger fathers.

    Our biology is out-of-wack with our social realities. Physically, our best reproductive years are in our late teens and early twenties. Socially, we usually make much better parents if we wait until later than that.

  16. Don Quijote says

    I think the average age for people getting married here in Spain is something like 31 for men and 28 for women. The reason for this, (just from people I know) is financial. These people have generally been engaged for some time but wait for some sort of security in careers and the like before marrying.

    I got married at 24 and my wife was 18 but that was 39 years ago and in the UK. Still married no kids by choice (two in the freezer for special occassions) and living contentedly here in Galicia, (except for the bleeding rain).

  17. D. C. Sessions says

    Our reproductive biology works best with young adults (late teens to late twenties) making babies for grandparents to raise. In a way it’s a pity that we have social blocks against that — it’s not so much impractical as it is that it would violate all sorts of norms.

    And, yeah, I have friends who have adopted their grandchildren. Worked out pretty well for them, despite being a “well, it’s not like your daughter is going to be a good mother” grudging acceptance.

  18. Sastra says

    I’ll agree with Brandon at #12 that blanket pronouncements of the best time to get married are like statements concerning the best time to have kids or the best job to take or the best way to live. For whom? There are so many variations of individuals and goals and circumstances that anyone who considers only anecdotal evidence and/or statistics and fails to concentrate on the specifics of the personal case is being foolhardy — looking for a one-size-fits-all solution. Shaw’s column is perhaps valuable in that it gives the “other side” to what readers of Slate probably hear more often (“Thou shalt not marry young”) but of course it has to be filtered.

    I met my husband when I was 17, dated him exclusively and married him when I was 21 — and am very happy with that choice 35 years later. Did I do it the “right” way? For me. Sure. But I’m not donkey enough to think my own trajectory is the magic bullet solution for everyone. My personal story would only be a valid counter to someone being donkey enough to insist that it can or should never be done this way.

    Is marrying young a good idea? It depends.

    Whoa, now THAT’S going out on a limb, right there. Or maybe it’s a pretty safe answer.

  19. carlie says

    or whom? There are so many variations of individuals and goals and circumstances that anyone who considers only anecdotal evidence and/or statistics and fails to concentrate on the specifics of the personal case is being foolhardy — looking for a one-size-fits-all solution.

    I was just working up a “there is no universal ‘perfect time’” monologue and Sastra beat me to it. :) I had the same timing as Sastra did for dating and marriage, although we’re about a decade or so behind altogether. It was a good idea at the time, there were a few years when spouse and I both thought maybe it hadn’t been a good idea, and then we got to where we decided it was a very good idea indeed. Every decision you make in life is a trade-off between various good things and various bad things; marriage is no different.

  20. says

    Tiny voice in the back of Julia Shaw’s mind: maybe I made a big mistake.

    Louder voice in the front of her mind: No you didn’t

    Tiny voice: Yes, you did.

    Loud voice: No, no, no! You should marry young. You should marry young. You should marry young…

  21. magistramarla says

    I’m another one who married young and I’m glad that I did.
    I was 19, he was 20 when we married over 36 years ago. We both said from the outset that we were in it for the long run. My hubby’s favorite saying is “This too shall pass.” He’s said it when we’ve had those inevitable rough spots and he’s told our children the same thing. We were madly in love when we married, and while we’ve mellowed a bit, we’re still very much in love.
    I’m also very glad that I had my children when I was young and capable. I’ve had gradually worsening and disabling autoimmune issues since my mid-forties. I’m thankful that my youngest were in their mid-teens by the time I began to be disabled. I could not imagine trying to deal with kids and illness at the same time.

    Also, my mother was 43 when I was born (only child, too). She had the same disabling illnesses that I’m dealing with, and was abusive to me. I had my children young because I never, never wanted to repeat what she had done.

  22. unbound says

    Although I certainly wouldn’t advocate marrying early, I think you went way too far in the other direction Ed.

    On average, marrying younger results in more divorces compared to marrying later. What exactly does that mean? It means that social scientists haven’t been able to figure out anything better to point at. From the stats, if you get married between 20 and 25, you have about a 38% of getting divorced…notably higher than about 19% chance of getting divorced if you get married between 25 and 30. Here lies the problem …what about the 62% that got married between 20 and 25 with no issue. So how do you tell if you are in the 38% versus the 62%? You don’t…that is the primary issue with using statistics; they are meaningless when applied to individuals. Statistics are only valuable to point you along a path of deeper study, or if you want to sell something to large groups of people. The fact that several disciplines of science have embraced statistics as the end result in lieu of a means to get to better theories is actually a bad thing, not a good thing.

    If I followed Ed’s logic, then I would be advocating that people get married before they turn 20, because the divorce rate is actually lower (about 19% – same as 25 to 30 range) than the divorce rate for those that get married at 20 to 25. Also, that same logic would dictate that you should rarely consider getting married a 2nd time (divorce rate is over 60% for 2nd marriages, and over 70% for 3rd marriages). I don’t think you are going to say that everyone you know who is on their 2nd marriage is going to get divorced very soon now…

    Now here is the kicker when you actually dig deeper into the stats. Better educated couples have notably lower divorce rates (gets down to less than 20% in general). In fact, education level and income of the couple are at least as important in determining the success of a marriage as age is. So it isn’t nearly as simple as, “You probably shouldn’t get married young”. So many more factors to consider than just age.

    Signed, one of the 62% that just celebrated 22 years recently.

  23. cgilder says

    I married the summer I graduated from college to a guy I met when I was 19. Still married 10 years and 3 kids later. Sure I’m different than who I was when I was 23, but so is he, and we became different together. Not that we marched in lockstep with each other, but he became more liberal, I became atheist (he’s still Christian), he convinced me to watch a bit of TV with him every night, I convinced him to get chamber music season tickets this year. It’s marriage, it’s give and take, and we’re definitely still in love & lust. I definitely don’t regret the person I’ve become over the last 10 years.

    I have wondered what it would have been like to be one of those single young adults, but I knew I wanted to marry David within 18mo of meeting him. It would have been dumb to throw that away because I wanted to find out what it was like to date assholes :) It would be equally dumb to settle for someone right out of college because OMG OLD MAID!

  24. steve84 says

    It’s actually a big deal among religious fundamentalists. They truly believe that things like emotional and sexual compatibility don’t exist and that anyone can be attracted to anyone (of the opposite sex of course) if they just try hard enough. It plays a huge role in their emphasis on parent-guided courtship over dating. In their world people can’t even find out if they fit together because they practice relatively strict gender segregation and engagements last maybe a few weeks.

  25. raven says

    It’s actually a big deal among religious fundamentalists.

    Might explain why the divorce rate is higher among fundies than the general population. Atheists have the lowest divorce rate.

    Barna survey: Baptists have highest divorce rate – Adherents.com
    www .adherents.com/l argecom/baptist_divorce.html

    Baptists had the highest rate of the major denominations: 29 percent. … He rejected the idea that large numbers of divorced Christians left their … denomination in the country, and nondenominational churches cover a wide spectrum of beliefs.

    U.S. divorce rates: for various faith groups, age groups and …
    www. religioustolerance. org/chr_dira.htm

    Apr 27, 2000 – Divorce rates among conservative Christians were significantly higher than for … The apparently higher rate among born-again Christians, and lower rate among … Barna uses the term “non-denominational” to refer to Evangelical Christian …. However, a review of the report is at: http://www.adherents.com/

  26. iainr says

    I met my wife when we were 20. We got married at 24. 15 years and two kids later I can’t imagine it being better.

    There’s no right or wrong age to get married (so long as you’re both adults…). I have a suspicion the problems arise with couples who marry young because they want to be married rather than because they actually want to marry each other.

  27. says

    Ulysses said:

    When I was 23 I was massively in love with a woman who was equally in love with me. We lived together for six months and discovered that we weren’t friends, soul mates, or anything of that sort. We were sexually compatible and, as she described it, “we weren’t in love with each other, we were in love with love.”

    Ulysses, for a moment there I thought you might be my first husband. You were smart, though, you figured it out after six months living together, rather than two years of marriage. But that’s how I describe us: in love with being in love.

    And so we added to the divorce statistics. But, hey, everybody deserves a practice round, right?

  28. says

    We both said from the outset that we were in it for the long run.

    I don’t know anyone who gets love-married (as opposed to, say, convenience-married, benefit-married, or whathaveyou) and doesn’t think that they’re in it for the long run.

    I certainly did, and that “long run” lasted 2 years because it turned out we were entirely incompatible as a live-together couple.

  29. math77 says

    I know our case is an outlier! I knew who I wanted to marry when I was 13 years old. It took me until 16 to work up the courage to ask her for a date. We got married at 18 and grew to love each other even more. We had the first of our children five years later. We have had a terrific time raising our daughters, seeing to it that they got first class educations, and getting them started in their own lives. We are currently in our 48th year together. I’m not sure what “soul-mates” are, but we sure feel like we were made for each other. Having said all of that, I would not recommend getting married so young–I know we were incredibly lucky. Each of our daughters was well into her twenties before getting married.

  30. leonardschneider says

    My wife and I were married in our mid-30s; first marriage for both of us. Our explanation has always been that we both skipped the shitty first marriage and moved on to the second one that worked.

    Our one regret — for both health and financial reasons we’ve never had a child, and it’s too late for that now, medically speaking. It really is our one sorrow.*

    * And for those of you saying, “Well, just adopt, stupid,” go on — I dare you — and check out the legal costs alone of adoption: “Welcome to our home, [infant]. We have no food or crib or any other basic supplies because we had to sell everything to pay off the fucking courts and lawyers to get you.” The adoption process is for shit in this country. (Yes, it does piss me off, didja notice?)

  31. congenital cynic says

    The girl I loved in University would have been an excellent life partner (she’s still as fine a person as you would find, and we were very compatible), but at 22 years of age and having just graduated, I was too young for a life-long commitment, and mercifully, I knew it. We went to different schools in different cities for grad work and that was the end. Would it have worked out? I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not. Processing subjunctive history is a flawed exercise. But I think I may have been too immature to have stayed with it when I was 22. And looking back I don’t think that a failure of that union would have been because there was anything wrong with my girlfriend, but rather it would have been because I just hadn’t “seen the world”, and I needed to. I was curious, and wanted to explore, travel, meet a lot of people, and I did. And all of that changed me, and changed my life for later, when I did meet my wife.

    When I decided it was time to look for that permanence, probably about 4 or 5 years later, I just wasn’t meeting anyone to sign up with for the long haul. Met lots of girls, had relationships with some because they were nice, but absolutely knew that I would not take up with any of them for the long haul. It was depressing, really. Because I wanted to, and nice people though they were (well, except for one emotionally damaged girl), I just knew it wouldn’t last. It took till I was in my mid-thirties until I met that gal. And she was much younger. We bonded like crazy glue on the first date and after 20 years and 4 children I still know that waiting until I met her was the smart thing to do. I knew when we first got together that I was all done looking, and so did she. We only got married many years later, but when we decided to have the first child, that was, for us, the same as being married. Commitment. So for us it wasn’t a marriage that kept us together at all. We just knew that we were a team, the right fie, and we loved being together. And nothing has changed. We have trying times with kids, and there are occasional bumps in the road, but I still wake up every morning and feel that there is no way it could be better.

    So for me, waiting was certainly the better approach. That is not a judgement on any of the females I had relationships with. Only one turned out to be fucked up (but she hid that well for the first 6 months). All of the others were, and still are, very nice people. Just not right for me. And “settling” for someone nice is not a good idea. You need to know it’s who you need/want to be with. And I feel so very lucky that I know. I’m mentally and emotionally predisposed for the long haul monogamous gig anyway, so maybe I started out with something that not all people have, but I just can’t imagine what my wife might get up to that would tear us apart, well, except maybe becoming a two-pack-a-day smoking right wing fundamentalist christian whacko. Playing the odds on that one I think we’ll be together until she buries me.

    Final comment. It doesn’t surprise me that atheists have a lower divorce rate. Believers have a tendency to build what they think are realities on top of empty beliefs, or hopes, or ideals. Our irrationality is not as well developed.

  32. says

    It’s kind of odd that we’re talking about 23 as “marrying early”, as we aren’t that far removed from when 23 was considered “old maid” territory.

    But I have to agree that the idea that there’s a specific age that is “best” to get married for everyone or even that marriage is right for everyone. I got married at 23. My wife was 22. We’re still together and happy 20 years later. On the other hand, my sister got married at 24 and divorced 15 years later. The only reason they stayed together that long was because they waited until their daughter was in high school to split up.

    Marriage is a crap shoot no matter what age you enter into it. I got lucky. My sister didn’t.

  33. says

    My own experience is uncannily similar to cgilder’s above, down to deconverting while spouse stays religious and even the exact time frame (our genders are switched, though, and my wife and I only have two children). Our situation is even stranger in that my wife and I were engaged within three months and married just over six months past our first date. Part of me really hates the pronouncement of how marrying young is so irresponsible, as though that generalization can be sustained even by the evidence that many such marriages ends in divorce. Part of me also recognizes that 1) our situation was a major outlier, and we’re lucky to have made it 10 years for a lot of reasons other than our early marriage; and 2) it was pretty damned hard, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who wasn’t really serious about trying to make it work. Then again, my wife and I went through college together, and it really helped in some ways to have another person’s support when trying to work full-time and be a full-time student (and, for a lot of it, to be a parent in addition).

    Of course, none of that makes the article in question any less irrational. Expecting to grow with someone is one thing, but it’s not a reason in itself to get married.

  34. cowalker says

    Forty plus years my mother told me that getting married was no accomplishment–anyone could find somebody who would marry them. She encouraged me to have fun first and wait ’til I was thirty (like her) to get married. And my parents had a good, loving marriage until my mother’s death.

    Fortunately or unfortunately, I met the person I knew would be the right person for me when I was 21. I kind of wanted to have a bunch of fun first, but knew it would be insane to pass up this wonderful person. So we got married (without any money or jobs) when I was 23. But we waited to have children until we had achieved financial stability, which took eight years. It’s really not more expensive to be married than single–but it’s way more expensive to grow a family. This year will be our thirty-ninth anniversary, and it’s been a wonderful thirty-nine years. Yes, we lived through hard times and painful relationship difficulties, but we knew the value of our commitment, and we were lucky.

    There is an element of luck. You shouldn’t forget that. And that’s part of the reason why one size certainly doesn’t fit all.

  35. equisetum says

    She has it exactly backwards. As a friend of my wife says, “Spät heiraten spart eine Scheidung.” (Late marriage saves you one divorce.)

  36. carlie says

    I have a suspicion the problems arise with couples who marry young because they want to be married rather than because they actually want to marry each other.

    This, exactly. Especially since they’re taught that they can’t have sex until they’re married. Also, depending on your social environment, there might not be any examples of people who went out and lived on their own and were happy – if the only model you see is marriage by a certain date and that’s how you move out and be grown-up, then that’s what you assume should happen with the person you happen to be dating when that time hits.

  37. says

    Fucking keyboard.

    The cynic in me thinks that one reason the fundies like early marriages is BECAUSE it creates more adherents and young moms who wind up dependent upon and grateful to the very people who helped to fuck up their lives in the first place.

    I’ve never married (spend a couple of days around me and you’d know why) but I have a number of friends who have been married over 35 years.

    I was in a friend’s kitchen one evening years ago, chatting with his wife while she prepared dinner. She was chopping onions or something with her back to me while we talked. I knew that her husband had been married before I met them and said that I was glad to see that he had gotten it right the second time. She stopped chopping and without turning around, simple raised her left land with THREE fingers extended. Then she turned and said, “But the second one was REALLY short.”.

    They’ve now been married over 35 years and seem to be eminently compatible.

  38. amylacc says

    Now, I have no idea how old the writer is now. She says she married at 23 and it is working for her. All well and good, but haven’t we all been in relationships we thought would last forever? And then they didn’t for one reason or another? I can’t help thinking that she is being terribly naive if she thinks all her problems are solved now, and that her individual case case be extended generally to everyone. We all are aware of the statistics of early marriage. They are not good. My parents are still together after more than 40 years. But I’m not sure you can call them happy.

    And what about people who simply do not find anyone? Are we condemned to lives of sadness and misery because we are not married at some arbitrary age? I don’t think so. Everyone’s experience is different, of course. I live as an unrepentant liberal and atheist in a small town in a deeply red state. The chances of me meeting someone compatible here are virtually nil. If I were planning on staying here, that would be sad, but since I will move on in a couple of years, I’m not terrible worried about it, even at my advanced age.

    This appears to be one in a long line of recent stories, urging people to marry young, or urging young women to hurry up and find husbands before they get old. I realize this “concern trolling” is a response to changes in society and now that the gay marriage question appears to be settled, I guess they will double down on women.

  39. says

    “Did you have a clue who you were at 21? Or 25? I sure didn’t. No one else I know did either. At 25, I was in a long-term relationship with someone I was so incompatible with that we might as well have belonged to two different species. Marrying her would have been a huge mistake”

    Ed of all people should know anacdotal evidence doesn’t count… Not saying I’m in favour of marrying young (though 25 doesn’t seem young to me as far as marriage goes), but unless there’s the data to prove it, implying it’s because you “don’t have clue who you are” at that age is meaningless bullshit. For all we know, it has nothing to do about having clues, and everything with the financial situation at that age, or whatever.

  40. cgilder says

    @TCC,

    Glad to know we’re in good company! Sometimes I think that David & I’s relationship flourished because we were actually long-distance for 4 years. I was in college in DC, and he was working in Dallas. It meant the sex was really great when we got to be together, but mostly we just talked and talked and talked. We actually got to live together for 6 months before we got married, and that helped work out the “you leave your toothbrush WHERE?!?” issues.

    I wonder if it makes a difference that my parents married “young” (ie right out of college), and had a happy marriage until my mom died at 43. My middle sister also married right out of college, and I have to admit, I don’t care for her spouse, but she seems happy five years in. My little sister is bucking the trend by going to grad school (law), but has had the same boyfriend for 4.5yrs now and graduates in May. She’s in no rush to get married and she doesn’t want kids, but I also don’t see her breaking up with Geoff anytime soon. Either way, all 3 of us seem to have found long-term love at a young age. Good education? Middle-class upbringing? Healthy modeling by our own parents? Not sure which to credit, but something made these choices possible for us.

  41. says

    As noted above, everyone is different. My wife and I started dating in our last year of high school, stuck it out through four years of university in different cities, and got married right after graduation. That was coming up 33 years ago this month.

    Our older son, OTOH: started dating this girl in their *first* year of HS, and moved in together when they went to university/college. They sure looked compatible, and they reminded of us of, well, us, and we called her our daughter. Then she broke it off, after 13 years together. Being wonderfully compatible as teenagers doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll grow into compatible adults in your late twenties. Just as well they didn’t get married; at least they didn’t have to pay a lawyer — just pack up your stuff and move out.

  42. dingojack says

    Unbound (#22) – “From the stats, if you get married between 20 and 25, you have about a 38% of getting divorced…notably higher than about 19% chance of getting divorced if you get married between 25 and 30. Here lies the problem …what about the 62% that got married between 20 and 25 with no issue. So how do you tell if you are in the 38% versus the 62%?”

    If you were in the 38% you would be the proud owner of divorce papers, if you weren’t you wouldn’t.
    Not that difficult after all!

    :) Dingo

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