The joke used to be that the only benefit to getting married young was that you'd still be young by the time you divorced. Today's young people are seeing it differently. According to a new study from Brigham Young University, college students think 25 is just the right age to tie the knot. Their parents, however, are more hesitant about when their kids should be married, encouraging them to wait a little longer. Usually, we imagine marriage-hungry family members pushing couples into marriage. These days, it may be the reverse.
Is Oprah right?
Justin Bieber told Oprah Winfrey that he wanted to tie the knot at age 25. Justin is currently only 18, so 25 years old probably seems ancient to him. Oprah has long been an advocate for avoiding the marriage rush. Oprah told Justin, "Rethink that, will you? I think 25's too young. I really do... Your whole 20s is about discovering who you really are, and you owe that to yourself." She went on to tout the importance and values of self-discovery.
So what are the pros and cons of getting married young?
The biggest benefit
Many things have changed in our digital age, but childbirth is still easiest for a younger woman. If you want to have children, odds are still in your favor for giving birth while young. Fertility issues can happen at any age, but complications are less likely for a woman in her 20s than a woman 10 or 20 years older. Of course, in many states having a first child around age 40 is the norm. Many women are opting to joyfully have their cake and eat it, too, by having children later. If you do wait, there are still many ways to become a loving mother if optimum fertility is not on your side.
The common refrain is that you miss the exploration segment of your youth by marrying young. While your peers are partying it up, you may be headed home to your spouse. While there's nothing wrong with that on its face, there is something to be said for the freewheeling 20s.
While all of my peers were feeling the freedom, I started dating someone right out of college and was in a committed relationship through my entire 20s. When we divorced, I was in my 30s and had no idea how to even date.
There's a great deal of solo soul-growth that can happen in one's unattached 20s. Perhaps you'd like to explore the world or volunteer abroad; maybe your focus is building a high-powered career. These life journeys are much easier if you're single, although never impossible.
So, should you get married young?
Many researchers talk about the delayed adulthood of up and coming generations. As a love coach, I advise you to take advantage of putting off adulthood and stay single as long as possible. If you're still in love today, you should still be in love in 3 to 5 years. At that time, you may have some more wisdom to help you choose a better partner.
To anyone considering getting married under age 25, I say marriage is hard work at any age. Give yourself and your partnership an advantage by allowing yourself to mature as much as possible. Remember how worldly you might have felt at 16? Now, you look back and see that you were just a kid. The same will be true for you looking back at your 20s.
I field letters from women all the time about starting over after the breakup of their "starter marriages." The person you think is ideal at 25 may not be your ideal partner at 35. You deserve to fully live every stage of your wonderful life!
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