You may be in love at 18, but your parents are telling you to wait to get married. You may have marriage on your mind after graduating from college, but should you wait until you are established in a career? You may be a single woman who becomes pregnant in your 30s, but does that mean that marriage is the right decision?
Unfortunately, marriage is the leading cause of divorce. Anyone who gets married can get divorced. Nobody is immune. So, if you do not want to get divorced, at what age is it ideal to get married?
This is something to think about, especially with Valentine’s Day just around the corner. If you are thinking about popping the question or think that your significant other may ask for your hand in marriage sometime soon, you want to make sure you are making the right decision when it comes to your romantic future. After all, the words “I do” are supposed to signify a lifetime partnership.
There are two trains of thought when it comes to determining the best age to get married. One of them is an algorithm created by cognitive scientist Tom Griffiths and journalist Brian Christian, who co-authored the book, “Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions.” They recommend the 37% rule when finding the right spouse.
What this means is that you need to screen a range of options in a limited amount of time. The best time to choose a potential romantic partner is when you have looked at 37% of those options. This can apply to other areas of life, as well, such as finding a new apartment or screening candidates for a job.
Why 37%? At that point, you have gathered enough information to make a good decision. You are not choosing the first person you date, but you are not wasting your time by being in relationships with people with whom you are not compatible.
To demonstrate this, let us say you are looking for someone to fill a position. You can only screen each person once, so how deep do you go into the candidate pool to find the right person? If you interview three candidates, start judging after the second one. If you have five candidates, start making a decision after the third one.
Therefore, if you consider that most people are looking for “The One” when they are between the ages of 18 and 40, that is a 22-year span. If you go 37% into that span, then the best time to think about marriage is around age 26. That is because the probability of finding a high-quality spouse before that age is low. People are younger, more immature and may not know what they want to do with their lives. However, you do not want to wait too long after age 26 to look for love because the good ones get taken. You are left with less desirable choices.
Another theory is that the best age to get married is actually a bit older, between the ages of 28 and 32. The study, done by sociologist Nick Wolfinger from the University of Utah, shows that couples who get married during these ages are less likely to split up later on in life. While experts agree that waiting longer to get married is ideal for stability, nobody really put an end date on this idea before. However, after analyzing data from 2006 to 2013, Wolfinger found that the risk of divorce decreases until around age 32. The risk goes up again as people move into their late 30s and early 40s. In fact, for each year after age 32, the risk of divorce increases by 5%. This is true even when factors such as gender, race, education, location, family structure, religion and sexual history are accounted for.
Not Too Young, Not Too Old
For the most part, these two studies suggest that your best chances of marriage occur when you are not too young, but not too old either. This makes sense in several ways. Relationships can be complicated in one’s teens and early 20s, when hormones are involved. Also, people are more responsible and mature at this age. They have likely made some major life choices, particularly in terms of education and careers. In some cases, they are making a good living and they can financially support a partner if necessary.
However, being too old at the time of marriage causes a person to get too set in their ways. Marriage requires compromise, so a person needs to learn to be flexible. They may need to make some changes to their normal habits, lifestyle and goals in order to have a peaceful marriage. A marriage also requires a person to divide their loyalty, time and resources, and a person may be less willing to do so as they get older.
Despite this research, divorce is difficult to research. There are many reasons why people get divorced, so even if you wait until the right age, there are no guarantees. However, the more money and education you have, the less chance you have of getting divorced.
Seek Legal Help
While statistics may tell you when to get married, the truth is that divorces can happen whether you get married in your 20s, 30s, or past 40. A divorce is never easy, but the right family law attorney can guide you through the process.
Palm Beach divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler can help you understand your options so you can move on quickly, no matter your age. Schedule a consultation today by calling (954) 346-6464.