A new study on the ideal age of marriage doesn’t shock, but rather confirms what we’ve believed all along – at least in one respect.
To put it bluntly; today, if you get married too young, you’ll probably end up getting divorced. And by now, most of us have seen it happen.
A new study by Nick Wolfinger, a sociologist at the University of Utah, suggests that people should get married between the ages of 28 and 32 if they don’t want to get divorced – at least not in the first five years of marriage. That’s because this age group is less likely to split up in the years following their nuptials. Although waiting to get married makes logical sense for many reasons, prior to the study, there was no optimally defined age range when it comes to trying the knot.
Now, if you’re in between the ages of 28 and 32 and planning a wedding, you’re in good shape.
Don’t freak out if you’re older than that, though – it simply means you’re both mature and hopefully seasoned enough in the dating department to know exactly what you want by this point, and what you are and are not willing to put up with. And there’s nothing wrong with that (but you may not want to read ahead).
When Wolfinger analyzed data from the 2006-2010 and the 2011-2013 National Survey of Family Growth, he discovered an upside down bell curve. Meaning, the odds of divorce decline through your teenage years and through your late twenties and thirties. Then, they increase again in your late thirties and early forties. For each year above about 32, the odds of divorce increases about 5 per cent each year, according to the study. The curve persists even when things like the respondents’ sex, race, age, education, sexual history, religion, and family structure are taken into account.
So, basically, the optimal time comes when you’re old enough to understand what you truly want, need, and value in a partner, but when you’re not too “old” that you’re set in your ways and unable to compromise or make adjustments. The apparent reality for those who wait until well into their thirties is that – according to Wolfinger – they’re not the kinds of people who are predisposed to doing well in their marriages.
Or, maybe, they just had other things going on.
Either way, according to Wolfinger, “people who marry later face a pool of potential spouses that has been winnowed down to exclude the individuals most predisposed to succeed at matrimony.”
Wolfinger’s theory has already been met with some criticism from other professionals, who don’t challenge the whole waiting until you’re in your late twenties to tie the knot, but who say that an older age at marriage (meaning, above 32) doesn’t mean it has less of a chance for surviving the long haul. Other data analysis reveal differing “optimal age” ranges when it comes to marriage. In fact, one such analysis by Phillip Cohen pins the ideal age at 45-49, when it comes to survival rates.
Either way, if you’re feeling slightly bummed about your single status, check out these 8 reasons to wait to get married – whether that means until you’re 30, 40, or older.