“When you find the right man”
“When you are at least 25”
“When you have enough saving”
“Whenever you are ready”
These are the possible answers you may get when being asked about the right time to get married. Like some other cultures, Asian families are conditioned to believe that the age after women finish their education is the time when they should be ready to settle down. Yet with the increase number of women get into workforce and pursue their career, this traditional timeline sometimes does not really fit to their future plan. You may not realise it now, but wait until some people keep asking you “When will you get married?”, “You two make a great couple, why don’t you ask him to propose you?”, “What are you expecting this coming year beside getting married?”, or the worst “You are getting older, go find your potential husband before you are expired!” (you read it right: expired).
Actually these questions are not only disturbing, but also offensive to raise since everyone has their own timeline, targets, and considerations to decide every single thing they want to decide. Marriage is actually a very personal decision. But when is actually the right time or the ideal age for women to get married that people are so hurry and eagerly want to get in to our personal business?
According to April Davis, from a luxury matchmaking firm LUMA Luxury Matchmaking, there is no exact age for everyone as the perfect time to settle down. As long as you are satisfied and happy with your own growth (jobs, personal life, and so on), then you are ready to get married.
She added, “...If you were to give yourself an exact age, you might find that you settle for whomever you're with at that age.”
A sociologist Nick Wolfinger from the University of Utah conducted a study on the relationship between marriage and divorce, seeking out when is the best time for people to walk down the aisle in order to decrease the possibility of divorce in the coming years. The study suggests that those who get married between 28 until 32 years old have a smaller risk to get divorce in the first five years of marriage, while the chance becomes higher for those who delay walking down the aisle until they hit late thirties until early forties. The study indeed has a limitation because Wolfinger analysed data he gathered in the US, while the country surely has many different dynamics with us in Asia that also contribute to the whole driving forces of divorce.
Actually the age period proposed by the result of a study conducted by Wolfinger makes sense for some reasons. First, when you are 28 – 32 years, you are neither too old nor too young to realise that when you are in a committed relationship with someone, both parties should work things out together to create a stronger bonding; you are not with someone because they are physically attractive and both are blinded by hormones. Love or feelings are not enough, it takes you good communication skills, relationship management skills, full-time commitment, years of compromising to each other to make your marriage last forever.
Also, during this age range, people usually have achieved more stable jobs than they did before, because in marriage, financial security is as important as mental maturity. A point to note from this study is, Wolfinger only captures and explain the today’s pattern as he found out that in the mid-1990s, the chance of getting divorce goes slimmer the longer you delay your marriage. Thus, the ideal age to get married is very relative as it changes throughout years.
The most common pattern a young family tends to follow is to have a baby right after they settle down. If you wish to have this common pattern for your future family, means you have one more issue to consider while planning your marriage (oh, you smell another problem coming in, huh?) From health point of view, women’s fertility will gradually decline as they turn 32 years old, and the most fertile period is during your 20s. Even though this does not automatically claim that women are unable to have healthy babies in their 40s, but it implicitly suggests women wishing to have lowest pregnancy risks should consider getting married in their 20s.
To make things more objective, another perspective should be put in to the mix. Jo Piazza, an author of How to Be Married: What I Learned From Real Women on Five Continents About Surviving My First (Really Hard) Year of Marriage, proposed another ideal age for women to get married. According to her discussions with women she met, the age of 35 or older considered the best time to settle down with the men they are with. It is very interesting to read her real story when investigating this phenomena, where she and the women believe the best recipe to achieve a happy marriage life is to wait. They believe that women should pursue the personal goals and growth they want to obtain before tying the knot, because, let’s face it, once you get married, you will be busily occupied with family matters that you may lose your opportunities to fulfil your own targets in life. As she interviewed many women in some countries in the world, those who have a fulfilling marriage life tend to get married in the age of 35 or even older, they even perceive the popular belief of getting married in your late 20s is divorce-prone.
If you claim that her conclusion is a little bit ridiculous since the age of 35 is too old for women, you may consider some issues that shape this argument. One of them is the emergence of gender equality issue. The author of Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage, Stephanie Coontz supports the argument.
She states “Today, we are coming to marriage with much higher expectations – a friendship, intimacy, mutual benefit, an openness to learning from each other”,
adding to her response towards a changing pattern of the ideal age to get married—that there is no way we do what our grandparents did in the 1960s when deciding to get married. In that era, unlike men, a smaller room was given to women to perform their passions other than domestic issues and just be a good wife.
Today, the term “being a good wife” to achieve a happy married life can have a broader meaning than it once had in the past decades. Thus, the decision to tie the knot is very subjective and personal. Having all the various arguments in suggesting the ideal age to get married, we now get a clearer perspective that we have our own rights to decide when is the right time. Marriage is not a mandatory step everyone wants to experience in life, it must be left as a personal choice.
There is no such thing as the ideal age range where women are obliged to get married. Some of you may argue that your early or late 20s is your perfect time, and some other are confidence to get married when they are older than that. Remember that everyone has their own timeline and we hope we have helped you to reflect, decide, and take all the gains and losses responsibly whenever the time comes.