What’s The Ideal Marrying Age?

by Patrick Appel

Julia Shaw recommends getting married early:

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.

Amanda Marcotte counters:

Most people grasp the relationship between young marriage and divorce intuitively, but statistics shore up the case. As the average age of first marriage goes up, the divorce rate goes down. State-by-state statistics show similar correlations between lower average age of marriage and higher divorce rates.

TNC injects some humility into the debate:

I don’t know how it is for other people, but my sense is that any long-term relationship, any long happy marriage, has had points when its primary advocates could see the end. And not a theoretical end, an actual end; a path untaken, but very much possible. Where I differ with Shaw isn’t in the advantages she sees in marrying young, but in the certainty and determinism.