What is the best age to marry?

As a couples therapist, I frequently give relationship advice about the best age, if any, to get married. While there is no magical age to get married, one is almost always better off waiting to get married, for lots of good reasons.

First, the divorce rate has been hovering at 50% for years, and is much higher the younger you get married. Teenage or early adult marriages have a divorce rate of 75%-85%, and surveys show that the older the female is at the time of her first marriage, the longer the marriage lasts.

I ask you: If you were boarding on a plane with a 50% chance of crashing, would you get on?

The reason for the high divorce rate, particularly among teens/early adults, is simple: From a basic developmental perspective, peoples’ needs and goals change over time, and at age 30 you will be a much different person than you were at 18 or 21. Also, studies indicate that the purely chemical "butterflies in the tummy" feeling one gets when in love only lasts between two to six months, if your lucky. In other words, it doesn’t last, so perhaps it’s best to be with your current love without making things more complex by getting married.

Also, while there is no perfect way to determine the potential stability of a given marriage, the following questions are vital prior to considering such a huge life change.

Prior to getting married, one has to be mature enough to realize:

-Love is not enough; the stresses of a young couple are real, and the struggle for decent jobs, housing, and health insurance are real stresses that can destroy any couple. Why rush to take on difficult adult responsibilities?

-Consider your own needs, goals, and relationship requirements. Does your partner satisfy them? It is rare for a teenage or young adult to have enough life experience to know what they really want.

-You MUST be totally emotionally, physically and financially independent from your parents. Healthy marriages require two independent individuals to make a complete whole. Young couples typically marry to get away from their parents or a negative home environment, but there are other ways to cope.

-Relationships need time to see if behavior patterns are consistently healthy. So ask, how long has this union been happy and healthy?

-Get to know yourself. What do you want in life? What do you wish to contribute to the world and how? Live purposefully, then you’ll meet others with similar world views and life visions.

by: Emily Kensington
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About The Author
Emily Kensington is a couples therapist. For free relationship advice and romance tips visit