If you’re a millennial who’s fed up with your parents reiterating your age while pressuring you to get married, now you can look forward to scientific research to reinforce their fear mongering.
According to new research, there is such thing as getting married too late in life. Well, actually, there is such thing as the likelihood of divorce increasing every year you wait to tie the knot. Even though this study should be taken with a grain of salt, the details are fascinating.
Everyone knows that it’s risky to get married too young. For instance, someone who marries at 25 is over 50 percent less likely to get divorced than is someone who weds at age 20. The reasons for this are obvious. When we’re young, we don’t have the resources, life experiences, or maturity to handle the undeniable pressures of marriage.
As people enter their late twenties, the risk of divorce decreases. University of Utah professor Nicholas Wolfinger, who analyzed data collected between 2006 and 2010 by the National Survey of Family Growth, each additional year of age at marriage reduces the odds of divorce by 11 percent.
However, after the age of 32, the odds of divorce increase by 5 percent per year. There are a number of explanations for why this might be true. For one, as people grow older and more accustomed to their single lives, it might become harder to learn to compromise in a marriage. When you’re single, you don’t have to compromise, and that’s kinda nice isn’t it?
Another hypothesis that I’d throw into the mix is the idea that as people get older, they face more and more pressure to wed. As a result, they might settle for someone they’re not really in love with just to quiet the societal pressure.
Wolfinger’s research isn’t fool-proof, which is why it shouldn’t change anyone’s life plan. It’s impossible to draw conclusions about someone’s maturity based on his or her age. There are plenty of people who are immature well into their thirties. At the same time, I’ve met people in their mid twenties who are mature beyond their years and would do fine living the married life.
Also, not everyone has the resources necessary to make marriage work in their late twenties or early thirties. During my dating spree in 2013-2014, I met countless men in their early to mid thirties and were one paycheck away from being homeless because of the less than stellar economic situation in the U.S.
But what people should take away from this study, or any other bit of research that implies there is a perfect age to ditch singledom for matrimony, is that it’s all irrelevant. People should get married for all the right reasons, and none of those reasons should include societal pressure regarding age.
There isn’t a magic “I do” button we can push when we reach a “scientifically sound” age to be part of a union. People forget that getting married requires two people who should love one another. Compatibility consists of so many factors, like communicative skills, values, beliefs, and openness.
Even if you are in your late twenties and you feel ready to get hitched, you still need to meet the right person, play the dating game, and then convince that person to ditch their freedom for a challenging, legally committed relationship. The pressure is suffocating, isn’t it? Let’s not make it more hellish with scare tactics about divorce.