Report examines whether there is a right age to wed

A recently published report co-authored by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia sought to examine a multitude of issues related to marriage and family. In particular, one of the issues explored in the report — entitled “Knot Yet” — was whether there is actually a right age to marry.

Not surprisingly, while researchers were able to derive some extremely valuable insight, they were unable to secure a definitive answer to this otherwise complex equation.

The report found that the overall marriage rate here in America is on the decline as more young people — 20-somethings in particular — are making the conscious decision to either postpone marriage or forgo it altogether.

Some of this phenomenon, say the report authors, can be attributed to the simple fact that more 20-somethings are viewing this period of their lives as a time to pursue self-discovery and adventure rather than as a starting point for their own families.

Interestingly, the researchers found that this mindset presents distinct advantages for some groups.

“Clearly, waiting has an upside for some. Women who can get their education and experience in their 20s and marry in their 30s clearly benefit professionally from taking that approach,” said W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project.

Wilcox and his team discovered that women who purposely postpone marriage to build their education/experience enjoy an average $10,000 earnings premium.

It should be noted, however, that the report also found that those young women who did decide to marry during their 20s — perhaps forgoing their chances for travel, school, jobs and multiple relationships — were actually more likely to report that they are “very happy” in their marriages than those who marry later.

Here, the researchers attributed this to stronger ties with their spouses, the general avoidance of fertility issues (as they are more likely to have children sooner) and a lack of so-called “relational cynicism.”

Finally, the researchers found that delaying marriage as a form of divorce insurance may not be incredibly effective. Specifically, 31 percent of teen marriages were found to end in five years, as opposed to 15 percent of marriages occurring in mid 20s and 11 percent of marriages occurring in mid 30s.

Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …

To learn more about dissolution of marriage or other family law issues, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


The Deseret News, “Right age to marry? Lots to consider, but after teens, age is not the most important factor, experts say,” Lois Collins, April 9, 2013