Men and women are pushing back marriage — if they’re even getting married, that is. While our parents may have married in their early 20s, most women nowadays are marrying at 27 and most men at 29.
Should we really be worried?
Delaying marriage has its perks, especially if you’re a woman: Women accumulate more wealth if they wait until they’re 30 or older to marry — about $18,152 (nothing to sneeze at). And, delaying marriage has meant that those marriages are more stable, thus driving down the divorce rate (couples who marry in their early 20s or even younger are more likely to divorce). That’s good, right?
Still, the big “horror” stories about waiting to marry are actually about waiting to marry if you want kids — no one seems to be too concerned about marrying latter if you’re not going to have kids — because the older women are, the harder it is for them to conceive. A recent article in the Atlantic, How long can you wait to have a baby?, basically busted that argument wide open, and Cyma Shapiro’s “Nurture: Stories of New Midlife Mothers,” her traveling photo and essay exhibit of mothers aged 41 to 65, indicates more and more women are finding ways to work around the age-fertility issue, happily.
So, is there a “right” age to marry? Read more here.
Susan published this article in her Contemplating Divorce column for Psychology Today. It created quite the stir. Not marry for love? That’s unheard of! And yet, as she explains, love made a mess of marriage. Read on:
Those who don’t marry for love in our culture are considered unlucky, suspect, manipulative, exploitative, and bad. We feel they are either doing something wrong or there is something wrong with them. It makes us feel everything from sympathy to contempt for these folks because most of us were taught that love is the only “right” reason to tie the knot.
But if you really think about it, love is a luxury. When you marry for love, it generally means you have all — or at least most — of your other needs met (like food, shelter, warmth, etc). That may explain why those with fewer financial resources also have lower marriage rates: If you’re worried about your survival or safety, you’re not going to be focusing on finding the man or woman of your dreams — unless of course this dream person is your ticket out of your terrible home life, dreary financial picture or scary “singledom.”
Procreation has always been a factor in why people married, but up until about two hundred years ago or so, people in the West married more for political or financial gain than for love.
The Victorian Era and the Industrial Revolution (1800s) created two important changes in how people lived: Romance became all the rage and technological advances made life much easier. Prior to these developments, divorce was incredibly rare but when love entered the picture as the reason to marry, dissolutions became more commonplace.
Read the rest of the article here.