What Are We Missing Out On? 9 Reasons To Get Married Earlier In Life
These days, it seems like everyone extols the virtues of waiting to get married. Do it later in life, they say, when you've had the time to date around and see what you really want. Wait until you've established your career, explored the world, and lived on your own.
No one has stopped to point out that people used to get married at a much younger age. There's no denying that the median age for marriage has gone up. In the 1950s, the median age was 22.8 for men; in 2010, it was 28.2. Today, it's at 29 for men, and who knows, maybe it's rising.
An article in The Atlantic published in 2013 explains that the only people truly benefitting from this trend of marrying later in life are college-educated women. They make more money as a result, but they're actually the only demographic that sees income benefits of any kind from marrying later.
Instead, marriage later in life doesn't seem to help all that much. According to some research, the divorce rate has been on the rise, and as of 2014, is at an “all-time high.” It has been going up, apparently, for the past 30 years. While there's no clear correlation between marrying later in life and the increase in divorce, one has to wonder if marrying later in life is all it's cracked up to be. There are advantages, of course, but extolling the virtues of waiting has become common practice, and led us to overlook the many advantages of marrying before we hit twenty-five. Instead of dismissing early marriage as “old-fashioned” and “risky,” let's take a look at some great reasons to think about marrying earlier on:
1. You get to spend more time with someone you love.
Marrying young means you have more time together; you start your journey of living together, sharing experiences, and building a family more quickly, so more of your life is, well, spent together. This is a great thing when you're already dating someone you adore. It's a way to spend even more time with each other.
2. You have kids sooner.
The sooner you marry, the earlier on there is a potential for starting a family. When you have kids younger, they are more likely to be healthy, you have more energy for them, and best of all, they'll be out of the house sooner. That means you and your spouse will be younger when the kids are gone, and it's time to enjoy being a couple again.
3. Better sex.
That's right guys. A study from Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. tells us that the younger you marry, the better sex you have in your marriage. If you think about it, of course this is true! You're younger, you have more energy, so sex will likely be more frequent and more exciting. This is important; sex brings couples closer to one another, and can help everyone feel happier and more satisfied with their partner.
4. You grow together.
We all change as the years go on, but when you're married, you're sharing experiences and changing from them at the same time, potentially in similar ways. A shared trip to, say, Africa may help both of you gain global perspective, and help you see your problems at home in a more accurate light. You try new foods together, exploring other cultures and becoming open-minded. You discuss world events together, and hopefully enlighten one another with your respective viewpoints. Instead of having disparate experiences that may impact you for better or worse, each good and bad moment helps both of you change in potentially similar ways.
5. You have a ton of amazing memories.
The younger you are, the more fun stuff you do. When you get married young, and are not quite ready for kids, you have the opportunity to travel, do some risky things, and have adventures (no need to find a babysitter!) In forty years, you'll look back and be able to remember skydiving together, hiking the Alps, camping in the desert in the summertime (boy, that was dumb), going to music festivals, and that crappy house you lived in because you had no money. These memories can also lead to some pretty great inside jokes that you'll hopefully be laughing at for decades to come.
6. You struggle.
Back to that crappy house. When you marry early, you don't have money just yet (necessarily). You haven't quite established yourselves, and there's beauty in that. Together, you navigate the world of couponing, eating frozen dinners, and buying Two Buck Chuck that you both don't understand the mass appeal of. You sneak into a second movie at the theater, and you spend hours at small, local book stores laughing as you go through the weird books in their Used For $1 bin. You can't pay for elaborate vacations, so you take road trips and go camping in a too-small tent. These are, once again, amazing memories, and help you share in the gratitude you both feel when you finally have “made it.”
7. You learn how best to support each other… and get along.
A lot of our personal struggles happen after college, as we navigate the adult world for the first time. We're learning how to budget, how to find a job, maybe even how to do our own laundry, pay bills, and have a credit card. It can be very overwhelming. But because you experience these things together, you learn how to comfort your partner. You discover that when she doesn't get that “dream” job she applied for, she wants to be left alone for a few hours before you hang out. You realize early on that he never had to clean up after himself as a kid, and you need to teach him to put his plates in the dishwasher, his socks in the laundry bin, and his smelly gym bag, well, somewhere other than your bedroom. Once these obstacles are out of the way, you can move on to enjoying each other.
8. You become friends with their friends.
Straight out of school, you still rely a lot on your college friends as a support group. You spend a good deal of time together, and your spouse is with you, so they join in. As you begin working, you go out with colleagues, and you invite your spouse. You foster these friendships together, getting to know one another's best buddies, enjoying sports games, bars, shopping trips, and even vacations together. You build your own little family, all of your choosing.
9. You feel supported.
Sometimes we feel lonely and lost when we're still “figuring things out.” We wonder what we're supposed to do with our lives, where we should live, if we're saving enough money for retirement, all of those important “adult” things. It's comforting to know that there's someone there with us from the beginning to help us through our mistakes, join us if we need to move for a new job, and help us save up for the future.
People who marry younger, believe it or not, are happier. They may, on average, earn less, but the research finding that they're happier shows that when you're with the one you love, money matters a lot less.