Did You Have a Marriage Deadline?

Sasha Brown-Worsham

Chen Wei-yih of Taiwan had an age she expected to be married by (30). When that age came and she still had no ring, she went ahead and married someone anyway. Herself.

"Age 30 is a prime period for me. My work and experience are in good shape, but I haven't found a partner, so what can I do?" Chen said. "It's not that I'm anti-marriage. I just hope that I can express a different idea within the bounds of a tradition."

And while Chen may be unique in her decision to marry herself, she isn't unique in terms of being unwed at age 30. The average age for marriage has been climbing and climbing. According to USA Today, a 1946 Gallup Poll found the ideal age to be 25 for men and 21 for women. In 2006, the ideal age had increased to 25 for women and 27 for men.

Thirty may be older than that, but it isn't "old." And especially in urban environments where higher education is the norm, it isn't outside the realm to see women aged 35 and older just starting to get married.

But is there a "right" age to settle down?

There are conflicting studies. Sociologist Norval Glenn of the University of Texas-Austin found that those who marry in their early to mid-20s are happier than those who marry older while research by sociologist Paul Amato of Pennsylvania State University for a 2007 book he co-wrote shows the opposite:

We found that the delay in marriage was actually a good thing and it actually improved the average marital quality by a fair amount.

So who is right?

Probably both of them. Having a deadline is all fine and good, but so is waiting until you're actually ready to get married. I was engaged at 24, which was younger than most of my friends, but my husband and I knew it was right and we have an incredibly happy marriage now, 8 years later. We grew up together and so our partnership is different than people I know who married older and who had more "adult time" to get to know themselves.

That doesn't make one superior.

Thirty is a "scary" age for most everyone. I was scared myself and I had been married five years, had one baby and another on the way, and was in the career I wanted to be in, but somehow that age terrified me. It's normal to be scared.

That said, if you aren't married by 30, it isn't time to panic. And there is no reason to jump into a marriage that may not be happy just because you have some arbitrary deadline in mind. People get married at all different ages. Marriage used to be the first step into adulthood, but not anymore. And although for women, the biological clock may play a role, that is also not a reason to marry the wrong person.

So go ahead and marry yourself! What a fun way to buck the tradition.

Did you have a marriage "deadline"?

Image via Facebook

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