Research has discovered that if you want to reduce your risk of divorce, there is an optimum age at which to get married.
We’ve been told for many years by social researchers that delaying marriage has been the best way to avoid divorce. That’s because the relationship between age at marriage and divorce risk was almost linear: The older you were, the lower the chances of divorce after you have married. However new research shows that this pattern has changed in the past decade.
Data collected by the National Survey of Family Growth between 2006 and 2010 found that people who get married in their 30’s are more likely to get divorced than people who marry in their 20’s. Professor Nicholas Wolfinger from the University of Utah said of the data that his study found the odds of divorce increase by five percent per year of age at marriage.
“This is a big change. To the best of my knowledge, it’s only recently that thirty-something marriage started to incur a higher divorce risk. It appears to be a trend that’s gradually developed over the past twenty years: a study based on 2002 data observed that the divorce risk for people who married in their thirties was flattening out, rather than continuing to decline through that decade of life as it previously had,” he wrote.
The study highlights that it seems that the optimum age to marry is in the late 20’s. Numerous studies have found that people who get married in their teens or early 20’s face a much higher risk of divorce. The research confirms that youthful marriage is correlated with lower educational attainment, which increases divorce risk no matter how old you are.
The new research found that the pattern of divorce persists for those who get married in their thirties even after controlling for race, family structure of origin, education, religious tradition and socio-economic factors. Nicholas Wolfinger’s opinion on why this is the case: “the kinds of people who wait till their thirties to get married may be the kinds of people who aren’t predisposed toward doing well in their marriages. Consequently they delay marriage, often because they can’t find anyone willing to marry them. When they do tie the knot, their marriages are automatically at high risk for divorce. More generally, perhaps people who marry later face a pool of potential spouses that has been winnowed down to exclude the individuals most predisposed to succeed at matrimony.”
Positives of Getting Married Later
While getting married slightly later in life can reduce your chances of divorce, there are other positive factors. At a young age, you may not have enough independent life experience to succeed at marriage. When you understand yourself better, you act differently; you act accordingly to all that you know about yourself. Once you know what you do like, what you don’t like, what bothers you and what you can actually deal with, you think differently and, therefore, act differently. The same goes for your partner. Life experiences and the work force can help you learn your identity before you go and discover someone else’s. Getting married later in life may just provide that foundation for your individual personalities.
Secondly, you have a chance to sort out your financial situation. As a single person, you are only having to provide for one person. Most of us aren’t financially stable. Most of us can’t afford a decent level of comfort. This may seem insignificant when you are blinded by love, but overtime, financial instability will wear you down.
Some young people may also struggle with the early bonds in marriage. Some research indicates that people who get married early then feel as if they haven’t spent their time in experiencing life. They end up tied to a person and are unable to possibly do the things they originally wanted too. This can also be another factor for divorce.
Not only does getting married slightly later in life reduce your chances of divorce, but there are also other benefits for waiting.
As of 2011, the median marriage age was 29 for men and 27 for women. The new research seems to confirm that these ages are the optimum time to marry.
Of course, nobody can completely divorce-proof their marriage. If you need to speak to an experienced family lawyer, please contact us today for your FREE, 10-minute phone consultation.