At what age should you marry?

There was this message going round on social media, about how at age ten, a girl is told to stay clear of boys; at age 15, she is told, “if you go near boys, you will get pregnant” and aged 26, she is asked, “where is your fiancé?”

Did you notice the trajectory of her life? In this clime, for most of her life, a lady is told to stay clear of men and all of a sudden, the same people; parents, uncles, aunts, sisters and friends, who have been passing that message will turn around and ask her for the man she wants to marry. How is she expected to produce the man, if she had been heeding their stay-away from men advice anyway? Well, that is a question, ladies have long found answer to; do what works for you.

At age 22, Juliet found a man that was all shades of goodness and hotness for her. She had not intended to get married then but the longer she dated him, she realized she was not going to let this one go past her, just because, she had just graduated from the university and was serving, while he was ready to settle down. Not even for the plans of her parents for her to get a Masters Degree and some work life experience before settling down with Mr. Right, would she have let him go.

Grudgingly, Juliet’s parents agreed to her marriage and till today, after five years of marriage, she had achieved all of those dreams they had for her and still has a successful marriage.

When her mother called her for a heart to heart conversation, the first time Juliet told her about her plans to get married to the guy she had met in her second year at the university, while he was in his final year. She told Juliet, it would be wise, if she were to date other people first, before deciding on whom to marry, instead of marrying her first official boyfriend. She felt it would be like building a marriage on a shaky foundation.

Her mother felt Juliet did not have sufficient experience to warrant her getting married early. She went as far as narrating the story of how she too got married at the same age 22 and how she wished she had built a life for herself first before getting married and was not often dependent on her husband for her livelihood.

Juliet while not entirely waving her mother’s concerns away, understood where she was coming from. Her mother only had secondary school education and never worked all her life and it was pretty obvious in their home, who held the power. She however argued that, her situation was different; she was a graduate, who will soon get a masters degree, and definitely have a career. All of which her fiancé agreed with.

In fact, it was part of their plans that she would only be a stay-at-home mom, if she were working from the house. But she was definitely not in tune with her mother’s suggestion that her inexperience with matters of the heart would count against her.

Her words were: “So, I met my husband in my second year in school, he was in his final year and he was really one of the good ones around. He was an honest man, who told the truth, regardless of how painful it was to him, he was not a player and was very ambitious, not to mention young, so he had plenty of time to achieve all his lofty dreams and I wanted to be there every step of the way.

We dated for three years. According to some rules of how my twenties should be spent (some of which I agreed with but then, I did not plan on meeting my dream man, before accomplishing those goals) as well as my parents’ plan for me, I was expected to break up with a person who treated me well, made me laugh, not to talk of, intelligent and ambitious; and had the same values as I did. Of course, that was not going to happen.”

“It was expected that after I broke up with the nice guy, then turn round and start looking to date someone exactly like him, it just did not make sense to me. My goals, my parents’ goals, I could still achieve and I did. And I got the most beautiful man as well. I’m glad I got married when I did. If not, I would probably still be unmarried today.”

Well, Rachel is still unmarried today, she is a 40 years old single mom, who wanted to achieve all her goals before settling down, she had no time for men in her 20s, and in her 30s, she became desperate but only losers showed up, so she stayed single, by the time, she was staring 40 in the eyes, she found a sperm donor( because, their relationship was mostly sexual than not) she could tolerate and had a baby with him. Well, that was how she described her life. She wished she had done things differently but then, she had accepted her fate.

The age at which one should marry is pretty much stuck between 25 and 29 in our clime, by the time, you are pushing 30, society already considers you an old maid. That is the mentality not mine and if you marry too early like Juliet, you are seen as a baby wife, who had not tasted life, before ‘rushing’ into marriage, they wonder what you would bring to the table in your marriage. Often times, people like Juliet have the ‘liability’ tag attached to them, even if they do not know it.

For the older bride on the other hand, they are seen as ladies who had made plenty ‘shakara’ and ended up holding the short end of the stick, with no man wanting them, even if that is not the case all the time. This is society’s attempt to attach labels to people and situations; it does not matter that each individual’s story is different; they are all tarred with the same brush.

If you thought that I would tell you the age at which you should marry, sorry, no such thing out of my finger tips. But, a 2011 study on the matter, published by the Social Science Research Network, said the riskiest time to get married is in your teens, while your chances of going through a divorce are about 34 percent if you get married between the ages of 20 and 23, compared to 20 percent if you get married between the ages of 27 to 29 and 8 percent if you wait to get married until after you’re 30.

So you see, as you grow older, the chances of staying married increases, which is a good thing for the older bride. Supporting that, another study said the longer you wait to get married, the more education and wealth you will have, which will translate to more stability when you get married. You decide if that is true or not.

My take on the matter of age to get married is this; when you meet the one for you, you date them for a reasonable length for a time, and then you marry them. You can always do all you want to do in life, as you go along, not to mention having a fabulous support system for the journey ahead.

When love beckons…age does not matter.

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