A recent article in Psychology Today identified the best and worst ages to get married. Apparently the worst ages to marry are either in your teens or after your early 30’s. Does age really determine the success of your marriage? If you get married outside of the ideal age range, does your marriage stand a chance?
Nicholas Wolfinger, a professor at the University of Utah, conducted research on the relationship between the age at which couples marry and the likelihood of divorce. The findings suggest the ideal time frame to get married is when you are in your mid twenties to early 30’s. Couples who marry during this time frame tend to be less likely to divorce than couples who marry in their teens and those who marry in their mid 30’s or later.
If you were married either earlier or later than the ideal time frame, don’t worry; there are steps you can take to increase your chances of a successful marriage.
We can speculate about the reasons why marriages that take place outside of the ideal window tend to falter.
How marrying young may impact the success of your marriage
Couples who marry at a younger age may lack the maturity and patience needed to go through the learning and growing process that is a part of every marriage. Younger couples may also be less prepared academically and professionally for the financial stressors of life. Their situation could potentially become increasingly stressful if the couple has children before they are fully ready for the responsibility.
How marrying at a later age may impact the success of your marriage
Couples who marry at a later age may be entrenched in their own habits and mindset; they may be reluctant to make the adjustments necessary for the marriage to be successful. Couples who marry at a later age are also likely to have been previously married and to have children. The creation of a blended family presents some special challenges. Couples in blended families do best when they practice patience with each other and with the children. It takes time to establish trust and to develop authentic connections in blended families
How to address struggles that may impact the success of your marriage
To have a lasting relationship a couple must go through the growing pains of learning how to work together. This includes learning how to communicate effectively, how to solve problems and how to take care of each other.
Communicating effectively means respecting your partner’s right to his or her perspective, even when it differs from yours. This is particularly difficult if you have strong feelings about the issue you are discussing. It is helpful to make a conscientious effort to listen to your spouse. Listen to the words and beyond that, listen to the emotions underlying the words. Acknowledge what you have heard by recapping what has been expressed before you share your perspective.
When you and your spouse face a problem that needs to be resolved, remember you are team players. The approach of viewing each other as playing on the same team helps you avoid seeing and treating each other as the enemy when you have a disagreement. Manage any strong, negative emotions by using strategies such as taking a time out to cool down. When you feel calm, you think and communicate more effectively and you are able to make rational decisions.
More than likely when you got married you and your spouse believed taking care of each other would come naturally. Isn’t that what you do when you love each other? To your surprise you may now realize it’s a lot more complicated than you thought. However, learning to take care of each other requires stepping outside of your limited perspective, learning about your spouse and adjusting to meet his or her needs.
For example, you tend to show your love and caring in the manner that you like to be shown love and caring. If your primary way of feeling loved by your partner is when he or she acknowledges you and expresses appreciation, you are also likely to want to show your love in the same way. Yet, your partner could prefer to be shown love in another way such as physical intimacy or taking the time and effort to do something special.
Although Wolfinger’s data suggests an ideal age of marriage to lessen the likelihood of divorce, marriage at any age can be successful. No matter what time in your life you decide to marry learning how to successfully communicate effectively, how to problem solve and how to care for each other can positively impact the success of your marriage.